“You don’t know what you don’t know.” Not exactly the most mind-blowing piece of advice when you’re trying to go from broke to well-paid professional writer.
This quote frustrates me every time I hear it—of course you don’t know what you don’t know.
As a newbie writer, I spent way too much time making mistakes, working for low rates, and racking my brain trying to figure out how to find well-paying clients. I didn’t know.
Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks and other professional writers. And I thought it was about time to give that tired quote a makeover for up-and-coming freelancers:
“Here’s what you don’t know, that I do. Learn from me, and you’ll be ahead of the game.”
Ready for some mind-blowing epiphanies about being a professional writer? Here are 11 things you need to know:
Want to get to paid to write about politics?
Maybe you’re one of those news junkies who follows government trends, key political players, or the issues and policies that have an impact on everyday people.
Find a fresh angle, and you can get paid to write about it.
Can you really get paid to write about politics? Absolutely. As a newbie freelancer, I actually landed my first assignment with a national magazine to write about a succession of events that shaped the trajectory of our current president.
Maybe you want to get paid to write about your political views, opinions, and life experiences impacted by politics and government. There’s a market for that.
And if you’re interested in digging deep into government and politics as an investigative journalist, feature writer, or contributing freelancer, you can find markets to get paid to write those types of articles, too.
Want to get paid to write about politics? Check out this list of political writing markets, study the guidelines, and start pitching:
When you’re trying to navigate a path to freelance success, you’re bound to encounter obstacles that can get in the way. Do you give up at the first sign of struggle? Or do you keep going with a warrior mindset until you find the way?
When I was a newbie freelance writer, I spent a lot of time going nowhere. I read hundreds of how-to articles. I studied everything the so-called gurus published. Even the “ninja hacks” seemed to fall short. But I wasn’t making progress.
Ever felt like the path to freelance success is a treacherous one?
You write queries and LOIs, and all you get is crickets or rejection. You get close to landing a client, and the deal falls apart. Your niche skills are a perfect fit for a writing job, but you don’t land the gig. Productivity suffers. Creativity dwindles.
The path to freelance success isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the struggle. When you have a warrior mindset, you’ll find a way. On my own journey, I discovered 3 ancient principles every freelancer needs to know:
Want to write for a marketing agency? It’s a great way to scoop up freelance assignments. But if you’re not careful, that agency might actually be a content mill looking for cheap tricks.
Believe me. I learned this the hard way.
When I saw my first article published on US News and World Report I should’ve jumped up and down while singing the Halleluiah chorus.
But I didn’t.
Instead, the sight of it tangled an angry, disgusted knot in the pit of my stomach. I just got pimped by a content mill.
I wrote that article for a digital marketing agency and sold it for 20 bucks. My name wasn’t even on it.
But hers was—the web savvy millennial who’d purchased the content. It was right there next to her photo and the bio touting that she was a freelance real estate writer.
And I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Here’s how to tell if that agency is nothing more than a pimped-out content mill:
Ever wonder how work at home moms balance freelance assignments, family life, a day job, and everything else?
If you’ve ever thought, “What’s the point? It’s just too hard,” you’re not alone. Trying to juggle diaper duty, day-job deadlines, grocery shopping, and freelance work can be a challenge.
But work at home moms tend to have a few things in common when it comes to carving out time to get freelance work done.
They’re scrappy. They know how to multi-task. They know how to network with other moms. And when push comes to shove, work at home moms can turn a 15-minute block of time into a productive work session.
Know any work at home moms like this you can model?
In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with two work at home moms who have built thriving writing careers in the middle of busy lives. Here’s how it’s done:
They’ve been called content mills, content farms, bid sites, broker platforms, and many other less kind names, too. But whatever you call them, websites that pit loads of writers against each other in a race to the bottom on price have been around nearly since the birth of the internet. Historically, rates were rock-bottom low and writers were unhappy.
I wanted to check in on the content farm scene again now, because a lot has changed in this neck of the freelance-writing woods. It’s been exactly 4 years since Google’s Matt Cutts declared junk content dead. Google began actively penalizing sites that used the sort of short, semi-literate, SEO-focused ‘articles’ that have long been content farms’ most common product.
That change was like a Category 5 hurricane for content farms.
Over the past few years, many mills have merged or folded. I recently reopened a survey of content mill writers I first did several years ago — and discovered many of the popular mills back then are now gone.
Which made me wonder what life down on the content farm is like today. To find out, I asked my blog readers, Facebook followers, and Freelance Writers Den members to check in with their personal experiences of today’s rates, working conditions, and opportunities on these mass platforms, where thousands of writers are still signed up.
Many of you responded. Below are stories from 13 writers:
Tagged with: content mills