If you’re new to freelancing, content mills can practically sound dreamy.
Pick your favorite gigs. Work when you want. Get paid like a rockstar.
Ahem…That’s not exactly what happens if you bank your freelance writing career on working for content mills.
On most platforms, you’ll find thousands, of writers scurrying around competing for writing jobs in a race to the bottom for low rates and a soul-sucking existence.
Can you earn pro rates at a content mill? It’s possible. But you’ll need to know where to look.
If you want the truth about how much content mills really pay, save yourself some time on the hamster wheel.
These 10 blog posts will give you an inside look at what it’s like to write for content mills, how they operate, and how much you can expect to earn.
UpWork.com is one of my favorite places to find long-term, higher-paying freelance writing clients. Crazy, right?
The site (the new combined brand that’s the result of the oDesk-Elance merger) really is one of the best places to go if you want to be severely underpaid as a freelancer. But it also can be a great location for finding good prospects who are lost and confused in the never-ending search for quality writers — if you know how.
I’ve pulled clients who pay $100 per hour (and up) from this bidding site, and regularly use it to find strong new prospects. That’s despite the fact that I only check in once or twice a week, for a few minutes at a time.
You can find great pay on UpWork, too, by changing the way you approach a few elements of the site. These elements can help you avoid cheapskates and save you the time and frustration that usually goes along with navigating bid sites.
Here’s how I do it:
Have you ever wondered who you’re really writing for, when you get a gig on a place like Elance?
Recently, my eyes were opened to a racket that’s going on at many of these online platforms, that writers should beware of.
First, there was the situation where I discovered an imposter was posing as me on Elance, hiring writers, and then stiffing them.
But I recently learned this was not a one-off, fluke situation, that one scammer took a bunch of Elance assignments and then subbed the work out to other writers, instead of writing the pieces themselves.
It turns out that middlemen are increasingly common on content mills and bid sites. I learned about this scene when I got an email from a man who said he had a business proposal for me.
Are you trying to break free from writing for content mills?
You’re not alone. How to quit content mills and earn more than their rock-bottom rates is probably the single question I get asked the most.
It can be so easy to get sucked into content mill work, but it takes so much time and effort to write enough articles — and deal with the often contradictory edits — that it sucks up all your time, and you never can market yourself to find better paying work.
I’m doing a survey about content mill writing right now, and the pay rates writers report are appalling. We’re still collecting results, but with 300 in the can, I can report nearly half say they earn $5 an hour or less writing for mills, or for mill-type quickie-article gigs on the bid sites.
Man, that makes me mad to hear.
I’ve done quite a few posts on how to escape content mills, so I thought it was time to pull them together into one useful guide to help you move out of content mills and into better paying freelance writing gigs.
In 2014, I published roughly 100 new blog posts about the freelance writing and blogging game here at Make a Living Writing. Whew! No wonder I’m tired.
But enough about me — the important question is: Which of those many posts did you like best?
Here’s our annual list of the posts I published in 2014 that got the most traffic. This is essentially a readers’ choice ranking — you voted with your clicks on which posts were most interesting.
These are ranked with #1 representing the new post that got the most traffic in 2014:
Many new writers looking to find that first place they can break in and start earning money from their craft end up signing up for a content mill.
Either that, or they end up discovering a revenue-share site like Examiner or Guardian Liberty Voice, or bidding for gigs on Elance.
Soon after, many of these writers send me emails like this one: