You love to write and you would like to see your favorite hobby turn into some extra money. Writing online can be lucrative, but finding legitimate, well-paying gigs is a challenge. Below are the three most common sources of writing income for writers just starting their career.
Examples: iWriter, TextBroker, Constant Content
Content mills are websites with a dedicated interface and editing team specifically geared towards web content. Webmasters post a subject, article length and any special instructions on the site and interested writers create the articles. Because the pay is per article, writers have complete flexibility over their schedule. These are great for the writer without any prior web writing experience and can help you to get a feel for the format and expectations of writing for the web.
Process: Writers create an account with the site and go through a screening process, which normally involves a basic grammar test and a sample. Once the account is approved, you can then start submitting work and getting paid.
Pros: These sites have a near constant availability of work, so even if you like to write at 2 am on a Tuesday, you are likely to find paying gigs. They also have the infrastructure in place to pay on a regular basis, normally weekly.
Cons: Content mills have a deserved reputation for being low paying, at least at first. Talented writers can often move up the ranks, but only after producing a large number of low paying articles. Revision requests are also common.
Average pay per 100 words: $.50-$1
Examples: eLance, oDesk, Freelancer
Freelancing websites match clients and freelancers. Many of the jobs posted on these sites are intended to be long-term commitments and as such, writers will be expected to produce a high-volume of writing. Clients post the job description on the website and writers bid on each opportunity, hoping to get hired. In a lot of ways, freelance websites are like applying for a traditional job.
Process: Like with content mills, writers create an account and go through a testing process. They then upload a resume or portfolio and create an engaging profile to attract clients. Once the initial legwork is done, writers bid on jobs and submit cover letters, resumes and samples before being hired.
Pros: Freelancing websites are best suited for writers with a schedule who are looking for the stability of a full or part time job. Instead of being paid per article, writers have the option of being paid hourly, which ensures that even if an article is rejected, you will still get paid. The freelancing site handles all payroll, which eliminates the need to invoice clients or keep track of how much you are owed.
Cons: These are international marketplaces, which means you are likely competing with other writers all over the world. The process for getting hired can be cumbersome. Additionally, many of the job postings are extremely low paid, so weeding through the bad offers to find a good one consumes much of the time that you could spend on writing.
Average pay per 100 words: Varies greatly. Some pay as little as $5 for ten articles and others pay at rates similar to print publishing.
Examples: ACR Writing
Writing teams are a balanced option compared with the other two options. Teams are organized through a work board, such as Trello or Basecamp and work is posted as it becomes available. These are intimate groups who often work on specialized projects. Like content mills, the pay is generally per article, making it a good choice for those who need flexibility.
Process: Writers find the team, either through a website or through knowing someone on the team. Typically, the hiring process is simpler, as the team leader generally requires a form and a sample to proceed with hiring. Once approved, then writing begins.
Pros: Writing teams often have high quantities of work available as long as the projects continue. Pay rates are typically higher and more consistent than with the other two options. Teams are often a cohesive group, which creates a sense of community not present with other options.
Cons: These can be very difficult to find. Typically writers need to know someone on the team to be referred. Because the team is paid when a project concludes, pay schedules can be erratic.
Average pay per 100 words: $1-5
For those who are interested in starting a career in writing, the web offers numerous opportunities. Content mills, freelancing websites and teams are just the beginning. Strategic use of them will help set you on a path towards a fulfilling career.
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