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Old 12-01-2012, 01:25 PM
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Default Former WG Writers a Year Later

It was about one year ago today that wiseGEEK sent out the infamous email letting us know they would soon shut down the acceptance of new submissions. For those of us who loved the site, our editors and the steady flow of cash, it meant time to start regrouping.

So how are things going for all the former WG writers? Have you found other clients that you are enjoying just as much? Did the shutdown motivate you to diversify your client base a little more?

For me, I must admit I had gotten lazy. I loved writing for WG so much that I would neglect other opportunities in favor of them. These days, I don't really have one client who commands the majority of my time. If you factor in the team orders and direct orders I get from a few different sites, the diversity is even greater. I'm at a point that if one client disappears from the face of the earth, I can spend a moment or two mourning the loss and then turn my attention elsewhere.

Do I find the greater diversification more rewarding or fun? Some days yes, some days no. But when you get right down to it, I'm in a more secure place now simply because I'm not so dependent on any one client.

I still think of WG fondly. The work provided me with a steady flow of cash during the worst of my GAD/panic disorder/agoraphobia period and made it possible to hold it together financially. I'll always be grateful for that. But as John Phillips wrote many years ago, "there's nothing quite as sure as change."

Last edited by mtgywriter; 12-01-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:23 PM
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I started freelance writing in June 2011 after the birth of my first child, and I was accepted as a WG writer in August. While I was only able to work for the company for a few months, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. From August through December the bulk of my income came from WG. I remember reading the email outlining the changes and feeling a sense of panic that there would be no more work available.

But the changes at WG ended up being a blessing in disguise for me. I became very motivated to find new work, as I needed to replace the income that I had been earning at WG, but I did not want a traditional job working outside the home. I began exclusively working with private clients, and I have been able to raise my rates several times over the past year. I have gained a lot of experience, I possess a well-rounded writing portfolio, and I now spend most of my time working on copywriting projects. My earnings are also a lot higher now than they were while I was mostly working for WG.

I was invited to test for a role as a curator, but the position seemed too time consuming for the pay offered, and I did not feel that it was a good fit for me. But I think that WG was great to work with, and I wish them the best in the future.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:06 AM
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While I did write for WG for a short time, I went through the major "oh no, what am I going to do?" earlier last year, when DMS basically shut down (not really, but there were no articles available). I had written for LiveStrong and LSNutrition, so I was making $25 per article and writing quite a bit for them. I really panicked and floundered for a little while!

But then I got my bearings and also some private clients, and now I stay quite busy. I have two very regular clients (work every week) and several somewhat regular clients (work at least monthly, sometimes weekly). Plus I occasionally get assignments from new clients who only need one or two things, or who ask me to do a large project but then I never hear from them again. I'm making substantially more money than I was a year ago at this time, and it's a lot more fulfilling, IMO, to write for private clients than for content mills. I get thank you letters and sometimes products in the mail as thank-you gifts, and if I go on vacation or whatever, it just takes a simple explanation and I can typically work it out without losing income. Also, I have a lot of autonomy and, depending on the client, can write in the style I want, often about the topic I want as long as I stick to the niche.

Now, the cons: I am depending on one client for a large bulk of my work, and while I don't think she's going anywhere anytime soon, I do recognize that I need to diversify a bit more. If any of the *other* clients disappeared, it would impact me a bit, but I'd still have the others. If this particular one did, then I'd be up a creek without a paddle, at least temporarily. One other con is that one of my regularish clients is pretty high-maintenance. He pays well and on time, but I put more hours into his projects because he wants more contact and seems to want to hold my hand more than I think is necessary.

So, goals for 2013: Find some more clients in order to diversify and spread out my baskets a little. I raised my rates for my biggest client and for all new clients this fall, so they will stay the same for a while, but if I get any busier, then I will be raising again for new clients as they come in. I think that the major thing I've learned is that I shouldn't allow myself to get too comfortable... I need to keep up with marketing and networking in order to keep a good flow going. Overall, though, I feel much more secure and valued as a writer than I ever did with content mills, and I wouldn't go back, knowing what I know now.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
Now, the cons: I am depending on one client for a large bulk of my work, and while I don't think she's going anywhere anytime soon, I do recognize that I need to diversify a bit more. If any of the *other* clients disappeared, it would impact me a bit, but I'd still have the others. If this particular one did, then I'd be up a creek without a paddle, at least temporarily. One other con is that one of my regularish clients is pretty high-maintenance. He pays well and on time, but I put more hours into his projects because he wants more contact and seems to want to hold my hand more than I think is necessary.
That con is one that I often struggle with. I have three clients. One has given me weekly work for three years now, one has given me mostly weekly work for two years, and the other comes and goes and right now is returning with 4 hours of a work a day that I'll fit in somehow into my already 4-6 hour day.

My issue is that I don't have time to take additional work, but if either of my main clients disappeared, it would be problematic. I do get direct orders on Textbroker regularly, so I could revert to that, most of the time I turn the work down unless it's a really appealing topic, because I simply don't have the time.

But that's where I have my hard time. If I apply for/take on more private clients, I'll be overwhelmed, but if any of them left, I'd be in a panic too. It's a really tough spot to get in when you don't have the mills to rely on.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:25 AM
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WG shut down production at a bad time for me, since I had lost the Nextag "egg" just mere weeks before. I went from having three decent paying (it wasn't uncommon for me to average $30+ an hour with WG) clients to having ONE. We had to put the addition to our house on hold, and we ended up spending our tax return income on bills. My husband was in school at the time. Luckily, the client I had left upped production for several months, so my income only floundered for a very little while. But it was a little scary for a bit, since I was sole breadwinner at that time.

Eventually that client crashed and burned too, and that has led me to where I am now. I have several "back up" places for work (Scripted, WD, CC) that I use only for "Just in case" situations. I also have landed several regular clients, and several others who need either short-term or "every now and then" work. It gets a little crazy sometimes balancing several clients rather than having just a few "work when you feel like it" gigs... but like the others said, if I lose one, I'm still okay.

Most of them are still retailers, just like before. But now I'm getting a more diverse portfolio or writing styles and products. Some of the things I've written for this year I never would have even considered. Wine. Liquor. Cufflinks. Security cameras. There are specialty retailers in niches I never would have even though about. I think it's time to raise rates again and make a real marketing push directly to retailers and print catalogs since I have a whole new span of sellers I could target now.

Truth be told, I still miss WG. If I found another site like them, I'd still sign up. Getting to choose work when I want it. No real deadlines. That was nice. lol. I was digging through some old papers the other day, and I ran into the card WG sent in the mail when I was accepted to write. I'll admit to getting a little sad. They got me through some tough times, and they accepted me when I REALLY needed the work. I kept my family living comfortably for many months solely with work from them. If they ever got back to me with the "other opportunities" aside from curating, I'd test for them. They were just pleasant to work with.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:08 PM
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I also miss WG. They were dependable and paid quickly without set pay dates, which could be a lifesaver. Now I'm down to my main client, where work has decreased some lately, TB and WA.

I am going back to school next month, though. Freelance writing was wonderful while my kids were small, since I could stay home with them, but next year they will all be in school. Writing will still be my job while I'm in school, and I think I'll always write in some way, shape or form.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:08 PM
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WG was my only writing egg, so I was upset at first when I lost that income, but things worked out for the best. Losing WG gave me the motivation to find another egg, and I'm doing much better with Remilon than I ever did with WG, since I'm not a fast writer, and now I get paid on the clock, so I'm earning more.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:15 PM
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After wisegeek shut down, I was stuck writing for textbroker (level 4) for about a month before I got bumped up to level 5. Then in april, I was hired on at about.com. I also received an invite to test for a curator position at wisegeek, but I'm making more at textbroker (at least, as a level 5) and about.com than I did at wisegeek, and the curator position seemed like more work for less money.

So while it was a scramble for a month or so, I'm doing much better now than I was a year ago.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:48 PM
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When I was doing research for an article yesterday, a WG article came up in the search results, so I clicked on it. A graphic popped up which covered the article so that I couldn't read the text until I closed the graphic. That didn't enhance the experience, and I found it annoying. Maybe that is supposed to increase their ranking in Google, but I didn't care for it.

I went to wisegeek just now and opened one of my articles at random. No annoying graphic popped up, so I guess they didn't get to it yet. Good.
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