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Old 04-05-2013, 06:45 PM
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Default New to freelancing

Hi everyone,

I am new to freelance writing and would like to work for content mills. I have google searched and got a ton that I have tried to sift through.

I have read multiple blogs and most say to go with a content mill that pays at least 5 cents a work or $20/400 words.

My problem is, I can't find a company that pays like that.

Anyone have suggestions?

A little about me, I'm a labor and delivery nurse of 7 years (I'm in management now), I'm an identical twin, debt free, married with two children, and love to work out and cook.

I love to research and love to write, so I want to get started...

I tried to sign up for a few companies, but I don't want my inbox full of worthless junk.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:13 PM
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Unfortunately, few content mills pay 5 cents a word. Many start out at about $1.50 for 400 words. You have a particular area of education and expertise that creates a unique advantage. If you can market the nursing education and work experience, then that is a great niche with possibly higher levels of pay. Setting up a website to find clients in your niche is a great idea. Keep in mind many clients will still hire writers at a lower pay scale to write medical content.

There are lots of people writing currently making competition fierce. People overseas will often be very happy to write 500 words for $2. I only know of a handful of sites that pay 5 cents a word, but it takes time and effort to reach that point. Typically, writers have to take tests, be rated by editors and clients and so on. Several content sites have gone out of business too.

I would definitely love 5 cents or more a word!
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:22 PM
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You would be hard pressed to find a content mill paying that much.

If you can afford it, you may want to consider writing for residual income sites. In this case you can be paid by ad clicks and/or affiliate links for the same articles over and over. This can result in pennies or be very lucrative depending on traffic, topic etc.

Since you have specific skillsl in nursing you may want to reach out to sites in your niche with your credentials and see if you can negotiate writing work and a higher rate of pay. Make sure you have some strong samples first.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:33 PM
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I'd agree that most content mills will not pay that much. Personally, I find that most content mills are not worth the time.

With your expertise, I think that you could do very well with private clients within your niche. I wish that I was an expert in something like that!
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:42 PM
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Nonetheless, content mills can be a great way to get started in freelancing, especially if you need to have money coming in. You can make pretty okay money on places like Textbroker or CrowdCloud or whatever it's called. Textbroker probably has the largest amount of available work.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:39 AM
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I recommend starting with Textbroker. They don't pay a lot starting out, but prove yourself and sign up for teams. Most of the teams I'm on pay at least 2 cents a word. Plus, you set your own rate for direct orders. I have mine set at 3 cents a word. I tried higher, but 3 cents seems to get the most work. I have one retailer who sends me steady work writing their blogs and product descriptions. I have another client who has me doing college pages for a state college directory. I get to pick and choose the direct orders I complete and I get at least 20 orders a week, so I don't really do anything outside of teams or direct orders now.
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:07 AM
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I'd skip the content mills. Instead, I would seek out some private clients through Elance, Guru or another source. The book might be a bit outdated now, but I highly recommend getting The Well-Fed Writer from your library too.

In addition, while you are waiting to find private clients, I would start a blog about one of your passions. Cooking, parenting and pregnancy are all hot topics. I bet you could earn more with a blog on one of those topics rather than writing for residual income on a content mill.

Best wishes!
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:55 AM
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I advise against skipping mills completely. It's best to get a mix. I worked for a client for three years, work was steady throughout. In late February, days before my birthday, they announced they were shutting the site down. No notice, I had just finished a batch of work, sent it, and was told to stop immediately because they'd decided the night before to shut down. The next day, one of my other private clients said he needed time to catch up on content and that he needed to go on a hiatus for three months. That's not the first time with private clients or mills. It can happen in an instant and it's just something you have to roll with.

I always check job listings, but because I was working 12 hour days between my three private clients, I didn't take on lengthy contracts. Suddenly, I went from having 12 hours of a work a day to having maybe an hour. Textbroker and MTurk really filled in that gap. With MTurk, be prepared to take tests with companies or you're going to be stuck at low paying tasks. I do a mix of customer service responses, editing, and transcription and pull in about $100 a week for just a couple hours of work a day.

I do recommend Odesk, though I don't like their payment system. Waiting a week for payment to clear their system and then another week for it to make it to my bank account bothers me.

Elance I'm not fond of them at all, though I do know others who have great luck there. In my case, even with a contract in place, a week into a project, a client I landed through them asked me to double the word count for the same price. They had me doing specialized articles on every town in Spain and instructions were 200 words that covered where the town was and the gastronomy and main sites. They decided they wanted architectural styles and history added in. I was being paid $4 an article and finding the history, not easy to do with the smaller towns, wasn't worth my time for the rate they were paying.

Elance backed the client saying if the word count they'd first suggested wasn't working for them, it was my job to make sure they were happy. I had to drop the job, lose the pay for the 20 articles I'd completed, and then try to sell the 20 articles that no one wanted because they were so specialized. In addition, my rating took a hit because I wouldn't do as the client wanted. Hopefully, in the past four years things have changed, but I'm not willing to return and give it another shot.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:43 AM
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Everyone has to do what works for them, but I personally have never found mills to be worth the work involved. If I were the OP, I would much rather put that time into my own blog (or ebooks) and use that to ride out any gaps in my private clients.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:44 AM
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I agree with those who suggest giving the mills a try to get your feet wet. Your experience is worth a great deal, but you also need to learn the ropes of writing for pay. Some people find it tough to make the shift from writing for themselves to meeting a client's needs, and writing for a mill or bid site can ease that transition.

They're also great for sharpening the grammar and SEO skills you need as a writer. Your other work experience has the potential to make you incredibly valuable to clients, but without a firm foundation as a writer, you can't market that expertise fully. Mills are a good place to establish that foundation.

The nickel-per-word rate you're hoping to get is, sadly, more than mills are paying to new writers. Some pay that and more eventually -- that's TB's going rate for 5-star writers and is pretty close to Demand's flat fee -- but you'll have to display your writing chops for a bit to net that from mills and bid sites. If you dive right into working with private clients directly, you can charge whatever you like; however, you'll spend a good bit of time marketing yourself before you see much of a return on your investment.

In other words, you'll still spend a few weeks or months working up to a living wage; do you want to spend those weeks and months building your private portfolio with no earnings, working with mills for small earnings or a combination of the two?
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