10 Online Gold Mines for Finding Paid Freelance Writing Jobs

10 Online Gold Mines for Finding Paid Freelance Writing Jobs

If you’re a freelance writer, the task of finding quality, well-paying gigs can be a daunting one. Where do you even start? How you can guarantee the jobs you’re looking at are legit instead of scams?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: the Internet is chock full of people who are willing to pay pennies on the dollar for hours of your highly skilled time. (Keep reading for some words of warning about these people.)

The good news is that we’re here to help you weed out the dreck and find the sites that are actually worth your time and effort. (Click to tweet this list.) Whether you’re a copywriter, editor, creative writer or anything in between, these sites offer the well-paying, reputable freelance writing jobs you really want.

Better yet? While some sites charge a monthly fee to access their job listings, all of the resources below are free.

So where can you find freelance gigs?

1. BloggingPro Job Board

Also listing a healthy dose of copywriting jobs (you can search postings by category), this board is, as the name suggests, right up a blogger’s alley. Whether you’re into health and fitness, pets, writing code or whatever else, you’ll find a steady stream of employers looking for blog writers versed in these and many other subjects.

2. Journalism Jobs

While most of the postings are (you guessed it again!) for those whose focus is journalism, you don’t necessarily have to have Lois Lane dreams to find a gig here. There are also editing positions, ad copywriting and other jobs thrown into the mix. Some are location-based, some can be done remotely.

3. MediaBistro

Check out the freelance section of the site for a wide range of jobs from industries like TV, PR/marketing, magazine and book publishing and social media — a little something for everyone.

4. FlexJobs

One of the top job boards for telecommuting, FlexJobs enables you to create a custom job search profile to meet your specific needs. Select your categories (there are several under “Writing”), your preferred work schedule, your experience level and more to hone your search results down to those that best fit what you’re looking for. You can also set alerts so you’re notified when new jobs matching your search criteria are posted.

5. Morning Coffee Newsletter

This weekly e-newsletter provides a nice compendium of freelance writing and editing jobs of all shapes and sizes from around the Web with competitive pay rates. Save yourself the time of scouring numerous sites and let this newsletter bring the decent jobs right to your inbox.

6. ProBlogger Job Board

Created by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, an authority site on blogging, you know jobs listed here will be from serious employers who have an idea what good writing is really worth. Plus, given ProBlogger’s high profile in the blogosphere, you can often find jobs posted by some big-time blogs here.

paid writing gigs

7. Freelance Writing

With exclusive job opportunities as well as posts pulled from sites like Indeed and Craigslist, this board consolidates a variety of gigs for everyone from newbie to seasoned freelancers. If you don’t want to see jobs from a certain source (Craigslist, for instance, can sometimes be sketchy), you’re free to narrow your displayed results to exclude them.

8. Be a Freelance Blogger Job Board

Freelance blogger Sophie Lizard’s community forum features this board where writers and clients can share scoops on job opportunities. Each opportunity must pay at least $50 post or 10 cents a word.

9. The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs

Lizard has also compiled a free ebook listing 45 blogs that pay $50 or more per post, broken down into sections like Writing Blogs, Food Blogs, etc. She also includes some good tips on how to approach these blogs, how to promote yourself once you’ve landed a post, and more.

10. LinkedIn Jobs

If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile (and you really should), don’t let it just sit there. Networking goes a long way in the freelance world, and LinkedIn is a great resource to do some networking through common connections.

While you’re doing that networking, check out the Jobs section and sign up for email alerts when jobs are posted that match your interests. Many will be location-based, but who’s to say you can’t approach these employers with a proposal for freelance writing services? Maybe they need someone to fill the gap in the hiring interim, or maybe the job could just as easily be done remotely but they hadn’t considered that.

Pro tip: You know that “people who’ve recently viewed your profile” notification you see when you sign into LinkedIn? If you don’t recognize some of the names, why not reach out to them and say “I see you’ve looked at my profile. I’d love to explore if there are any ways we can help each other.” Can’t hurt to try, right?

Sites to avoid

Especially if you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to be lured into content mills like Demand Studios or free-for-alls like Guru, oDesk and Elance, where it looks like you might stand a better chance to land something even if you don’t have the biggest portfolio yet.

Don’t be.

While it may seem like these sites are your best best when you’re a newcomer, they’re largely a crapshoot when it comes to winning a project. These sites are a rush for the lowest bid, and you’re competing against hundreds if not thousands of other desperate freelancers prepared to sell their firstborn for the chance to write someone’s 250-page ebook. (Some writers have been able to make a decent buck on sites like Upwork, but they are often the exception rather than the rule and have usually invested huge amounts of time to make it happen.)

Even if you’re brand-spanking new to the game, no one deserves a gig that pays one cent per word. And chances are if someone is looking for the sort of writer willing to write a word a cent, they’re not going to be the best client to work for. Don’t sell yourself short just because you’re new. Have a little patience, keep persevering, and you will find those clients who truly value you.

Looking to get even more serious about your freelance writing. The Write Life published two e-books to help you find more paid writing gigs. Check out our shop to buy 71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer and Get Better Clients and Earn More Money.

This post originally ran in September 2013. We updated it in February 2017.

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor; you can follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

Looking for freelance writing jobs? Check out The Write Life’s Job Board. Good luck!

be patient, persevere, and you will find clients who value you

Filed Under: Freelancing
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456 comments

  • Daryl says:

    Great list Kelly!

    For those who are a bit more familiar with AP and Chicago Style for writing for magazine styled publications, allfreelancewriting.com also has a great (and free!) writers market listing.

    I think writers, especially new ones, need to value their skills and pitch to clients who are willing to pay decent rates, instead of trying to get work from the penny pinching cheap clients!

    • Cordelia says:

      Great suggestion, Daryl. Thanks!

      You are SO write about valuing your work. I’m actually writing a post on that to appear here soon, so keep your eyes pealed. Undervaluing our work (especially when we’re just starting out) is a huge problem for freelance writers

      • Johannah says:

        Hi Kelly! i’m one of the many confident in my writing skills and I’m passionate about it. I am now hoping to start my first freelance writing job at uvocorp (my essay sample is still under evaluation). May I hear a word or two from you as your usual advice to beginners like me?

        • Norbert Yap says:

          Hi Johannah,

          About applying to UVOCORP, I must say, stay away from that company. I’ve been working as a Freelance writer ever since online outsourcing came to being. I encountered that company once when I am looking for other academic writing companies. But the experience is just horrible. They will have you started on a couple of assignments, and approve them right on the spot, but don’t get too excited. Once they see that you already has a few dollars on your earnings, the support sharks will flood you with multiple revisions with corresponding monetary penalties. The first and second revisions are ok, but after running your work on plagiarism checker hundreds of times and proof-reading for grammar mistakes thousands of time. They will still ask you to revise something and dissolve your earnings through penalties one after another. explaining things will not do you justice either, they wouldn’t even care what you say, they will just send your work for revision and ask for ridiculous changes that were not part of the original instructions.

          They will not stop until you say you give up, in the end you lost all your earnings from unreasonable revisions and even end up owing them money for negative balance on your earnings. its just horrible.. so stay away from that company, its an institutionalized hoodlum.

          • David Piesnikowski says:

            HAHA. That is sad. I feel sorry for you. At least you have a sense of humor.

          • Heidi says:

            Hi Norbert

            So, are you an academic writer? I have been looking for chemistry or biochem based writing work and have had trouble finding appropriate places to look. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
            Heidi

          • Nik says:

            Heidi, you could find chemistry specialist writers at Writerslabs.

          • Cristina Rogers says:

            Hey Heidi, You can try Text-Writers for your academic writing needs.

          • Vinee says:

            I worked as a freelance academic writer for about 5 years and Uvocorp was one of the 7-8 sites I worked with. I totally agree with Norbert. Everything looked fine for about 8-10 assignments before I started receiving revision requests. I had them review their comments and remove fines for the first two revision requests. However, I just gave up when I got the next seemingly senseless plagiarism remark. I was not sure if it was unintentional from their part, but I felt annoyed and disappointed by then.

          • Erin Tallman says:

            Oh! That sounds horrible and there are so many “promising” sites that should be trashed. I started out writing for a website, not quite as bad as that one, but making just a few dollars for rather long articles and no byline. The amount of time I spent researching and writing meant that I’d make a dollar or two an hour. Ha! I was young and desperate though – would never do it again ! I’m the managing editor for ArchiExpo e-Magazine now and spend part of my time researching freelance journalists. The website needs to be catchy and informative, with writing samples easy to access. I always advise my friends, who wish to get into freelance writing, to create a great website and put forward their experience.

          • Gina says:

            I’ve come across a myriad of flim-flam, so called ‘freelance writing job sites’…and I appreciate the info on uvocorp.
            So where are the legit sites? Are there any?

        • I began as a freelancer just this summer and found a lot of low-pay cruddy stuff. I wrote a blog on my experiences and it offers tips, tools and help. My fist post may be helpful to you as a beginner: http://www.amandapelletier.com/paid-freelance-writing-jobs-online/

          BEST of LUCK! Don’t give up!

          • Nunya says:

            “Fist”? Fail.

          • Az says:

            I’m looking for a article writing job. Just couldn’t get hold of any.

          • Cynthia says:

            Hello everyone,

            I’m new at this and thought it would be a good idea to investigate and maybe find jobs,. I am a writer and have a manuscript I am trying to get published. My manuscript has been accepted by two companies, but It cost a lot of money to do that, so I thought I would try to make money this way. Should I go further with this, and if so, can you help me along and teach me the ropes?

      • Amy Preiss says:

        Do you mean you are so RIGHT?

        • Catherine says:

          I certainly wouldn’t pay more than a cent per paragraph for that level of skill.

          • David Russell says:

            Hi everyone,
            I am glad this topic is ongoing and agree with Catherine’s assessment. Outsourcing and exporting work over-seas occurred in my former profession by the Medical Transcription Services, and it seems a fact of life in my 2-month stint as a content article writer. I work for a “content mill” at the moment which is entry level to me but work is often sporadic and glad to have a patient working spouse at the moment! The content mill has an author forum which is helpful for learning the ropes and venting! I did apply to The Writers Hub, and was surprised when they asked what my per page rate would be? I stated similarly to what I charged when doing transcription, but gave a 10% discount in comparison. I am hoping to network locally with a non-proffit in the coming weeks and eventually find a content article opportunity that pays decently, desires my talents, and provides a reasonable degree of work or referrals. Perhaps that is what the majority of us want here.
            I am very grateful for this site, thread, and posts!
            David

        • Wit says:

          Are commenters here that dense that they can’t tell a pun from an error? She is responding to a post about writing, she is mentioning that she’s will soon be “writing” a post, and ends by showing some concern for “writers.”

          Her saying, “you are so write” and then going on to mention writing multiple times is clearly a pun. How so many missed that only to find a chance to criticize is troubling.

          • I thought it was just auto-correct showing its butt again. Even the best of us can be made to look silly if our words are spelled wrong, especially if we’re using a mobile device.

          • determinedreformer says:

            It should be that simple…and 30-40+ years ago it was. We’d see “right” spelled as “write” and “peeled” spelled as “pealed” and know instantly what was intended. Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that errors in every type of writing…ads, serious magazine and book writing, the news that crawls across the TV screen, etc….are so common that it’s as though everyone thinks they’re being paid to make errors.

            Why is this so? An inadequate and/or failing K-12 public education system since about 1966 results in seriously adverse consequences. We can’t poorly or inadequate educate millions of children without ending up with millions of HS graduates with gaps in their knowledge and cognitive development. One of those consequences is an inability to write well and correctly, along with either a failure to care or the inaccurate belief in their own ability thanks to reforms after 1966 that had teachers giving students awards and praise just for breathing and failing to correct their work for fear of hurting the student’s self-esteem.

            What baffles me is how adult educators failed to understand that self-esteem is a product of self-respect, which can only come from a “doing” — doing things well, doing things right, doing what one respects.

          • Zack says:

            I have, as of yesterday, begun exploring the opportunity of writing for income. However, as writers go, I’m extremely confident in my abilities and I believe that as a writer I still not only write on an intellectual level on par with the best, I also FEEL my writing. Therefore, with no qualifications save my own, self-perceived ones, I say this: do not lose the spirit of writing looking too intensely at the writing itself.

          • Writehand Nycki says:

            Yeah, only true writers got that pun!

          • Roy says:

            I’m not so sure about that being an attempt at humor, especially when the phrase; “keep your eyes pealed” has been incorrectly spelt.. Shouldn’t that be peeled? Hmmm?

          • Randy says:

            In response to Roy:

            Maybe it’s peeled, but what if he or she is actually writing to someone with very noisy eyes?

          • Erin Tallman says:

            I thought it was a fun twist… I don’t understand why people feel the need to attack…
            #ForgettingAllThingsNegative
            I actually want to reply to David Russell but can’t seem to. David, you should write to the editor of MedicalExpo e-Magazine and propose your journalism services. Take a look at the magazine first (emag.medicalexpo.com) to see what they’ve recently published, get an idea for the kind of info, and pitch a potential story. I know the editor and they pay well.
            I’m also the managing editor of ArchiExpo e-Magazine, as mentioned in another comment, and if you’re interested in trying your hand in architecture and design-focused writing, get in touch!

          • Sharon says:

            Thanks for defending her. I caught it. 🙂

      • Lawrence says:

        My girl came across this site, after I told her about losing a comment posting gig. I appreciate the time you took putting this together. I’ve been a part of the oDesk site for about 2 and a half years now, and I know all too well the struggle it is to get good paying work. oDesk is cool, but the foolishness that involves taking tests just so that you seem a little more proficient than the next person has always bugged me. I’ve been using oDesk as a starting point, and then convince my clients to move away so that we work together privately. My international clients hate all the extra fees. I’m really looking forward to trying the sites you mentioned, and once again Thanks for your time.

      • edna greer says:

        You might want to consider keeping your eyes peeled for spelling errors if you want writing jobs…

        • Rachel says:

          Edna, you might want to consider the correct use of an ellipsis before criticising others.

        • Diane Knaus says:

          Yes, spelt is just wrong on so many levels.

          • Actually, “spelt” is perfectly acceptable in England.

          • D'LightFull1 says:

            “Spelt” isn’t that a grain? On the western side of the pond, we would look at some cross-eyed if they used that term seriously.

          • Becky Hunter says:

            Spelt is definitely the way it is spelled and pronounced in Britain. My daughter reads and watches many British books, shows, and movies, and she spells and pronounces it that way because she has become so accustomed to it. She had one English teacher criticize her until she showed said teacher that it is the British way to spell it. She also says (and spells) “learnt” instead of “learned.” Being an Anglophile myself, I have no problem with it. It is not incorrect. Americans changed English. If anything, we’re the ones who mispronounce words!

        • Suzanne says:

          It’s funny because I find myself editing books that I am reading, ALL of the time!!! I wonder how these people got their jobs as editors, when I, the measly reader, can pick them out so quickly, without even trying and it drives me CRAZY to feel like I have to proofread books that I am paying over $20 a book for! I have so many stories and poetry and even a couple of novels that I have written or started writing and I always joke that when I die, someone will find my writing and only then, will I get famous for my writing. I, as the writer, would never turn something in, to have it read by anyone, without proofreading it myself either. I also want to remind everyone that often times, when we are just writing a comment, we may often accidentally hit the wrong key and submit our comments, without proofreading what we have written… it doesn’t necessarily make anyone unintelligent… thank you for a lot of good info on here

      • PJ Kizer says:

        One of the posts reads: “You are SO write about valuing your work. I’m actually writing a post on that to appear here soon, so keep your eyes pealed. Undervaluing our work (especially when we’re just starting out) is a huge problem for freelance writers.” Hopefully the author has already been advised of the, shall we say “typos,” and not “senior moments”? I am referring to “write” and “pealed.” Maybe Rule Number One for a writer would be to proofread first?

      • Glenn says:

        I actually DID write a PULSE piece on LinkedIn, about how I dropped the idea of Outsource ( http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/outsource-how-much-fun-working-cheap-dark-glenn/edit ) with exactly that idea. The race to the bottom with pay to plays and such, simply isn’t worth doing. It might be that *somebody* is making $$ on those sites, but example of person wanting *150 original* descriptions for some sort of fragrant oils on a budget of less than $500 is more often where those places go.

      • Shawn Mory McMillion says:

        If someone is speaking or writing accurately about a subject, they are “right.”

      • Muimmi says:

        The information on your site is helpful.

        Any sites you can recommend off the top of your head for someone starting out as a freelance academic essay writer? Should pay well too.

        Thanks in advance and keep up

      • Question: What are fair prices for our work?

      • Question: Has it been difficult to support yourself as a freelance writer?

      • Hi, not trying to being rude or anything, but if you’re planning a career in writing, you might want to check your spelling and/or grammar before putting it out there. Just saying…again, it trying to be rude or mean. I wish the best of luck to you! I too, am trying to get some writing gigs, and just starting out. I have no idea where to even begin. With that said, I think constructive criticism is a good thing, that if we take need to, can help us out in the long run. If anyone has any constructive criticism or constructive advice for me, please comment. Thank you!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you for the infomation. Its great to find a place that is really out to help not hurt.

      • David Russell says:

        Hi Donna and others,
        The online writing lab at Purdue University has resources on the Chicago Manual of Style and the APA manual, as well as many articles related to English grammar usage that are user-friendly! Just type owl purdue university in your fave search engine and it should appear as a result.
        -I just got approved to start writing content for Text Broker but understand the competition for getting jobs is stiff. I got a fairly good rating but not tops.
        Glad to have joined this particular thread and sooo thankful for the supportive content on here.
        Smiles to all,
        David

    • Shreya says:

      I am hoping to network locally with a non-proffit in the coming weeks and eventually find a content article opportunity that pays decently, desires my talents, and provides a reasonable degree of work or referrals. Perhaps that is what the majority of us want here.
      I am very grateful for this site, thread, and posts!

      Shreya Gupta

    • Regis Beaken Sr. says:

      I’m looking for someone who is going to pay me to publish a 1,000 word new prospective book. And hopefully a movie. It is called Zombie Revelations and has the old with a real touch of reality.

    • Jhafi says:

      Where can I find job writing for 200 words only?

    • T Harris-Dowdell says:

      Thanks for the insight!

  • Susan says:

    Great collection of resources, Kelly!

  • Alexis Grant says:

    Love this post — So many great ideas here!

    • Cordelia says:

      Thanks, Lexi. I hope it can save some writers from going through the penny-a-word phase too many of us went through at one point!

      P.S. LOVE the image you guys chose for this post. Too freakin’ cute.

  • Kelly, I 100% agree with you about staying away from content mills. I would add staying away from Yahoo! voices too for the low pay along with some of the shady posts on Craigslist (although I do sometimes find gigs worth going for). I’ve also had some luck with Ebyline, and a string of luck lately approaching businesses directly about blogging for them resulting in multiple and ongoing work for at least $50 per post.

    • Cordelia says:

      I’ve never heard about Ebyline but will have to check them out. You’re right; the majority of what you’ll find on Craigslist is dreck, so those job posts should always be evaluated cautiously.

      Good for you for approaching businesses directly! That’s a great approach but one many freelancers are afraid to take. I’m glad it’s been working so well for you!

    • John says:

      I use totaljobs and arivatoday.com to find writing gigs from companies and popular websites.

  • Suzi says:

    Thanks so much Kelly for taking the time to research and put together this list. It will get some good use here! It’ so discouraging to ‘beat the pavement’ only to find gigs offering $10 for a 500 word article. Sheesh! People don’t get that we writers like to eat too! :o)

    • Cordelia says:

      I so hear you. Never accept those $10/500 word articles, no matter how hungry you are.

      OK, if you’re really, REALLY hungry and need to make ends meet that month, and that’s all you’ve got currently, I’ll allow it. But otherwise? Your skills and time are worth far more, and there ARE clients out there who will recognize and honor that. Hold out for the good ones. (See: my upcoming article on how we writers need to learn to value (and insist on the value of) our own talents higher than we often do.) 🙂

      • Alicia says:

        I am so glad to run across fellow writers who value what they do and will stand up and say so. Far too often we get treated like the “red headed step children” of the creative industries and many of us allow it. I tried ODesk and was not only appalled by the pay rates, but by the attitude of many clients. One of them even said outright that we should be grateful to make five dollars an article (for well researched, 1,000 word pieces) and how their last writer was far too “uppity” for his tastes. Well now, I posted a response that I cannot quote in polite company. LOL. So, thank you, your voice is much appreciated.

        • Denita says:

          oDesk has put me under supervision based on negative feedback from clients even though my rating is 4.77. One client said that he already had 700 words. When I looked at what he wrote, it was on a sixth-grade level. No research, statistics, compelling copy, SEO keywords, etc. So I had to start from scratch. I ended up acting like a tutor. Another client loved my work but kept disappearing. I asked for her website address, information about her company, etc. She let another week go by then disappeared again. I could go on and on. I think that clients who use the content mills do believe that they can get stellar writing for peanuts. I believe these incidents are blessings in disguise. I’ve had my wake-up call. I follow top-notch bloggers and copywriters and hone my skills continually. It is up to the freelancer to determine his standards and ultimately his worth.

          • David Russell says:

            Hello Denita and others,
            I am thankful for this site, thread and continued posts including yours. At present I am an IC with Textbroker International, and try to look at most the jobs as blessings in disguise. Generally, I am a better conversationalist since starting this in late September, agree with you about developing writing skills, and have kind of found my subject niche as it were. The big picture tells me I have it pretty good, given local opportunities and employment services for those of us who have a handicapability are inadequate in my place of residence. In a former profession I was under “supervision” before leaving and it was somewhat demeaning more than helpful. I hope your experience is dynamically different, but you sound quite capable and willing to improve where need be which says a lot favorably concerning what you bring to the proverbial table. All the best to you Denita, enjoyed the chance to talk shop!
            David

      • Henry Goin says:

        ‘Never accept those $10/500 word articles, no matter how hungry you are’ hahahahaha

    • Dusma says:

      Avoid sites like Researchwritingcenter.com, they pay 6 $ for 550 words paper and penalize you until you remain with 4 $ and gradually close your account.

      • Vincent Mbugua says:

        Dusman am a victim of reserachwritingcenter’s indecency. This company is a fraud, they penalize your papers beyond 100%. ” PLEASE PROOF READ YOUR WORK” They keep saying and they are the lowest payers on the planet.

  • lorraine Fleet says:

    I love this list it is helpful in not hitting dead ends when looking for work

  • Brooke says:

    Hi Kelly (and others),

    This is my second day becoming nose deep in freelance writing, and I don’t feel like I’ve reached the point of knowing everything before submerging within.

    Can you please lead me to the right direction?

    Where do I begin? What do I need to start with?

    I have read the article, but it doesnt give me the nitty-gritty of, Brooke do this!!!

    What kind of articles should I be interested in? Copyright, Blogger, etc.

    *Goal* Would be traveling and writing about new and exhilerating places. (I know it sounds much more glorious then it is, but that’s why it is a goal, right?)

    • Cordelia says:

      I think the better question is, what kind of writing do YOU want to do? What topics interest you? What style are you most comfortable writing in?

      Freelance writing is a huge industry, and you could be everything from a lifestyle blogger to a marketing copy writer. You need to determine what niche fits your skills and interests best; that will make it much easier for you to locate specific, nitty-gritty advice.

      • Manjula says:

        Hello Everyone,

        I am based out of India. I would like to write short stories. Could anyone guide me as how I should go about it. Please recommend sites where I should register myself. I have registered myself in Freelancer.

        Thank you

    • Hi, Brooke.

      Your post is a few weeks old , but if you’re still looking for nitty-gritty, where do I start… a friend, Rebecca Flansburg and I have put together some resources that deal with those basics. You can find them here:
      http://myfreelancefreedom.com

      Might be something helpful for you.

  • Andrew says:

    This article was quite helpful and the comments were too. I am
    just about to finish my English MA and I am broke as joke, living
    at my parents, and finding writing work online is my priority for
    the time being. This shall be quite the adventure I am beginning
    to see so I’m trying to find a nice community online to help me
    on my way. Best of luck to everyone trying to survive out there!

  • saad says:

    This is my second day becoming nose deep in freelance writing, and I don’t feel like I’ve reached the point of knowing everything before submerging within…

  • Brittany says:

    Thank you for this post. I just recently got into freelance writing and I feel so stupid already. I found a blog that suggested odesk so I signed up with them and since I didn’t have a portfolio yet I applied for a job paying $20 for 10 articles due in one week. I’m halfway done but after reading this I don’t even want to complete the rest. I feel so cheated. I thought it would be a good way to get some experience under my belt but I have put so much time and energy in the articles I have done so far and it doesn’t even seem worth it. Should I even complete the job?

    • Cordelia says:

      Ugh. I’m so sorry to hear that. You’re not the only freelancer to have gotten lured into one of those sites. My rule of thumb, even as a newbie, was never to accept less than $10 for every 100 words, unless it was a fantastic gig that would get me good exposure. Even if you don’t have a portfolio, you should only take on projects you’ll be proud to show to other people when they ask what you’ve done. It sounds like you are creating good work right now, but unfortunately, it’s for a client who totally doesn’t deserve it.

      It’s a judgment call on whether to complete the project or not. There’s something to be said for keeping your word, but at the same time? This is clearly a client who doesn’t value a writer’s worth, so in my book, you don’t owe him much. He’s paying for work that’s worth $2 an article. In my book, $2 buys you a paragraph, maybe.

      Personally, I’d cut and run. If he winds up writing a bad review of you on odesk, it’s not a huge loss — you’re better off getting the heck out of odesk anyway.

      • Sharon says:

        Hello,

        Is it possible that the work she is doing for oDesk would at least provide a portfolio for her future use? I am brand new to the writing game.

  • Pamela says:

    Hello Kelly,

    Love your words of encouragement to stay true to writing and get properly paid for your talent. I love writing and have been caught up in content mills since I decided to write online about a month ago. I must admit the pennies I have received for my time, talent and dedication has been great to encourage me to seek something better.

    Are there any books or articles you recommend for beginners looking to earn a living writing online?

    • Cordelia says:

      Glad to hear you’re getting out! Content mills are the worst trap — there’s no chance of advancement, no value of what you’re really worth, and the “portfolio” you wind up building through cheap jobs isn’t usually the kind of portfolio that will help your career.

      The Write Life has actually put together a great list of resources to check out. You can find it here: http://thewritelife.com/resources/

  • Akash says:

    Hey, kelly. This article was an actual eye opener.I’m from India and being a novice writer, I didn’t have any expectations which made me vulnerable to such clients. I’ve worked for clients who have been paying rather poorly but require an ‘outstanding’ quality of work from us. I’m amused and at the same time rather disappointed when I realize that I had been working for 0.16 cents per word !! Once again a big thank you for now I know what to expect and whom to deny. Take Care.

    • Kelly says:

      You’re very welcome. You’re not the first to be lured into low-paying jobs. I’m glad we’ve helped you realize you deserve much, much more!

  • Karen de Guzman says:

    Thank you for the tips. I am handicapped and a fairly new mom at 41 to our 9 month old first and only son. I have been wanting to start a blog so I can have more time for my son since I have heard that with patience you could earn okay from blogging but, I for now, I can’t let go of my day job that pays $4.50 an hour because it still pays the bills. However, after the recent typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan hit the Philippines, I know I have to pursue blogging or find a better paying writing job that doesn’t require me to sit in front of the computer for 8-9 hours a day anymore. Can anyone give me additional tips on the best way I could start a blog aside from wordpress or blogger please? Thank you.

    • Kelly says:

      First of all, congrats on your new baby! Second of all, my thoughts are with you and all your friends and loved ones — are you located in the Philippines yourself? I hope you’re all safe and well.

      Third, The Write Life has put together a great list of resources you can check out. You can find it here: http://thewritelife.com/resources/. The very first section is on blogging, but there’s also lots of other material to help you with all sorts of writing careers. If there’s ever anything else I or The Write Life can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    • Dexter Camba says:

      First off, congrats on your 1st son! Sounds like you come central Visayas too ( like me, am from Bohol) Phils. If you are , here’s hoping for a better writing year for both of us. Yolanda (Haiyan) and the quake that hit our country – and the economic woes they brought are really challenges we need to hurdle.

      Haven’t much advice to give you on blogging – except join as many writers’ forums at LInked In, if you haven’t done yet. You see, I am more comfortable in writing articles than blogs. I have heard (from joining a lot of LI writing forums) – of a lot of successful/well-paid bloggers there who might be able to help you – to name a few – Francesca Nicasio, a US-based Filipina blogger, Carol Tice (US), Bamidele Omnibalusi (Africa), and more.

      Also, writing websites that work like a vendo machines (like Xoobiz, in 2011, but now seems closed) where writers can draw writing jobs from a queue – will also help, as we need not waste time in pitching for jobs.

      (please see my post somewhere in this forum re this – you like me want writing jobs you can do anytime on your free time)

      If you bump into business article writing gigs and Xoobiz-type sites, I’d appreciate it too if you could let me know.

  • gogetit says:

    Thank you for the great tips. I also get money writing for Bubblews and I
    I also write for sendmeglobal where they only give award to a writer each month. I was able to win it once. You have opened my eyes to other relevant targets. Thanks.

  • Carly says:

    I’ve recently started blogging just for the love of it and am curious about paid gigs. There is soooo much info out there and this article has saved me from contentmills, not to mention wasted hours-thanks very, very much!!

  • Talal says:

    That was a good read!

    I guess you your words of wisdom are meant for US-based writers, knowing how much it costs to live there, this makes sense … well, kinda.

    If you were writing for a while before delving into the freelance world, i.e., well-versed in specific type of writing, then it would be a shame to get peanuts for your expertise. However, taking those low-paying gigs is what you really need if you got no clue what your niche is, and want to get experience.

    I started working on oDesk a little over a month ago, it’s an amazing website. Although It’s infested with low-paying gigs, I managed to land a couple of good jobs on there.

    Since I write for my own amusement and because Jennifer (Oh dear Jennifer who gave me my first writing gig!) told me I write well, I continue to “work” on oDesk. It’s funny that I consistently manage to get $5-$10 per 500 words, not so bad compared to the pittance most jobs pay.

    I’ll have to disagree with you on staying away from “outsourcing platforms”, because unless you’re a seasoned writer, you shouldn’t be starting anywhere else. At least for the sake of getting good at your craft before pitching to high-paying clients.

    Speaking of High-paying clients, I stumbled upon your post as I was looking for them, but all I could find is advice, and advice only. Next thing will be a blogger telling me to be “one with nature” and those high-paying clients will come to me on their own.

    • Great point that you have to start somewhere, Talal — you’re right that new freelance writers have to gain that somewhere, and that there can be good jobs hiding among the less-than-stellar ones. It just takes time to sort through and separate the wheat from the chaff!

    • Alicia says:

      I vehemently disagree with you here. Content mills horribly abuse writers and make it difficult for people who have spent years in this field to get a fair wage due to the expectation that companies can pay less to get more. Also, writers who start out here often get stuck in a rut and can’t evolve past the oDesk stage. All around bad news and not recommended for anyone who wants an actual career in writing.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alicia. To each their own opinion — some people, like Talal said, enjoy using sites like oDesk because it works for their needs and goals. Some don’t enjoy these sites, or move on after building up a portfolio or a client roster. It’s a choice each writer makes for her own career.

        Heather
        TWL Assistant Editor

  • zeddy17 says:

    you can make money writing articles at http://www.iwriter.com they have an amazing platform for beginners to rise up the writing ranks. The pay is sustainable and you are able to begin your career well.

  • Matteo says:

    Hello and thank you for proving such an interesting article!

    Even though I’m not an English native speaker, I have managed to get some American and English clients so far, and they have been satisfied with my works.

    Being a young, I started on Elance some weeks ago while at the same time trying oDesk. All of my clients come from the former, as for the latter I didn’t bother to go back.

    What is your advice for me? I think Elance is good for building some portfolio and acquiring experience, but naturally I want to move on to something bigger and better. So where to start, or better to say what’s the next step I should follow?

    • Hi Matteo, thanks for your comment! We actually have a post coming up on what to look out for when using outsourcing sites like Elance and oDesk. Keep an eye out for that in the next few weeks!

  • Francis says:

    I love everything you posted on freelancing for a better pay.

  • Grace Sia says:

    Great informative post! I’ve got a desk job and am seriously thinking of a career change towards this direction. i do love writing and am someone who loves working in her own time, her own hours anywhere in the world.

    It’s a great list and gives people motivation to get started. Usually to make a change in life its quite scary but your post is so straight forward and well written that it makes anyone feel ready to take on the world! Thanks for this post and some of the other ones as well about freelance writing.

    Your blog is awesome 😀

    xxGrace

  • Amanda says:

    I’m so glad I found this article. I will be graduating with a Professional Writing degree in May. I’m trying to see what types of writing jobs are out there, because I’m nervous about the job market. I just signed up to write articles on Hire writers.com, but the pay is so cheap and I work really hard on the articles. I got paid more writing for my school’s newspaper than I did writing for Hire writers.com.

    • Hi Amanda,
      I’m curious as to where you got your Professional Writing degree. I was a technical writer before becoming a s-a-h mom. It’s a really good gig and pays good.

      Now I’m doing freelance writing while my child is in school. It took me a long time to get my tech writing job (b/c I initially was in elementary ed), and I’m thinking it may take a long time to work may way up as a freelance writer.

      Whatever you do, when first out of college, it can take a long time to build up your experience. It can be a long, frustrating climb, but do have patience and try not to get frustrated when you keep hearing that you need experience to get the job. It really, truly is character-building and most of us (whose dad doesn’t own the company!) have to go through it. Best of luck!

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