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?
Freelance writing is a writing career in which you work as an independent contractor, developing written communication for various clients. The client usually lays out specific objectives for a project. Your job is to meet those objectives by generating copy matching the tone and style that they want. Freelance writing is usually not about your creative expression as much as it is about writing in the voice your client desires. Your writing must be technically accurate as well since poor grammar and structure can detract from what your client is trying to say.
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.
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As usual another great post, I didn’t know there where so many places that newbies can find work. That is a great list and I will be putting them to work very soon, or as soon as I finish your course. I may be contacting you soon to look over your shoulders as you are teaching us from your great course “Write Your Way To Your First 1K”. I can’t praise it enough, keep up the good work Elna.
Some of the “gotcha” job offers from the past include check-cashing schemes, mystery shopping, medical billing “jobs” that require you to purchase expensive computer software, and craft-making jobs that ask you to pony up the cash for materials before you get started. And let’s not forget about the famous envelope-stuffing scam that was nothing more than a pyramid scheme designed to siphon money from as many people as possible.
Hey Elna! I am currently working towards breaking into the field of freelance editing and your advice has helped me immensely. I’ll be finishing my degree this year and I’ve been feeling anxious about future job opportunities (and lack thereof). After reading this, I feel so much more at ease. Do you have any tips for students who still need to gain experience?
Thank you for the encouragement…It’s that first step that is the scariest! I have written and designed all too many things in my lifetime and going/doing this new phase of my ‘connecting the dots’ and reaching out to find my nitch and have fun again with words and thoughts….My oh my!!!! Infinite possibilities open-up!!! Onwards and upwards! Take care 😊
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[Job Description] Seeking an experienced writer to ghostwrite romance books about 20,000-35,000 words as well as a captivating description which will really entice romance readers. I will provide themes, keywords, details to be included as well as full plots in some cases. In other cases the writer will have to develop full story and well developed plot and characters independently. Books will need to be publish ready, fully edited and proofread. [Requirements] - Must be an experienced writer within the Paranormal & Shifter Romance genre. - Native English speakers with excellent spelling, grammar, and punctuation only. - Content will need to be very CREATIVE, HIGH QUALITY, and 100% ORIGINAL. - Available to discuss requirements through a live call in the Upwork Messages chat room. As a ghostwriter, I will retain all copyrights and your name will not appear anywhere on the work. (This is a contractual agreement that will need to be signed and returned). [Benefits] - Looking to establish a longterm relationship with a writer who will receive regular work over the longterm. - Creative license to pitch ideas and write the stories you love. Please include your per word compensation requirements, a couple of samples of your work in the genre, your favorite author to read, and favorite genre to write. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
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.
P.S. The only way you can find out how great all of this can be is to get started today. We promise you a 100% Money Back Guarantee within 60 days! That's how confident we are of this AMAZING system. You can be signing up for your very first job within minutes, even if you're all the way in India, Australia, or even Singapore! That's the beauty about the Internet, it's a 24hr, World-Wide GOLDMINE! You can work when you want and how you want
Being busy is good, it’s better than not having anything to do and letting time slip away. But, what many people don’t realize is, being busy doesn’t always mean you’re being productive. The more time you take to complete something does not equal to more success. Many people end up falling into this trap as they pack their day with tasks and errands that may sometimes produce little outcome or output for the effort that they’ve put in.
As for writing courses, I don’t think it’s necessary. Instead I would do more of a freelance writing business course like mine or others. Write Your Way to Your First $1k helps you with getting your business up and some writing tips for blogging. This blog also has some great resources for writing: https://elnacain.com/blog/improve-samples-new-freelance-writer/ and https://elnacain.com/blog/writing-mistakes/

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.


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.
As usual another great post, I didn’t know there where so many places that newbies can find work. That is a great list and I will be putting them to work very soon, or as soon as I finish your course. I may be contacting you soon to look over your shoulders as you are teaching us from your great course “Write Your Way To Your First 1K”. I can’t praise it enough, keep up the good work Elna.
Thank you so much for writing this post Elna. It has been really very helpful indeed. I have been a part time freelance writer for about 6 months now but still feel like I am finding my feet. This post has given me a boost and some new options to follow up. It certainly seems like the strategy should be to go at it hammer and tongs and never, ever give up! Thanks again. I look forward to exploring your website some more.

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When I started to work from home, I missed talking to people. A lot. But I soon found a friend. Every day, I would hear the UPS guy gunning his motor as he drove down my long driveway to deliver my packages. As soon as I would spot him, I’d fly out of the house and chat him up. And now he leaves the packages by the curb. Sure, the one big bonus of working from home is that it gets you away from the petty office politics and never-ending gossip.
Have lots opinions on what works and what doesn't on the web? Then you might just be right for a "career" in remote usability testing. Actually, no one really makes a career at it, but user testers can pick up some extra work reviewing websites or mobile applications that may still be in development. You don't even necessarily have to be very knowledgeable about the Internet because some developers want the beginner's point of view.
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