I hear you. Content mills have been your “bread and butter.” You’ve made money and they’re your “go to” sites for picking up some extra cash. I understand and I’ve been there!
I realize that content mills can be a valuable strategy to earning some extra cash, but just remember…
There is life after content mills!
And this life can be filled with high-paying clients and a much more satisfying freelance writer experience. So, if you want to find out what the next steps are to transitioning away from content mills and expanding your income, read on.
This post is Part 1 of a 3-part blog series that will help you to objectively view content mills: the good, the bad and the ugly. It will also offer information on next steps to taking the plunge towards working with direct clients so you can see just how good life can be after you step away from content mills. Parts 2 and 3 will cover Craigslist and the pros and cons, and how to successfully land writing gigs.
Can I Earn Six Figures a Year Working for Content Mills?
Let’s put it this way…I don’t know any writer who has been able to earn six figures on content mill rates, let alone a decent full-time writing income.
Let me refer you to one of my favorite quotes to explain:
“Life consists of being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of those opportunities” – Lee Majors
Lee Majors, TV’s Six-Million Dollar Man, is so right. Being in the right place at the right time means that you are fully aware of your surroundings and your limitations. Taking advantage of your opportunities allows you to look beyond where you are and see how you can reach a higher place. In our case, this “higher place” refers to earning a solid freelance writing income.
How do I know so much about content mills?
I was a content mills junkie. At the start of my freelance writing career, I only wrote for mills. I was making some passive income and although content mills were comfortable, I knew there had to be more. When I decided it was time to take my writing career to the next level, I started actively seeking direct clients by looking for freelance writing jobs from other sites.
How did I know I was ready to move on?
Once I built up a portfolio and I had blossomed into a good writer, I spent a couple of hours every day seeking other avenues to earn money as a freelancer. I wrote a few articles for content mills to keep cash flowing into my hands, but I set aside a portion of my day to spread my wings.
I decided to leave content mills behind and forge ahead.
Content mills have a way of “sucking you in” like an internet vacuum cleaner. I felt like a little bird, thrown out of the nest by my mother. In this situation, I was the baby bird and the mother too!
Your confidence will grow, however, once you land a couple of writing gigs. You will notice writing opportunities in many places once you develop “eyes” to see them. Some are right in front of you hiding in plain sight. It just takes a little courage to make that first step, but I know you can do it!
First Things First
Now, before we begin, I want to talk to you about reaching that six-figure-a-year mark. I didn’t do it by foraging through freelance writing job boards either. Applying to jobs was the next step of my journey after content mills; it boosted my income and helped me to leave content mills behind. But, it wasn’t until I became a specialist, and started actively building my brand and getting my name out there, that the larger checks started coming in.
The quicker you build your brand and market yourself, the faster you will hit your income goals, and you won’t need to spend hours on job sites hoping to land gigs to pay the bills. The clients will eventually come to you and you can also more effectively contact companies to pitch your services.
Having said that, snagging freelance writing jobs helped me earn a nice income so don’t underestimate the potential here. I found some long-term clients who paid me well by searching for jobs on sites like Craigslist. Some job ads will even ask you for your pay rates so you never know what you can find.
If you are currently looking for gigs, you will find a lot of websites below to get you going.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s do this and pry you out of your comfort zone!
Freelance Writing Job Sites
When I began my writing career and I was financially “strapped,” Craigslist became my buddy. Craig and I spent lots of time together and got to know each other well. Yes, he helped me pay my bills, but he also became the enemy at times and cost me money and much frustration.
Craigslist is the home to scammers. I got caught in a couple of writing scams that cost me precious time and money. However, if you are careful, you can use Craigslist to your advantage.
The main benefit to Craigslist is you can refine your search to include only certain states or even specific cities. You will find writing gigs available in your local area or on the other side of the world.
I talk more about Craigslist and other helpful tips such as how to avoid scams, in Part 2 of this blog post. Part 2 is a crash course on how to use Craigslist to find the best freelance writing jobs.
Craigslist has become so popular that there is a site that allows you to browse every city and state quickly. Go to searchcraigslist.org.
If you are searching for writer-related jobs, search with terms like “writer,” “blogger” or anything similar.
It’s simple. Type in your term here.
Once you search you will see a list of results. Sort by date first to get the most recent listings.
The listings at the top (tan background) are Google ads and may not be actual job listings. Start your search where the white background begins.
Telecommuting Jobs on Craigslist
If the job offers telecommuting capabilities, you will notice a small statement at the right-bottom of the job ad that says, “Telecommuting okay.”
Those are the jobs that will allow you to work from any physical location.
Hint: Sometimes a job poster will forget to tick that box even though the job is telecommute. Unless the job ad mentions a physical location, apply to it anyways. I landed a few telecommute jobs that way.
Have you downloaded my Free Strategy Guide to winning high-quality clients yet? I compiled all of my proven client-winning strategies for freelance writers into this free eBook. It also has a large section on how to land high-paying jobs on Craigslist and avoid scams. Get it here now!
This is another simple site that gathers a large database of the telecommuting jobs available, mainly from Craigslist.
This website offers daily gigs from Monday through Friday.
Spend some time on this website. It is one of the largest resources for freelance writing jobs and related information. It’s also a compilation site and gathers writing jobs from many sources.
I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I write about this site because I landed one of my first writing gigs here.
Go to the bottom of the page to “Search Openings” under “Work with Us.” The landing page allows you to choose your city and state. Click “search.” Each day the amount and types of jobs vary, so check back often.
Quick tip: Scroll all the way down below the locations and select “work at home.”
If you don’t find any listings there, click “Search” without selecting any location or adding any keywords. The database search option doesn’t always work correctly. Scroll through the available openings and you will likely see some remote (telecommute) job openings.
This job board lists all types of jobs including writing gigs.
In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable sites for writers or anyone in business. It’s also my “go to” site for verifying clients, other writers, and businesses.
LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool. It takes time to build your profile, but soon you will get requests to connect. If you join writer’s groups, you will discover many other writers and even clients looking for good writers.
Most people don’t realize that you can also search for specific types of jobs on LinkedIn.
On the home page there is an area at the top that says, “Jobs”.
Search for jobs related to writing and/or your specialty. Check this area several times a week because jobs come and go quickly.
If you want more detailed information on how to use LinkedIn to attract clients and grow your freelance writing career, check out this post.
Bookmark this one. The site is straightforward and you can find some legitimate remote opportunities.
Cute name, right?
This website is FREE to join which makes it even more appealing! Once you register, apply for as many jobs as desired.
Online-writing-jobs.com is part of freelancewritingjobs.com, but it lists jobs for online freelance writers only.
Last but definitely not least…
As it says in its name, this site is for work-at-home moms but you don’t have to be a mother to scoop up some of these opportunities. There are many freelance jobs on here besides writing. Click on the left navigation menu here to find some writing opportunities:
Popular Job Sites
You can find other websites that offer “remote” gigs. Once you fill out the required information, they will alert you when a job becomes available.
Fill in keywords related to your search and don’t include a location. The best keywords are “telecommute writer,” “telecommute blogger,” and “freelance writer.”
After you’ve read and digested all of that information…
My question to you is…
Is there life after content mills?
YES! Now go get those jobs!
P.S. Don’t miss Part 2 of this 3-part blog series. We talk more about Craigslist and how it can help you find solid freelance writing jobs.
Check out my other posts about freelance writing jobs.
And don’t miss my ULTIMATE freelance writing jobs list –> Check it out here: The Ultimate List of Freelance Writing Jobs and 100+ Paying Websites.