Should We Include All Types of Freelance Writing Jobs?

When I began FWJ, I promised the FWJ community I wouldn’t post any jobs paying below $10. Things have changed, though. I’ve received a flood of mail from the FWJ community asking me to rethink my position regarding certain content sites. Here’s a sampling:

Deb, you always say we should make our own choices. Please post all jobs except scams and let us make our own decisions regarding the low paying jobs.

It’s true, I do say that.

Suite101 is my highest paying client. I don’t know why you don’t include their jobs in your listing.

and…

As long as a job isn’t a scam or term paper  mill I don’t have a problem with seeing the listings here. Content sites might pay lower but they’re definitely “legit.”

Plus…

I consider myself a hobbyist. I enjoy writing and the opportunity to earn money is a nice perk. I’d like to see what kind of content jobs are available.

So, every now and then I like to put it to the FWJ community. What do you think, should we include jobs for all content sites at FWJ?

Click here for the poll.

Comments

  1. As your community of readers is clammoring for you to list such sites, I would go ahead and do, provided you give your reasons for being hesitant.

    We have to admit, like it or not, we are dealing with a new normal.

    Give a Buyer Beware warning. Tell everyone why you think or believe something about a certain content site. Show them the tools you used to make up your mind, or why a site is suspicious to you. Then let them make their own decision.

    Your readers are, God Willing, smart enough to figure out scams when they see them.

    I myself came very near to signing up with what might be a scam site. I’m still nor sure, but everything they said seemed too good to be true. So I did a few minutes digging and found the site listed with a whole bunch of shady/scam sites. The site might be fine. It might be a legitimate business. But then why would it be seen all over the place where possible scams were being listed.

    I opted out. I don’t regret it. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check it out for yourself. Check it out with your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts. Check it out here. But CHECK IT OUT.

    Yes, I would say, list them. The shady ones will be discovered soon enough. We will drag them into the cold, hard light of the free market, and they will wither and die from the exposure.

  2. My only concern would be that the extra work would decrease the quality/quantity of the leads.

    • No, not at all. I’ll still continue having leads for all levels of writing. I come across leads for content sites in my daily travels, so it’s just a matter of adding them in.

  3. I vote no. You can find those types of listings on pretty much any site – work-at-home-job sites, craigslist, lots of other job boards. One of the things that I’ve always liked about your job listings is that they’re not filled with $3/hr crap jobs.

    Maybe you could survey your readers – if 50%+ report a positive experience with a content site (like Suite 101), then it can be incorporated into the listings.

  4. I say keep it the way it is. You’ve had a standard because it’s a standard you believe in, and if you still believe in it, I don’t think you should change.

  5. Go for it. A lot of jobs pay next to nothing because they require next to no work. I’ve been writing 100-word blurbs for wordgigs that take about 2 minutes each to write and pay 75 cents each. It’s not professional rates per word, but that’s over $20 an hour. So it’s still decent pay, in the end.

  6. It’s not up to you to determine what is/isn’t acceptable rates for other writers. While you can have personal standards, it’s fairly arrogant to claim that “anything below X dollars per article/whatever” is unfair, because they are your personal standards, not the standards of other writers.

    It’s fine to have personal standards, but the moment you start trying to enforce them on other people it is no longer personal, and is you trying to force your opinion on other people.

    Granted, it’s your blog, your community, and ultimately you can have whatever standards you like, but you kind of shoot yourself in the foot when you claim to be a resource for “all” writers, but then create an exclusive club where anyone not performing jobs for X dollars is deemed unworthy and outside of that club. It’s no longer a resource for “all” writers, but is suddenly a resource only for those writers who fit into what you consider “qualified” and “acceptable”.

    Rates are up to the writers to determine. What is fair to you isn’t fair to another person, and what’s unfair to me is fair to someone else. I know for a fact that I’ve turned 3 dollar per article work into 30 dollars an hour work, yet according to the standards here that’s “unacceptable” because it’s below 10 dollars per article. Thing is…it might only be 3 dollars per article but there are those of us out here who are making 50k a year doing it, and I don’t think you can play judge and jury for the writing community as a whole as to whether or not that’s an acceptable wage.

    I say post everything outside of scams and let your COMMUNITY determine whether or not a rate is fair and acceptable to them on their own terms.

  7. I think you should keep it as it is– $10 and above. I know the economy isn’t what it used to be, but I do believe that there are a lot of great jobs out there starting out at $10, as you prove daily. I come to this site for quality jobs and advice about getting and keeping quality jobs.

    I do agree that there are some nice gigs at under $10, but nothing you can really sink your teeth into (at least not from my findings). I think you should keep your standard. No disrespect to those who are able to make a decent wage on jobs paying less than $10, but I come here for the best jobs available, and under $10 just isn’t it.

  8. I know a number of months back there was discussion about Textbroker. I was rated a four-star which is rates of 1.5 cents per word. While I don’t submit content on a regular basis to them, if I’m in a slump with little work coming in, I have turned to Textbroker. I pick the articles I know I can write without research and can earn $20 to $30 an hour using them.

    Others who couldn’t get the 4 star rating, get lower per word pay and don’t find it worthwhile, and I understand that not being worthwhile to them. Every case is different.

    Meanwhile, my son wanted to work from home this summer, but being 16, no one wanted to offer him work online. Instead, one potential employee told him to use Amazon’s MTurk program as they accept teens, so he tried that. Those rates are pathetic, so he gave up. One job posted this weekend requires you to research major CEOs and pays 25 cents total. Definitely not worthwhile to us, but the site has been around for years, so obviously it draws people in.

  9. I’d like to see the lower-paying jobs! I’m blessed with fast fingers, and if I know about the topic and don’t have to research it I can make a good wage even with lower-paying stuff because it doesn’t take me long to write it. It’s a great way to supplement income or get some fill-in work when things are slow.

    • Absolutely, Michi. For example, I did a batch of articles on The X-Files earlier this year, as well as another on Disney musicals. First of all…I’ve seen most of those. Second, they required little/no research at all, and the basic gist of the articles was name of the show/movie, actors included, basic history of the episode/film, and that’s it. Short little 250 word blurbs and I was pounding out 8-10 of them an hour.

      Then I had a project on Las Vegas hotels/casinos. 500 word articles. Was pounding out 4-5 of them per hour. Both projects netted me between 25 and 30 dollars an hour. Nothing to sneeze at in my book.

      I never, ever, look at what a project pays per word/article/whatever. Instead I look at how fast I know I can type, whether or not it’s research-intensive, and whether or not I can crank them out at a reasonable pace. It is foolhardy to try and base an opinion on a job purely based upon the Per Article/Hour/Word rate, because: A) not every person types the same speed; B) not every person reads and researches at the same pace; and C) not everyone is the same writer. What is cakewalk to me is painstaking to another person.

      One thing my dad taught me years ago was to never, ever make a bid on a project based purely upon the square foot measurements of the floor plan. Instead, physically go to the project. Look at it. Conceptualize all of the layers of the project as they will unfold. Estimate not only how many days you think it will take you, but how much money you need to make to be profitable, how many dollars per day you need to make, what difficulties might arise, whether or not there’s water nearby, trash facilities, look at the schedule…there are a hundred things to look at when basing your price around a project, and the LEAST of these things is the Per/whatever rate.

      So an article pays 5/10/50 dollars per article. So what? How research-intensive is it? Can I do 5/6/7 per hour? What’s the deadline? What’s the voice requirement? etc. etc. etc.

      The per hour/article/word rate is only a small part of the overall picture. How fast you work as a writer can swing those numbers up or down, as can a variety of other variables.

  10. Although I’d love to say keep them off, I’m just starting and could use the fall-back until I get a broader base of higher-paying clients. No matter how much I know about marketing myself and climbing the industry ladder, building my portfolio still takes time, and I have to pay bills in the meantime, so…I would appreciate if you did post them!

    I think it might also alleviate some of the pressure put on other, higher-paying posts. Because there are so many of us who rely on your job board, I think many of these posts tend to get flooded with our submissions. If there were more posts – particularly more that are accessible to us beginners – it might help lower the number of applications to other posts we’re not all qualified for.

    Thank you for considering this issue, Deb!

  11. Arvind Arora says:

    Well, I guess the best solution out will be to create a different sub-category upon your blog containing the links to lesser-paying, yet ‘legit’ jobs. This would enable the writers looking for better paying jobs in escaping that sub-category altogether, while the ones who don’t mind considering even the lesser paying gigs can easily go and try their lucks over there.

    But yes, what I would really like to be ensured by you is that the superb ‘NO SCAM’ policy of yours must hold good with the new sub-category also, in order to make sure that nobody feels cheated after visiting your blog, and also everybody must continue to rest assured they’re not going to be led towards any scam once they land upon this place. Which, eventually means, you’ll have to continue adopting your ‘Check-Verify-And-Mention’ mode of action before posting any new job lead upon the site.

    @Craig: I really don’t think I would love to keep FreelanceWritingGigs within the ‘Most-Favorite-List’ of mine, once I come to know even scams are being included in the job leads over here. Also, I don’t feel anybody would love the idea of verifying all the leads for being a scam or not, and then weeding them out…. That will really render FWG no different from loadz of other places where the Scammers are welcomed, 24X7……….

    Heartfelt thanks & regards,

    Arvind Arora

    • I agree with the different sub-category. However, any job can turn into a scam and Deb would never have the time to weed through them all. Just last week, I had two potential gigs come from links provided on this site. Both sounded legit, then emailed me back in a couple of days to negotiate rates and the likes. One then gave me my first assignment, which I did and turned in as promised by their deadline, haven’t heard another word from them since.

      The other sounded really good based on the ad and his response. Within a few days he announced he really didn’t have any work but had posted an ad hoping to find writers who had books or were working on books that they needed an agent for and that anyone fitting that category could contact him but otherwise people should remove him from their list.

      What that happens, I’m happy to come back and post that the job turned out to be a dud or a scam. That’s what makes this community great, everyone can chip in and help weed out scams from legit jobs.

  12. Please keep it the way it is!! Anything under $10 is way too low.

    • 10 dollars per article is way to low for you, Krista. You certainly don’t speak for the rest of the writing community as a whole, nor do you speak for the global community.

      Take Demand Studios, for example. Those pay 15 dollars per article. Taking my niche market, I can go there and write 5 articles in an hour, easily. It’s not Pulitzer Prize winning stuff. It’s website content. How To and Strategy articles, or About articles. It’s cakewalk. Your “way too low” articles just netted me 75 dollars an hour

      Remember that there is no such thing as standardized rates, and making blanket statements in regards to whether or not a rate is “too low” is entirely based upon your opinion and your personal living requirements. Not everyone out there needs to make 60k a year to break even. Some people only need to make 20k a year. Some might need 100k. Point is…telling people what rates are/aren’t low/high is entirely subjective and dependent upon the writer in question.

      • @ T.W. – Deb asked a question, and I’m allowed to have an opinion. I don’t need to be scolded or lectured for thinking a certain way, especially on a site that you do not run or have control over.

        And your stories seem to change on an almost daily basis. A few days ago, I remember you writing in another comment that you write 1,000 words an hour. Now it’s 2,500. This seems to be common practice from those advocating low wages.

        • Oops…a common practice among.

        • Various projects change the rate of words per hour. I’m currently in the middle of a project that I’m averaging 1800 words per hour on atm. I’ve done projects in the past that I’ve done 2500+ on. I’ve also had projects where I only do 1000 words in an hour. It depends on the project, the pay, and a variety of other factors. And my stories never change. If I open my mouth to say something it’s 100% verifiable fact. I’m more than happy to show you how to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to enhance your writing potential, and I’d be more than happy to send you video showing me using speech to text and putting out 2500+ words per hour. Just because you don’t doesn’t mean others can’t.

          It’s not a lecture. It’s fact. What’s low to you isn’t low to other people, and vice versa. You are certainly welcome to your opinion, but you can’t play judge and jury for the global writing community.

          Cheers!

  13. It’s definitely your choice, Deb. If you decide to post lower-paying jobs, I would like to see them put in their own category so that writers who don’t want to look into those gigs can avoid spending time clicking on the links.

  14. I’d like to remind everyone of our Comment Policy. Let’s not make it personal please. Respectful disagreement is fun, but when it gets personal or nasty I start deleting.

    Thanks.

  15. I agree with others about putting the lower paying gigs in a separate category. I guess there’s room for everything here, but (taking a page from Linda Evangelista) I don’t get out of bed for anything less than $10 an hour. lol

  16. It’s hard enough to wade through the job listings now to find good-paying ones…I wouldn’t want to see any more ones. I guess I think of this site as a portal for people who’re serious about writing, not just doodling about…and we don’t need any more $1 article listings. Personally, I’ve already developed a whole system for screening the current listings, which I discussed last week on my blog: http://caroltice.com/blog/20

    I say you’re doing great the way it is.

    Carol Tice
    http://www.caroltice.com
    http://Twitter.com/TiceWrites

  17. Deb – I appreciate the resource you provide us freelance writers. However, if your jobs list begins to fill up with ads for Demand Studies, Suite101, Examiner, etc, then I will no longer use your listings in my daily job search. On my end, it’s a simple question of time management – I have to direct my attention where it has the potential to earn me to most.

    As others have commented, I come here because some of the job listings you find are the cream of the crop. If those become buried, the listing loses its utility and appeal to me.

  18. I’m of two minds about this. As someone who would like to break into the freelance market, but has next to zilch experience save for a B.A. in English, I’m torn about these ‘content mill’ sites. On the one hand, they look like a good way to acquire the always-coveted clips. On the other, would employers snigger at clips from sites such as Suite101 and Examiner.com?

    Are these sites a good way for a new writer to build a portfolio, even if they don’t pay well? Is it worth it from that perspective?

    • Some employers might snigger over Suite101, etc., but I’ve also gotten jobs through people finding clips on sites like that, and they’ve been good-paying, respectable jobs with larger companies. Clips are clips. If you’re a good writer, that shows, no matter where you write.

  19. I’m posting for the first time to say: Please don’t change. I appreciate that low-paying jobs can be a good option for some people, and I’d be the last person to be critical of any method a person uses to pay her bills. But I come to check your site every day because I can get an edited list of what job listings are currently on other boards. If your list isn’t edited anymore, I’d be a less frequent visitor. There are tons of sites that cater to freelancers who are looking for lower-paying jobs and very few sites that highlight higher-paying jobs. It seems to me that you are unlikely to lose visitors by NOT posting lower-paying ads, even though some people might appreciate them; whereas there is a risk of losing visitors if you DO post them.

    Anyway, that’s my $.02.

  20. I’ve only been freelancing for a few months now. I understand the pros and cons of taking the lower paying jobs vs. holding out for higher paying ones and I’m not going to judge any writer for making one choice over the other, but this understanding doesn’t stop me from being shocked by some of the ads I’ve seen on Craigslist and elsewhere – people trying to hire skilled writers to do a lot of work for little to no pay. By posting leads like that here, you’re giving those ads a lot more exposure than they otherwise would have had, which seems wrong to me when some of those ads are trying to lowball writers to a ridiculous extent. (I’m not necessarily talking about Suite101 or the equivalent, but about the corporations who want to pay $8/hour for an experienced editor, etc.)

    People who are okay working for lower pay can seek those jobs out. I regularly look in other places for leads, after I’ve gone through the list here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that. I like knowing that I can start here in the morning with a list of opportunities that I know are going to be reasonable in terms of pay.

    Of course, it’s your site, and you’re closer to your community than anyone. You should do what you think is best for the site. But that’s my opinion on why posting the lower paying leads might not be such a good idea.

  21. You could always put them in a separate category at the bottom of the list so people who aren’t interested won’t be bothered by them.

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