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3 Reasons to Consider Freelance Bidding Sites for Freelance Writing

Updated on June 5, 2012

Making Money as a Freelance Writer

For those of us that love writing, the goal beyond being able to write is to make a living at it. Thanks to the Internet, the ways to do that have greatly increased. There are many more opportunities than what you might realize; it is possible to make a decent living as a writer.

One of those ways is through freelance bidding sites. There are many of them out there, but the best known are Elance, oDesk, Guru, and Those are the ones I am most familiar with and have an account with. These sites have gotten a bad reputation as being low paying "content mills." The term "content mills" refers to the fact that many clients want large numbers of articles and are not concerned with the quality of the writing. While this does happen on these sites, you will find quality clients that will pay you a decent price.

Freelance bidding sites are not for everyone, but here are three reasons you might want to consider them if you are just beginning your freelance career.

No Experience Required

Elance was one of the sites where I got my first paying work as a freelance writer. While it can be difficult to be successful with the site, it can be a way to begin making an income from your writing. The key to getting jobs as a beginner is creating a great portfolio and bidding on jobs that will accept new writers.

As far as payment goes, I've never accepted a job that only pays $1 for 500 word articles. I've written ones for $5, but those are usually easy and I can complete them in less than half an hour. That ends up being the equivalent to earning $10 an hour. Not great money but about what you would expect for any entry level job.

If earning money as a writer is your goal, this is one way you can make a part-time income. It would be difficult to earn full-time money with these sites, but there are a few that are doing it.

Gain Experience

While not all clients are concerned with quality writing, some do know what they want and expect good work. Those are the clients that can help you take your writing to the next level. You can learn a lot about writing and the writing business by working with clients on the freelance bidding sites.

I wrote a post on my blog about what I have learned from Elance. Here are a few of the lessons:

  • How to work with clients to create exactly what they want
  • How to meet deadlines, many of them short notice
  • How to submit a proposal

I've also learned about different kinds of writing. Before doing this kind of work, I had no idea what a landing page was. Now, I've written several of them and can add them to my resume.

It also allows you to try out different kinds of writing to see if you like it. Learn how to write press releases, business plans, SEO articles, blog posts, and many other projects. This doesn't mean you can practice and do a poor job with these clients; it does mean that many of them are willing to provide guidance and instruction to help you learn.

Get Testimonials

I had a client that I worked with for over six months on one site. Once the project was completed, I finally got up the nerve to ask them if they would write a letter of recommendation for me. They gladly said yes and wrote a glowing reference that I can use to get other work.

Getting recommendations and testimonials will help you get other work later on. Many people want to hire writers that have already done work or have "clips" and these recommendations will show that you have written for clients and have met deadlines.

You also get feedback on these sites from many clients, which you can use to show other potential clients. I have received numerous feedback comments, but I only pursue the letters of recommendation from long-term clients. Both will have value when you look for private clients and will show that you have experience and do quality work.

Climbing the Freelance Writing Ladder

When you want to make money as a freelance writer, you may end up looking at many sources. Freelance bidding sites are definitely not for everyone and are often not a long-term career, but they can be a way to earn money while you begin your career. My other article on bidding sites tells how to get work and what to watch for so that you don't get scammed or waste your time on low jobs.

I've been working on these sites for almost a year and I have made a decent part-time income with them. My goal is to move beyond these sites and work with my own clients, but I have learned a lot from the experience that I will take with me for other work.


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    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 5 years ago from Missouri

      It is hard to find good paying clients on those sites, but not impossible. I only bid for ones that pay what I will accept now that I have more experience. My minimum is what I make per hour at my full-time job. I figure as long as I get that, at least I'm doing what I love for that rate instead of a job I don't like. I just remind myself not to get stuck there and look for other venues.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I have not written for the bidding sites, although I have set up profiles at a few of them. I find their rates are just too low, but as you say it is a good way to get your foot into the door!

    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 5 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you for your comments, Francesca27 and B. Leekley.

      AlanRimmer, it's not always easy to get work there, as I experienced for a long time. But if you take the time to learn from others, you can do it. Don't give up; that first payout is worth it! It makes you feel like you can make a living as a writer.

      rex michaels, I know what you mean. I've had better luck with Elance and oDesk than with others. And there are times when one has more to offer than others. I might put in 10 bids before I get any results, but that client may have long-term work. Even though I have won several jobs, I still get turned down.

    • rex michaels profile image

      rex michaels 5 years ago

      Great info, I have tried out a few of the freelance sites with mixed results, very informative article.

    • AlanRimmer profile image

      AlanRimmer 5 years ago from Southwest UK

      Thanks for your great tips. I signed up for Elance but became a bit intimidated by it as a newcomer to the world of freelance writing. Your suggestions have given me a new motivation to give it another go.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, and Interesting. I appreciated this helpful information on bidding sites for freelance writing.

    • Francesca27 profile image

      Francesca27 5 years ago from Hub Page

      You are a good writer. I like your style and will use your suggestions.