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Making Money As A Freelance Writer: Some Alternatives to Content Mills

Updated on July 16, 2014

Some Opening Thoughts

Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.

Jim Rohn

I was asked recently what alternatives there are to content mills. In other words, how can freelance writers make money and not work for those blood-sucking corporations that pay $5 for a 500 word article?

Let me begin by saying without hesitation that I will not work for a content mill. As the quote above states, time is of more value than money to me. I only have a limited number of years left on this planet, and I’ll be damned if I will spend an hour of my time for a five buck payout. Quite frankly I’m worth much more than that, and you are too!

Content mills, in my humble opinion, are the bane of the writing world. As a writer, you do all the work and get little in payment, while the mill makes tons of money. The mills have driven the price down and it is an industry I want nothing to do with. I would rather stake my future on my own marketing and writing skills and leave the dregs to someone else to scarf up.

So, if we are tossing content mills to the gutter where they belong, how do we make a living as a freelance writer?

Simply through hard work, determination and creativity.

There are no shortcuts in this business. If you are not willing to do the work then you will not make it, plain and simple.

So let’s get started. What follows are some suggestions, some hard-clad musts and some tips based on my own experience.

Free of content mills and quite happy
Free of content mills and quite happy

A Professional Face to Your Business

If you want to make money doing this writing gig, then you have to portray yourself as a professional writer; that means business cards and a website or blog. Writing is a business and it needs a business face.

You can see to the right my writing website and my writing blog. They are the online face of my freelance writing business, and they establish me as a professional in this business. Perception is so vitally important in any business. You are asking people to give you money for your services, so you had best look the part.

The website you see costs me about $100 per year. The blog costs me nothing. In the near future I will be discontinuing the website and using the blog exclusively, but I’m doing that because I am now established and making money. When starting out I think it is vital that you have both. Again, that’s only my opinion based on my experience.

I also have business cards that have my website and blog on them. Business cards are so inexpensive and they may be the best advertising investment you can make. Use them. Give them to everyone you meet.

Okay, you now have a professional face for your business. Now what?

Alternatives to Content Mills

Early on I realized that cutting out the middleman, namely the content mills, just made good sense. Why should they pocket the profit while I do the work?

I began by going to local businesses and introducing myself. I told them what I could do for them. In many cases I explained the value of their website and how blogging on that website could help them with their sales, and I explained that with my keyword knowledge that I could drive traffic to their website.

One market I found very lucrative was real estate. For two years now I have written property descriptions for two local real estate firms and one large brokerage in Los Angeles. They love the job I do for them because it frees them up to do what they are in business to do, to sell real estate. I just finished doing content for one website that paid me $100 for an hour’s work, and I got that job by cold-calling businesses. In other words, I left my comfy writing studio and I went out and sold my skills face-to-face.

I now make about $1000 per month working three hours per day doing work that requires very little effort. I am my own content mill and I get paid what content mills get paid by their customers. I could make more but that is not where my love is, so I spend the rest of my day looking for other freelance gigs that do not involve keywords or blogging or website content.

Let’s take a look at a few of those opportunities.

Magazines and Newspapers

I am a big believer in starting small and building upon that beginning. For me, that means looking at local markets first before I tackle the big markets.

I live in Olympia, Washington. Within fifty miles of my writing studio there are ten alternative newspapers, eight online magazines, five print magazines and seven major newspapers. They all hire freelance writers to write articles for them, and they all give preferential treatment to local writers.

Do they pay as well as national publications? Not by a long shot, but that’s not important when you are first starting out in the freelance business. What is important is getting published and having a byline, and what is also important is establishing contacts among editors and publishers.

I am willing to bet that one could make a comfortable living just writing for local publications once contacts have been made and a network has been established, but if you want to go after the truly big fish, there are literally thousands of national magazines and newspapers who hire freelance writers to fill their publications. Check out the Writer’s Market for a detailed list of those publications and their submission requirements.

Yes you will receive rejection slips. Oh well! This is a numbers game, and the more you submit work the better your chances of being paid money. Keep track of anyone who actually accepts your work and use that contact for future work. In other words, network, build a foundation and then keep building.

Blogging Is the New Wave

Yes, you can make money blogging. Millions of people have blogs, and many of them monetize those blogs and make money from the advertisements and promotions. I’m not going to spend much time on this facet of the freelance business, but I would suggest you check out my friend Janine’s blog if you want to see how she goes about the blogging business. She is quite successful with that blog alone, so check her out here and you might get some ideas.

Creativity Pays

I liken the new online writing world to the Old West. Back in 1850 there were fledgling territories, and opportunities were practically unlimited for someone with an imagination and a willingness to take a chance.

A freelance writer has no limits other than the limits they put on themselves.

I just heard from a writer friend of mine today who has started her own tourist website in Texas. She is going to sell advertising on it, and contact local businesses who will pay her to mention them on the website. Why is she doing this? Because the budget problems of many cities have forced those cities to cut back on tourism publications, but there is still a need for tourism information. Brilliant idea by Sydney and one I applaud.

I know for a fact that the state I live in, Washington, is the only state in the nation that has no tourism bureau. Because of the recent budget cuts they eliminated the state tourism department, thus slashing millions of dollars from the budget but leaving a gaping hole for an enterprising freelance writer to plug.

Do you understand the point I am making? Find a need and meet it. Look for opportunities and jump in with both feet. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to contact you with a $10 job; get off your duff and make a $100 job happen.

Too Much to Mention

Freelance jobs abound if you look for them. There is editing and there is copywriting and there is ghost-writing and there is grant writing. You can do marketing copy or you can do guest blogging or you can do Hallmark cards or you can do whatever new idea you can come up with….or…..

You can do content articles at five bucks a pop and sit on the outside wondering why others make more money while you sit at the little kids table.

The choice is yours.

As always, if I can be of any help, feel free to contact me with your questions.

Good luck and please remember that your time is valuable and so are your skills.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • profile image

      anndango 3 years ago

      Great information - you know what I think of content mills (boo).

    • profile image

      Vickiw 3 years ago

      I understand your point, Bill! Great, provocative and very encouraging Hub! I'm going to get out there and start beating the bushes! Do you want to come along and do my sales pitch for me?

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Those mills need to be put out of business. My daughter-in-law does writing for them, most from other countries and she writes books even for practically nothing. Glad you are not selling yourself short. Great write! ^

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I do indeed, Ann, and I respect you for it. :) Thanks for stopping by on this Monday. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, you know I would if I was in BC right now. Good luck to you; I'm sure you will do well without my help.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed, Jackie! I think some people need the money, get trapped doing this kind of work for next to nothing, and then are afraid to venture out and try for the real money in writing. It's sad, and I wish I could convince them all to break free.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Great advice, as always. I do listen to you. I have a copy of Writer's Market on the way (the last hard copy I purchased was in 2000 - high time time for an update) and I plan to have both my writer's website and blog up and running sometime in August. I know I say this often, but thank you for the help and inspiration.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Bill,

      Today's read was extra inspiring to me. I am struck by your personal moxy and your willingness to be a true advocate / teacher to writers all over, no matter what their passions or goals.

      Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

    • Briefme2 profile image

      Briefme2 3 years ago

      Inspired and focused. Thanks so much. From a soul with a kindred past.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, you already know you are preaching to the choir here and I tried my hand very briefly at one content mill and felt so cheap and degraded doing this. I quickly stopped and this is when I decided to monetize my blog and try my hand at this option. I love my blog and I really do love doing what I do all day long. So that said, I must admit there is so much more out there in the way of freelance jobs that are not content mill related. And thank you my friend for the shout out here. I truly do appreciate this more then you know. Enjoy your Monday now and know as always I voted, shared, pinned and tweeted, too!

    • innerspin profile image

      innerspin 3 years ago from uk

      Excellent food for thought, it's good to have a reminder of opportunities. They seldom come knocking at your door - you have to find them. Thanks for kicking my butt!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, that is all music to my ears. Seriously, I am standing on the sidelines cheering you on. I know you will do well and I'll be very happy for you when success arrives.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, people like you and me, we are born to teach and help. That is our calling and that's where we find peace of mind and fulfillment. Bless you my dear for making a difference.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Briefme, I love your final line....drop me a message and explain if you get the time, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you won't find another person who believes in loyalty as much as I do...you deserve the shout out, and I am so happy for you, and proud to be your friend. You get this message....you have found your own way in this writing gig and you will be successful. Way to go, Janine.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      As usual, this is a very useful article. It's awesome how many opportunities are out there for those who would be creative, and look for needs.

      I am looking forward to receiving my "Writer's Market" book. It is on the way, and I should get it within a few days. 3 days ago it was in Texas, and it doesn't usually take too many days to get here from there. I feel like a kid waiting for my Christmas present! You have been a great encouragement, and if it wasn't for you, I would not have made this a priority at the moment.

      I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I went on a cookout on Saturday in Erving, Mass, and got to see my parents, both of my brothers, my sister-in-law and my adorable two nieces, ages 2 and 3. We had plenty of food and conversation, and I left feeling so happy that I live closer to them than when I was in Virginia for nearly a decade.

      Anyway, have a wonderful day!

      ~ Kathryn

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      innerspin, a very gentle butt kicking. :) Go get them, tiger!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, that sounds like the perfect family gathering and I'm so happy for you. Hold onto those memories my friend; they last a lifetime and comfort us during the tough times.

      I'm happy your Writer's Market is almost there....and I hope it opens many doors for you.....have a great week and of course, thank you.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, this is what I was looking for when I posed the question to you. I have come up with the name for a blog site and have written the intro. I've asked my brother for some artwork I have in mind for the logo. I will work on bringing it to life this week. Then I guess I need to re-order my business cards and add the site.

      My biggest problem (fear) is cold-calling. I do fine once I have established a rapport with a client through other means, such as when I was a copywriter. The sales team sold the package, I wrote the copy, hired the talent and assisted in production. This afforded me a close relationship with the clients who in turn bought airtime from me rather than the sales staff.

      Being on the front end of sales is where I get hung up. However, in order to succeed, I see I need to overcome my fear.

      Thanx, Buddy. I'm hanging on to this one for future reference.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, this one was for you, so I hope it was helpful. There are no specific answers to your original questions....just possibilities given birth by your creativity. Yes, cold-calling is hard, but so is not paying the bills. :)

      I still find jobs online, but I won't work for content mills. That's why I mentioned craigslist....I always find local jobs through them, and they pay much better, usually, than a content mill.

      Good luck and as always, if you need me, I'll be around.

      love,

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Will do, Bill. CrowdSource pays $12/400 words but I find I've lost interest in them. They are slow to approve plus I lose all rights and can't add my work for them to my portfolio because it's all written online in their template - no copy/paste from Word. I'll touch base with my brother and see where he is on my artwork. Once I get my blog up and running I can work on cold-calling. I'll have something I can show them or direct them to other than my creative work on HP (where I STILL haven't earned my first $50!)

      I really appreciate you answering my plea. (You sound a tad PO'd regarding this subject on today's blog. Didn't mean to piss you off!)

    • carlajbehr profile image

      Carla J Behr 3 years ago from NW PA

      Good article!

    • Linda Compton profile image

      Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

      Ah, Sir William, another content-rich, generous of spirit hub. You give us so many valueable pitches, we need only summon the will, develop the vision & skill, and have the determination to swing! Bless your heart and CONGRATULATIONS! L.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I'm not po'd at all, and you certainly didn't piss me off. A true friend is not angered that easily.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you carla! I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Linda! Just trying to do my part my friend. :) Blessings to you today and always.

      bill

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      I fond this whole Hub very enlightening - so much so that I confess my e-mail is on it's way to you - thank you - voted up once again Billybuc

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Voted up, interesting and useful and am spreading it on my Zurker account...maybe some others later.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I worked for a mill for 3 weeks about 15 articles a day. It really was a great exercise. Albeit one in futility. And I did have a blast writing on things like how hail formed and camo wedding dresses and yeast infections.

      Clearly you would have to live in a place where 15 dollars a day paid the bills.

      Great hub!!!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Very inspiring Bill. I didn't even know content mills existed, so per your advice, I will skip right over those!! Regarding websites, I've had my own (one that I pay for )since I've started, but I don't actually sell off of there, so I might open a new one on webs.com, which is free. It looks pretty nice as well. Thanks for another great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sally...and my response to your email is on the way. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Lady! Greatly appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, we all seek such a place, don't we? LOL thanks for sharing your experience and underscoring my point.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Liz! As you establish yourself as a "dog expert," if that is the direction you want to take, then this will all pay off....of that I am certain.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

      Interesting article, Bill. I love your approach to becoming a freelance writer. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      There are a select few here on HP that make their mark and leave an impression. There are also some that have branded their style, technique and areas of expertise. You have and continue to do all of these and in a successful and helpful manner. Quite honestly, I'm amazed and bewildered how you find the time in each day to respond to comments on your posts and then read and respond to other hubbers. You must be able to speed read and type at 120 words per minute. I know this might read like a joke, but seriously, I don't know how you do it. It takes me forever just to reply and read a few hubs, after which I'm exhausted. In any event, thank you for sharing yet another wonderful and helpful hub.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      I love the advice you choose to share with us. I'm bookmarking this one because, though I've never tried them, I don't think content mills are for me. I have been thinking about setting up a blog, just don't know where to head with it yet. I never thought about looking into local magazines and making business cards, either. Thanks for writing up this hub.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Great article Bill! Would you consider hubpages a content mill? I know you aren't being paid directly for a particular article and you have many more freedoms here, but would it still fall under that category? I read about content sites and I've gone so far as to sign up for a some others, but from what I see--they are not worth my time. At least HP allows you to find your own niche and choose your own content. Thanks for all the freelance suggestions. There is a lot of opportunity out there if you are willing to seek it out!

    • ienjoythis profile image

      Marissa D. Carnahan 3 years ago from Nevada

      *bows to master*

      Great advice, as always. One of these days I'll actually do something with all of this knowledge you are handing out. You should charge money for this! Wait... don't do that. lol

      :) Marissa

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for sharing the story of your success. It can only get better for you. We benefit so much by your hands-on instructions and suggestions!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gail! Best of luck with your writing this week and in the future.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pagesvoice, thank you sir! If I had to summarize my approach, I would say I am driven. I spend a great amount of time here, to help myself and to help others. I only have a limited amount of time left on this earth and I'm trying to make my time count. :) I appreciate the kind words my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, no, I don't consider HP a content mill, although I can see how someone would think that....well, let me think about it for a second. LOL Maybe they are after all. For me they are just a stage and a community that I enjoy; as long as I don't take money seriously I can enjoy HubPages.

      Thanks my friend; I hope you are doing well this summer.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      One of your best..if there is such a thing ..they are all great...Some really good ideas for all of us..The old NIke...Just do it... I do write for a content mill and make about what you do with more hours..But I love the writing and hope it continues on. I am going to add to my (your)pinterest section and reread this again..And share on facebook.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marissa, for you it will always be free. :) Thanks young lady!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, it can only get better for all of us. I believe in you and your talents; you do the same. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, it is a tough road but one can make money for content mills...I just prefer not to do so. :) Thanks for your compliment and loyal following. I'm just tossing this stuff out there and hopefully some of you will be able to use it.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      It's true that those who are most successful in the freelance writing field are those who go out and sell their skills. Those who have trouble with this could try talking to people they already know or have worked with in the past. Amazon Affiliates is another way to bring in some cash. I have a blog that I don't even post on anymore that generates $40+ each month on Amazon. Every little bit helps!

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      These are all new information for me Bill. Thank you for sharing this information with us. In fact this is great advice and motivation for people who write for content mills. Sharing and tweeting this hub.

      Have a great day my friend. Hugs and blessings.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, most definitely every little bit helps, and the more we branch out the better our chances of making some money along the way. Thanks for mentioning Amazon Affiliates.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahlia, it's always nice to have you visit. Thank you my friend and I'm glad I was able to educate you a bit about content mills.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      As always, a super hub, Bill.

      I am learning so much I fear my brain will explode!

      Yes, I am already hearing popping noises---oh wait, that was not my brain.

      Never mind. ;-)

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, be careful and don't bend over too quickly. LOL You crack me up and I thank you for it.

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      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Bill, another great article. You make many great points my friend. I always try things once. As you, I do value my time. However, in my current situation, money is very important. I just launched my own freelance business with other writers. You dead on being "professional." If your not, you won't make it. Your right, business cards and anything else is a great way to gain local exposure. I never knew you have your own website, I will be sure to check it out. I always learn a lot from you Bill and I trust everything you say. Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. You have laid out a great path for anyone looking to be a freelance writer. As always this is great advice. I'm impressed with your real estate work and pay, that's very impressive. Thanks for the tips. Have a great week.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      As someone above said, can you please come and do my sales pitch for me? lol! sounds fantastic billy, and I am glad its worked out for you, now to put my shoes on and get out there!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I like the sweatshop photo - LOL!! Oh, wow. But seriously, a great article, as always Bill. Voted up and sharing! Cheers, Steph

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 3 years ago from Singapore

      Very inspiring with beautiful ideas. I hope you continue to succeed. I write for inspiration. Currently, my main income comes from other means like investment, renting. However, it will be interesting if I can start getting significant amount from writing as well.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers.

      If you have not yet done so, would you be willing to write a hub (or a blog article or series) on the tips and tricks you use to be consistently very prolific, with consistently high quality? Do you use voice recognition software? Which? Do you have a personal assistant to shave you and spoon feed you and tie your shoes while you keep writing nonstop? Do you have mental tricks for staying focused? Do you speed type? Do you have ways to give yourself "deadlines" even though you are your own boss? Is being free of procrastination, frittering, daydreaming, and sidetracks a divine gift? Do you use time management software or have a time management system? Do you have daily or other time unit writing goals? Do you do first drafts by longhand, by typing, by dictation, or other? Do you think as you write or have the whole work in your head before you start writing -- or other? Do ideas come to you out of the blue in a constant stream of inspiration?

      Neither content mills nor hub pages nor freelance writing nor novel writing are viable income options for me if I can't break through from low to at least moderate productivity.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lyric my friend, congratulations on your freelance business. I love hearing things like that and I wish you nothing but luck and good fortune. Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. I hope your week is a smooth one as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I know, it's easier said than done. I am a very shy human being, but I forced myself out the door and good things happened. Good luck and wear comfortable shoes.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Steph. It's always nice seeing you drop by for a visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchi, I wish you luck in all of your endeavors. Thank you for the visit my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, you had me laughing out loud with that comment. That's a classic, although I suspect there is a serious question in there as well. I'll see if I can't come up with a hub that covers all of your questions in the near future. Thanks for the laugh today my friend.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

      Content mills...they sure remind me of slavery and under paid people...unbelievable.

      I liked that you portrayed janine's hub for interested bloggers. G

      Once again a great article to keep the writers motivated!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Great job, as always Billybuc! Lots of useful info here. I haven't written much since I went back to work full time - too mentally tired for it. I miss it though. Will keep these ideas in mind for the future!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ruchira! The thing about content mills is they would not be able to get away with paying such poor prices if there were no takers willing to work for that money....again, writers only have themselves to blame for the prices paid.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      jenn-Anne, it's always a pleasure to see you. I hope work is going alright for you my friend. Thanks for thinking of me when you had the time.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Of course you knew I'd weigh in. :)

      When I wanted to kick up the writing side of my business, I did scan a few content-for-hire sites. The rates were so ridiculously low. And then it had the potential for edits. Really? If I make less than $10 for an article, edits are not included. Do not let me get me started on this soapbox.

      Here's my take on it. I might write for "free" on my own web properties or those I choose to partner with for my own advantage or purpose. But that's like working on your own house. You don't expect to be paid for the work, yet it is required. That's the investment (hosting, maintenance, content creation, etc.) in making your properties the best they can be to sell your talents to others. Imagine you have a tumbled down shack as your home. Would anyone believe it if you told them you're an interior designer? Okay, made my point.

      Here's my policy: IF I WRITE FOR FREE, IT IS FOR ME.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks. billybuc. Very inspiring. It just takes leg work and an attitude I suppose. I gotta get out there and try some of these methods! Give them content mills the boot!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, it is a policy I can respect and easily understand. To me, working for $10 for an article is the same as working for free,and I refuse to do it, edit or not edit. :) Thanks for weighing in; you never disappoint.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rebecca, you will be fine if you do the leg work. There will always be a demand for good writing. Thanks for stopping by my friend.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a useful and interesting hub, as always, Bill. Thanks for the tips.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      A useful, interesting hub. I could use this info.

    • cherihut profile image

      Cheri Hutson 3 years ago from Eastern Ohio

      Enjoyed the article. Inspired me. But... I'm still a newbie. I've only written one hub so far and it's the first article I've ever written online - ever. Obviously not making any money yet here on Hubpages. At this point I still know next to nothing about the online writing business - or any writing business. All I really know at this point is that I enjoy writing. But I'm trying to read articles like yours to try to educate myself. I may have to get in touch with you, since you freely offered help. :) Thanks for the tips.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Hope you had a lovely weekend and road trip to the mountains! Another food for thought and motivating piece from you my friend. Loved your ideas on the local businesses to contact, the local magazines, newspapers etc . . and avoiding the content mills like the plague!

      I really do love reading your work as you write from the heart and from experience, no beating around the bush or mumbo jumbo language. Thanks my friend

    • Composant profile image

      Rick Astley 3 years ago

      Awesome hub. As an aspiring writing and newbie at hubpages, I really appreciate the tips you gave. Especially when I'm currently at lost as what to do with writing online.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome suggestions and require effort to get that right. Working online is a great challenge with your ideas it makes it much simpler.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 3 years ago from New England

      Thank you for such a great article...and a reminder that we are all worth making a living doing what we love....both for paying the bills and for enjoying our lives by having fun!

      I found the gig for writing a nonfiction gardening book on growing your own fruits and berries on Craigslist. Though I love gardening, I do not consider myself an expert. To me, I wrote about the process of raising fruits and berries, and did lots of the work I wrote about, but don't have all of the answers. It was a simple how-to book, chock full of valuable information. There will always be people who know more or less than what I know, but what I put forth is simple and effective, since I practice it. I did my best to sell my book, have a web site and gardening blog (see my profile page for the addresses), and a Facebook fan page for it. Because the publisher has ended their affiliate program, I received $5 for a sale of one book online, but sold lots of copies in person. The only way I can sell the book is through my affiliate relationship with Amazon. Hope I do sell some that way.

      I've now moved on to a project that is closer to my heart, with the credit of having authored a book behind me. :0) Yes, the publisher offered me an opportunity to co-author a book and another opportunity to author a book, but since I was still recovering from the intensity of writing the first one, I declined. The process took a toll on my family life and I needed some time to breathe, first. They want warm bodies more than they like to pay well. I think the work I did for them may have amounted to about $5 an hour.....now I am working on a children's picture book to present to a publisher. ~:0)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is filled with so much helpful information. It is good to know you are doing so well, Bill. Being willing to go out and shake the bushes often opens doors that would otherwise remain closed.

      Thank you once again for sharing what you know to be suggestions that will pay off!!

      Angels are winging their way to you this morning...ps

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Again sensei you show us the path and warn us about the thorns and potholes. It is not easy for a beginning writer but with a leader like you we have a chance. Maria made an excellent point, you have moxy! Now, if some of that will rub off on us.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia and you are very welcome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks vkwok; it's always a pleasure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cherihut, welcome to HubPages and if you ever need help I hope you do ask me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, if any of this helps you then I am happy. I hope you are well and preparations for the trip are going smoothly. The mountain was lovely my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      composant, welcome to HubPages. Give it time, write some hubs and then you can figure out what to do...first things first....write!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, that is my hope, that somehow I'll make the process easier for other writers. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Seafarer, thank you for sharing your experience. I love that you are working on something now that feeds your soul. Best of luck to you my friend and thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I'm never doing as well as I think I should be doing. LOL It's my curse. :)

      Thank you my dear. Here come your hugs and blessings on this fine Tuesday morning.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I have always loved that word moxy.....now to instill it in all of you. I want you successful and reaping the harvest from your hard work.....so let's get started. :) Thank you!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      I am ashamed that many of these details and ideas I never thought of. They are simple, require nothing but a little work, some effort, and a belief that you can do it.

      Thank you. I will begin immediately.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, if this helped then fantastic...no reason to be ashamed. So much of this stuff we know, but as writers our first goal is always to write...so we forget the basic business stuff. Good luck my friend and thanks for stopping by.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Yet another article with helpful advice and mentoring. Your byline suits you Mr Holland :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Why thank you, Ms. Haven. :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I wouldn't do content mills, either. Thanks again for more ideas!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very wise, Deb! Thanks!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      So you are your own content mill, Bill. Bravo! That's a wise decision.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I don't do well with middle men or rules. LOL It only made sense for me to abolish both in this instance. :) Thanks for the visit my friend.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      Billy,

      writing job is getting competitive day by day. You create very inspiring hubs about writing as a career. For someone who writes in English as second language, writing jobs are rare, but not absent.

      I have bookmarked some of the links you have provided on this hub.

      Thank you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another wake up gem from you Billy. Your advice as always is simply reminding ourselves of things we may have forgotten or grown too relaxed over ; their importance having faded so to speak. Complacency is so easily slipped into!!This is just what this great hub is all about Billy; A good kick in the butt ;a true reminder of those important points once again .!!Voted up, across and shared my dear friend.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, I cannot imagine the difficulty of writing in another language and then trying to get jobs in that language. Best wishes to you my friend and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy my friend, often it is a reminder for me as I forget these things too. I hope some of this helps you and best wishes on your expanding career and efforts.

      love,

      billy

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I love your writing style, Bill. You present your readers with several great ideas, but you do so with a confidence and verve that compel us to hang on every word. Thank you, my friend, for presenting these options to the content mill invasion. Aloha, and have a great day in Olympia, my friend!

      Joe

      PS Went to a Walla Walla Sweets baseball game last night. They lost, 4-1, to the Cowlitz Bears, but it was great to see these college students using their summers wisely, keeping limber and in shape while entertaining the local citizens. The most exciting part of the game was the huge thunderstorm that swept over the stadium. Lightning flashed everywhere, and Rita, our friend, Diane, and I climbed up a metal rung to reach some cover at the top of the bleachers. The game was delayed a good half hour, and afterwards, I was delighted to see a star or two in the sky. Today, it's back to being super hot as I write this in a SBUX shop. TTYL, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, that would have been a site to see, and what a great way to spend a summer evening.

      I was thinking about you yesterday, and how we should name a day and meet halfway for lunch...our wives....the four of us soaking up some friendship....then I was thinking that I don't know where halfway is, and then I got a headache from thinking so much....but give it some thought and maybe one day we can do that, my friend.

      Aloha

      bill

    • Sandra Harriette profile image

      Sandra 3 years ago from Maryland

      You took the words from my mouth. I am grateful for Textbroker but also discouraged by them at the exact same time.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, thanks for the follow. The content mills serve a purpose for those who need money, and it is a way to build a portfolio at first, but the money is outrageous and no longer worth my efforts. :) Good luck to you.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      While I don't have as many local opportunities as you have, there are some. I need to check them out!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Actually, Vicki, the smaller the town you live in the better.....start small, get some credits, and then move up the food chain to the larger cities in your state. Good luck and thank you for the visit.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful information, Bill and glad you make it a point to share such info with those who need them. Voted up and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! Just trying to share whatever I know with a community I care about very much.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 3 years ago

      Thanks Bill, for packing this hub with vital and useful info. You are certainly inspiration and motivating to move forward in the writing world. How long has it taken you to build your writing business to $1,000 month and establish yourself as a professional in your area?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      toknowinfo, how long? About a year to reach the level of income and time invested....I could make more if I was willing to work more than three hours on the income stuff, but I'm not. I'm after bigger fish. :) I was somewhat lucky in that I was making $500 a month after about three months; that's a bit unusual but I just happened to apply for a couple good jobs and got them, and those customers have been with me now for two years.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 3 years ago

      Thanks Bill for the sharing. You certainly are an inspiration and a great role model.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      toknowinfo, I'm glad to be of assistance. Thank you and I hope your Sunday is a bright one.

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 3 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Hi Bill,

      I know you're an extremely busy man and I appreciate any advice you can offer. I'm not a writer in the technical or formal sense. When you can, I'd be honored if you read some of my hubs and gave me an idea on how to improve. I know I wont get rich overnight, but a nice healthy income would be great. Thank you, sir.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Man, I will be happy to stop by and take a look. Let me take care of a customer and then I'll be there...and thank you.

    • Sandra Harriette profile image

      Sandra 3 years ago from Maryland

      Hey Bill, thanks for the words. I hear you. I was getting eager when I realized that some clients have been reselling my articles for profit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, I feel your pain....and the sad thing is there really is no stopping it. We can slow that type of activity down, and report it, but it just keeps happening.

      Best wishes to you

      bill

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Another really useful hub. Love that you write real estate descriptions! I think people tend to forget that those things that we read everyday need to be written by someone. Like I said in a previous comment, starting locally is a great way to start. Another places that always needs help with writing is a church. Often they have extremely limited funds, but if you do a good job, there are lots of connections within a church that can be links to other jobs.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, great suggestion about the church, one I had not thought of. Thank you my friend and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

    • profile image

      hattersmen 3 years ago

      Great article Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you hattersmen!

    • Nicholas Pollock profile image

      Nicholas Pollock 2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thanks for the warning about the content mills. I am new and I am nervous, so they might have sucked me in.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nicholas, they suck us all in at first. If you can avoid them, all the better. Thanks for the comment.

    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 2 years ago

      Great advice! I also try to stay away from content mills. The worse is they leave you with no time to write for professional publications, but the fear of rejection often makes us turn to them at first.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bessie, and you are right in both of your observations.

    • profile image

      Jyedd054 2 years ago

      Cool post

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jyedd054. I appreciate it.

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      Missy 17 months ago from The Midwest

      I love the quote at the beginning. I've made it my goal for 2016 to get away from all of the content mills but one, and that's because I genuinely enjoy working there. I have several local clients, but I'd also like to write for magazines and finish my book.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mommy, I wish you well with your 2016 goal. I still work for one content mill for exactly that reason. It's enjoyable, the pay isn't that bad and I know the job so well that it is easy...nothing wrong with that at all.

      Thank you and good luck with that book.

    • ThatMommyBlogger profile image

      Missy 17 months ago from The Midwest

      You're welcome, and thanks. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha!

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