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Quit Your Day Job and Make Money Writing
The Soul-Sucking Cubicle Job
A year ago, I decided to end my two-year stint as a "Warehouse Lending Specialist." Don't be fooled by the fancy title- it was a boring cubicle job in the mortgage industry with a boss who didn't know the first thing about the business. I had to train my boss and carry the brunt of the workload in our small, three-person department. Because I was working for a small community bank, there were no raises. So, it was time for me to start something new. That's when my best friend recommended I start freelance writing online. At first, I brushed the idea off, thinking I was not cut out to be a writer. When I had no luck finding another job that wouldn't put me in a cubicle, I decided to explore the world of freelance writing.
I started out my online writing career with Textbroker.com. The application process to be a writer there was much less daunting than another site my friend had recommended to me.
The first thing you'll have to do to get started on Textbroker is submit a writing sample. An editor will evaluate your sample and get back to you (usually within a day or so) with your star rating. Writers on Textbroker are given rankings between 2 and 5 stars. 2 and 3 star writers don't get paid very well and the writing assignments are taken quickly, probably due to the high number of writers in this category. Textbroker is very picky about the use of commas. Triple check your commas before submitting your writing sample because this is the difference between a 3 and 4 star writer!
A bank of open writing assignments (see photo below) will appear once you get all set up and logged in. The categories, length and number assignments change almost constantly. What's really fun about using sites like Textbroker is that you have complete control over what you want to write and when you want to write!
When you click on an assignment, the instructions and the length of time given to complete the assignment will appear. On Textbroker, you can cancel an assignment at any time before the deadline if you decide you don't want to write it.
I was nervous about writing my first article, but, as it turns out, I had grossly underestimated my writing abilities. As long as you follow the parameters given in the instructions, write clearly, do any research needed and proofread your article, you'll get excellent results!
The thing to note about Textbroker is the initial ranking period. Once you write and submit your first five articles, they will place a hold on your account until an editor can review your work to make sure you're writing at the correct star rating. This shouldn't take longer than two weeks, and if it does, just short an email to Textbroker. They are really great about getting back to writers.
Textbroker pays via PayPal. If you don't have a PayPal account, set one up. You'll need one for other online writing ventures too! You can request pay-offs from Textbroker on a weekly basis, which is nice. As long as your account balance is more than $10, you can go to the "Pay-Off" tab under "Account" and click "Request Payoff." Pay-offs are paid on Friday so you must request them by Thursday.
Textbroker vs. WriterAccess
There are pros and cons to both sites so I recommend using both. The pay on Textbroker is much lower than WriterAccess with a range of less than 1 cent per word to 1.4 cents per word. You will make more on WriterAccess even if you're only a level 2 writer. Textbroker, however, always has assignments. WriterAccess is a lot more competitive so assignments disappear almost as soon as they are posted. If you're using both sites, you can take the high-paying WriterAccess assignments when they are available, and you can use Textbroker to fill in the gaps when WriterAccess is running dry.
WriterAccess For Better Pay!
While Textbroker is an excellent way to get your feet wet in the online freelance writing world, you'll want to check out WriterAccess because the pay per word is significantly better. The application process is a little more involved, but you will have to submit an initial writing sample just like you do with Textbroker. Once that's rated, you'll be given a link to take a grammar quiz. Take special care with the quiz because your ranking will depend on how well you do. Set aside a short block of time (maybe 30 minutes or so) where you won't be interrupted. You'll get the results of the quiz immediately because the questions are all multiple choice. After this, WriterAccess will ask you complete and submit your profile for review. You will need to pick at least three "industries" in which you are an expert. Now, that sounds intimidating, but it's really not. Think about past jobs you've held or what you've studied in school. That suffices of this portion of the application process.
After you submit you profile for review, you'll be given a ranking from 2 to 6. Pay rates depend your ranking level as follows:
Level 2 orders pay at least 1.4 cents per word
Level 3 orders pay at least 2.8 cents per word
Level 4 orders pay at least 4.2 cents per word
Level 5 orders pay at least 5.6 cents per word
Level 6 orders pay at least 7.0 cents per word
So be sure to take care and do your best with your quiz and writing sample! Once you're all approved and have your rating, you can begin taking open assignments. Assignments are taken very quickly on WriterAccess so you may have to keep refreshing the content order page until you find something.
If you take an assignment on WriterAccess, you have one hour to decide if you want to write it. If you unreserve the order after the one-hour grace period, you will face a penalty.
Pay on WriterAccess is also done through PayPal. They pay you automatically twice a month as long as you have more than $10 built up in your account. No action is required on your part.
Once you start freelance writing, you'll realize that you want to write things that you're interested in- not just what's on an online assignment. This is where HubPages comes in. You can write about whatever you like and get paid! HubPages uses Google AdSense and you can make a small fee for each time someone clicks on an ad in your hub. Signing up Google AdSense can take a bit of time, but it's worth it in the long run. HubPages recommends that you write at least 10 high-quality hubs before applying, but, for me, I didn't get approved until I reached 20. Google will tell you that you have "insufficient content" after you apply, but you can apply as many times as you like. Just keep adding good hubs until you're approved!
The great thing about using HubPages and Google Adsense is your income will eventually become passive. If your hubs are really good and show up in search results which generates a lot of traffic, you'll be making money on the same hub for a long time. You can use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your hubs and generate more traffic.
HubPages also uses Amazon and eBay affiliate programs. When you're writing a hub, you have the option of adding an Amazon or eBay capsule. In the capsule you can select a product from either of these sites that fits with your hub. If you have the Amazon and eBay earnings program configured, you will get paid a commission each time someone buys the product from the capsule link. In your HubPages account, go to "My Earning" and "Settings" to configure Google AdSense, Amazon and eBay earnings programs.
It can take some time to get these up and running so keep that in mind.
Write a Book! (It's Easier Than it Sounds!)
The world of book publishing has changed dramatically over the last few years. Anyone (you included) can self-publish now. The release of the Kindle has completely changed publishing and has made it so that people like you and me, who never thought book writing was in the realm of possibilities, can publish a short ebook and make decent royalties. Amazon pays authors in two different royalty brackets: 35% and 70% depending on how you price your book. If the book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, you'll make a 70% royalty on each book that is purchased. There are literally millions of people purchasing books on Kindle all the time.
The book Crush It With Kindle by John Tighe is an excellent resource if you would like to explore the idea of making money with Kindle publishing. He talks about absolutely everything you need to know to get started with writing, editing, formatting, choosing pricing, and promoting your book so you can make real sales. I didn't think I could write a book until I read his book. The ideas are exciting and will get you motivated to start working on a story or novel! Downloading the Kindle version of his book is cheap at $2.99 and you don't have to own a Kindle to download it. Kindle has free apps to work on any device including your computer, iPad or even your phone. This is also why publishing a book on Kindle is a great idea- everyone has access to it even if they don't own a Kindle!
When Should You Start Your New Writing Career?
Don't quit your day job just yet. I made the mistake of quitting mine a bit too hastily and it resulted in about two months of me not having any real income. It takes about a month or so to get Textbroker and WriterAccess up and running. Plus it may take some time for you to get comfortable with the whole freelance writing system. I was nervous and sometimes hesitant to take certain assignments in the beginning. It can take a little time to find your freelancing "groove." Sign up and try these out while you're still working your normal job. Use your evenings or weekends to take an assignment here or there and find out if it's for you. Don't quit, even if it seems daunting. It gets easier after your first 10-15 articles.
Get your HubPages up and running well before you aim to quit your day job. Remember, HubPages should be looked at as something supplemental to freelancing and book publishing. It's a fun way to write shorter, more fun articles of your choosing and get a few bucks doing it. Because it takes some time to get approved for Google AdSense and figure out how the whole thing works, start at least three or four months before you plan to leave your job.
If your plan is to write ebooks on Kindle, you'll want to get one written and published before you even think of quitting your job. Your ebook will earn a lot more if you use the advice in Crush It With Kindle to promote and adversities your book and you may want to spend a little money for your book promotion.
Writing Isn't For Everyone
Writing isn't for everyone. If you hate writing, don't try to go this route. Writing is time consuming and takes a lot of dedication and self-discipline. If you are a person who loves to write, this is a really good way to see if you can turn it into a career. You have to really commit to this plan if you want to make enough money to live off of, so don't be too hasty to leave your job until you've gotten the ball rolling and are comfortable with it. For some, these tips may just be a great way to earn supplemental income or to change to a lower-paying job that is more enjoyable.