Freelance Writing: The Best Places to Make Money Online
For many people, one of the hardest parts of beginning a freelance writing career is finding work. This is especially true to those who have little experience writing professionally. Some people like me start working from the very bottom up with high client expectations for very little pay. Others have better luck finding reputable private clients. I intend this as a good starting point for any writer wanting to kick-start their online freelancing portfolio.
This list of companies are all places I worked for at some point in my freelance writing career. I've chosen my favorites that suit both new and seasoned writers alike.I made it a point to choose companies that are usually accepting new writers, so many of them are not private clients.
I promise to grow the list slowly as I look through my favorite clients list. :)
This Walt Disney Corporation owned company is a great place for anyone who wants to talk about all things family. I recommend it first when suggesting online magazine jobs. Their guidelines are clearly stated on their website and are pretty easy to follow. The pay is good and they have a pretty impressive readership, so it is a good choice for anyone who wants to get their name out there.
They do take a while to get back to you, and if they don't accept your work you won't ever hear back from them. You also need to be sure your work is perfectly edited and already fits their own style guidelines, so make sure you read through a lot of their previously published articles before starting your article.
Some people might write off a place like this as just another content mill, but it is so much more than that. Yes, anyone can sign up for an account, but you are not automatically allowed to accept jobs. Instead, you must apply for a specialty with a relevant writing sample which is then scored on flow, reader engagement, clarity and voice.
If you are accepted, you may see if there are any open jobs available in your category. More often than not, articles are categorized under two specialties, and you must be approved in both to be able to accept the job. Other times, clients request certain writers, or writers with a specific amount of experience with the company. The best way to start working is to submit a pitch to a client. Sometimes the editors will approach you with certain topics if they feel it would be suited to your experience and expertise. Be careful though, clients here tend to have very specific guidelines that you must follow exactly if you do not want any revisions.
All the trouble to getting a job is worth it. Some work pays around $5 for a 70 word product or place description, and some pay even more, depending on the subject. If a client likes your work, he may even pay more for your work. This site should be at the top of the list for any new writers.
This is hands-down my favorite freelance writing site. Like a few other places, it may be mistaken for a content mill, but it is so far from that. Like with other sites, anyone can sign up, but you have to apply to a program for whom to write.
Each program is basically a different major client company. The program list includes several nationally known companies such as Pampers, Angie's List, What to Expect - Word of Mom, Everyday Health, Lowes and Bounty among others. The staff are all friendly and work hard with their writers to produce quality content. They provide monthly workshops and occasional webinars with other well-known freelancers. This may be a good job for an article writer who can write knowledgeably on several topics.
The pay rate varies per program. Some are residual income only, while others pay as much as $60 or more per article. One program even offers $200 per article, but you have to be well versed in science for that particular program. Programs range from family-orientated to beauty to technology and science. Each program requires very specific content standards and minimum article requirements. One downfall is that most programs have a very long review time, with some programs taking as long as two month to approve an article. This is because it is reviewed by a content editor, your program manager, and then the client. At least they pay twice a month. My best advice: write as many articles as you can so that your long queue of work can become a good source of backup money if you find you ever need it. I usually get anywhere between $70 and $300 per pay period.
Elance, ODesk and Freelancer
Ahhh, the bidding sites. Loved by some, hated by others - and for good reason. These sites are very competitive and many clients are willing to accept low quality work in exchange for incredibly low pay. I know people who were asked to do 16 600 word articles for a mere $32 or a 60,000 word eBook for $25. The sad part is that some poor soul somewhere probably accepted these offers.
On the bright side, you can find some really great work on these sites. There are a few clients who understand that good work costs more and are willing to pay up for it too. Many of these clients often end up as long-term private clients. In fact, I know a fair few who make their living entirely from their private clients found on these sites. I, personally, have had three clients become private clients for a few months. Once you establish a good relationship with a few clients, you can easily earn a good income with them. These are sites everyone should definitely check out and try. You may just get lucky. Just be careful to not lower yourself to accepting practically no pay for your hard work!
I've been debating for days whether or not I should include this company on my list. They've undergone some major changes since I last submitted any work for them, and I don't know if they have made the most important change they need yet.
For all intents and purposes, they are a content mill. They are what I like to call the newer generation of content mill which means they are a lot more friendly to their writers and are quick to weed out any low-quality writers. The last time I wrote for them, however, they did not have any real editors and writers had work sent back to them for very minor changes that an editor would normally fix on their own. Who edited the work? Senior writers that have been with the company and submitted consistently high-quality work. This is something that needed fixing right away, and I hope they have done it. Nothing more tedious than having your work sent back to you so you can add a comma here or capitalize that word.
Articles are usually technical or academic writing, so it is perfect for anyone with any writing specialties. The pay is decent and money is sent to you weekly. Similar to that of a regular content mill. You get a small base pay for a certain word count and a bonus if the work is submitted before the due date. The clients also have an option to give you another bonus if the work is to their liking. Clients also rate your work openly on a five star scale which may determine your eligibility for certain work and higher pay.
The Daily Muse
Okay, I am not going to lie to you - I never actually wrote for this online magazine. Yet. I've been reading their articles for a while now and I know some of the writers who are published there and they love it. I plan on submitting a proposal to them once I can think of an idea that will really wow them. I think you should do the same. They have a pretty impressive readership with a lot of social media loyalty from their readers, so any writer would be lucky to have an article published there.
If you've had work published here before, please tell me your thoughts!
I believe freelance writers should all help one another and build a strong community among us. Tell me about your favorite places to write online. What were you best and worst experiences? How did you begin your adventures of online writing and why?