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Finding Online Freelance Writing Jobs Without Content Mills

Updated on March 16, 2012

Online freelance writing jobs continue to grow in spite of economic conditions around the world. The Internet provides a means for new aspiring writers from all genres to get paid for their words. Magazines, newspapers and publishing houses are now only an email away. Content sites, bloggers, websites and other private clients also post ads on free job boards offering online freelance writing jobs.

Dwindling Online Freelance Writing Jobs at Content Mills

One of the first places many new writers land work is at up-front pay content mill sites. At least that is where many started until late 2011 when Google waged war against thin content and mass-produced content. Many sites fell victim to the ongoing algorithm changes. Some up-front pay content mills are no longer accepting writers or have simply closed their doors. There are a couple of content mills attempting to restructure their business model. Unfortunately these are the same content mills that are keeping scores of freelancer on a yo-yo without any work. This is why serious freelance writers need to find freelance writing gigs with private clients, websites and blogs.

Where To Find Online Freelance Writing Jobs

Freelance writing is a wide open market. Some of the best paying writing jobs are with online and offline magazines. Of course this requires marketing on the writer's part as well as querying the editors with story ideas. Highly lucrative, but it takes some time to begin seeing income rolling in on a regular basis.

Many writers turn to free job boards to find clients and freelance writing jobs that although not the most lucrative, put money in the bank account to pay bills. Just do a simple search for “freelance writing gigs” and you will get scores of results from blogs and websites who aggregate freelance job listings from around the Internet.

Some writers also use bidding sites to find writing work. This is a little more difficult to get started as many of the people looking for writers often do not want to pay what you are worth. However, there are plenty of writers who do make a full-time income at bidding sites, mainly due to their reputation and networking.

Distinguishing Scams From Legitimate Online Freelance Writing Jobs

While most free ad boards allow the opportunity to find hundreds of freelance writing gigs, they also provide an avenue for scam artists who only want free content or your email address. It used to be easy to distinguish between scams and legitimate opportunities, however the scammers are getting better at disguising their ads. There are some signs to look for though that will help you eliminate most of the scammers from job search.

  • Detailed Job Description – Most legitimate companies and individuals will provide details of the writing job when posting. This saves them time by eliminating some of the unqualified applicants. Scammers on the other hand are going to give short descriptions, because they know there are writers out there hungry for work.
  • Asks For Free Samples – Scammer ads will often ask for a sample article on a subject or keyword. Legitimate ads will ask for samples, but are looking for previously published work or samples that you have on hand. Afterall the reason for the sample is to know how well you write and is a reflection of your writing style.
  • Look For Pay Rates – While many people do not post pay rates for a variety of reasons, some words to look out for are “internship” and “commission” as well as outrageous offers of $5 per word for an entry level position.

Above all sometimes you just have to go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right, don't answer the ad. There are plenty of online freelance writing job opportunities available. There really is no lack of work. It does take some time though to sort through ads and it also takes time for real clients to get back to you. Don't be discouraged. Continually look for freelance writing work and provide your customers with your best writing. You'll soon find yourself working less and making more. Afterall, that's why you wanted to become a freelance writer in the first place.


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    • audaciousangel profile image

      audaciousangel 5 years ago from Greater Manchester

      True. I am always offering to write a free sample article to prove my worth, and I've noticed one such advertisement is linking everywhere asking writers to contact them to write a sample article. Well the scammers are not having my free article, without even a thanks (plus it was 1000 words), because I published it straight onto HubPages. Great hub, thanks.

    • kenwrites profile image

      Ken Crawford 5 years ago from Yreka, California

      Hi cardelean,

      I think if I had my preference between Elance and Odesk, I would lean toward Elance. Although both sites are brimming with people who want cheap content ($1-$2 for 500 words) there seem to be more legitimate offers on Elance. Although you do have to search for awhile to find them. I left the brick and mortar world in 2009. I was fortunate that the content mills were still taking on writers in droves. It's a different landscape now. However, the opportunities are endless. I have to chuckle a bit when folks say, there is no work or there isn't enough. I go through 500+ job ads twice a day and find at least 15 - 20 good short and long-term opportunities. Freelance writing is truly recession proof. Just keep being consistent and keep writing. I love your Hubs.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      This was really a helpful article for me. I have been strictly writing on Hubpages to "get my feet wet" along with working on some children's stories. However I am looking to broaden my writing opportunities so that in about 5 years I can do this full time and quit my current job. I've looked into elance. Ever tried them and if so, what are your thoughts? Definitely bookmarking this one.

    • kenwrites profile image

      Ken Crawford 5 years ago from Yreka, California

      Hi susannah42,

      There are plenty of opportunities around. Online writing is one of the few truly recession proof businesses left.

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for this advice. My sister is looking for an online writing job. I will show her this hub.