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Your guide to finding work online

You’d think that the internet was a great place to find work. And it is, if you know what you’re doing! You do have to exercise caution though, as there are lots of places where you could end up being paid peanuts for your work or, even worse, get scammed! So, how do you find work online? Follow our handy guide and you’ll not go far wrong.

First, let’s look at the different kinds of sites you’ll come across to find freelance writing work. They generally fall into two categories:

  • Sites where employers submit their job requests – these are the most common sites you’ll see. A variety of people, organisations and publications will submit their job requests. They’ll usually give details of the length of writing they require and what they are prepared to pay for it. However, they sometimes invite bids too. It’s basically an auction and you are trying to win the work.

  • Sites where you submit your work for evaluation – you could be asked to submit work on a particular theme or on subjects of your own choice. Once your writing has been accepted you sit back and wait for the work to be sold. It’s usually bought by companies looking for content for their own websites or other publications. But it could also be published on websites that use it to attract traffic, which in turn attracts advertising enabling them to make money.

 

The first stage of any process online these days seems to be filling in a profile. This is essential if you want potential employers to know what writing you’ve done in the past and your style; so you should try to make sure it’s as comprehensive as possible. Remember, this is all they’ll have to go on when trying to choose a writer for their job. There may be the temptation to enhance your qualifications and experience on your profile – don’t do it! Be honest about your skills or you run the risk of wasting your time and theirs.

On the other hand, if you have some super publishing successes under your belt, you should really brag about it. Don’t shy away from selling yourself – you really need to stand out from the crowd on sites like these as there could be thousands of others competing for the work.

You will almost certainly have the chance to upload a photo of yourself, as well as links to your published work or your own blog or website, and you should definitely use these to your advantage.

You’ll probably also be asked to complete ‘tests’ that prove your proficiency at grammar, spelling and the like. Do take them and try to do as well as you can as this can boost your profile and may even get you a rating, like ‘Grammar Expert’, on your profile. If you don’t do so well the first time, there’s often the chance to take the test again after a certain amount of time has passed, so brush up on your skills and try again. There’s usually the option to keep your results private too, so you can wait until you have a great score and then make the results public.

The pay for work on these sites can be paltry. It’s not unheard of for employers, and I use that word loosely here, to offer the miniscule amount of $100 for 50 articles of 3-500 words! That’s not per article, it’s for all 50 of them. You can work out what that is per word, but you can see pretty quickly that it’s not very much! Whether you choose to take that kind of deal is up to you, but I’d advise you don’t. If the employer wants a professional to write for them, they must be willing to pay professional rates for the work.

Unfortunately, most of these websites are crammed with ‘writers’ from all over the world, often many come from America and India where it seems freelance writers are willing to accept much less for their writing. This is a real shame, as it drives down the fees employers are willing to pay for the rest of us. After all, why would you pay a writer 50p per word if you get someone willing to do it for 12p?

It may seem like these sites are a waste of time, but there are some upsides. If you get work from an employer and you do a great job, they’re much more likely to use you again in the future.

Plus, it puts some ‘earnings’ on your profile page, which shows other potential employers that you are competent and reliable. This can lead to other work coming your way.

So, what are the best sites to subscribe to? The ones in the list below are the best and most popular ones around at the moment, but do search regularly as new ones could pop up at any time:

www.elance.com
www.odesk.com
www.contentauthority.com
www.guru.com
www.helium.com
www.constantcontent.com

Oh and one last thing – make sure you read through all the terms and conditions and if there are any tutorials read those too. It may seem like a pain, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

If you’d like more information about becoming a freelance writer, request free details about our Comprehensive Creative Writing course.

 

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Sarah Plater Writers Bureau's Writer of the Year 2017

“I’m currently working on my fourth book, have been paid for my writing by at least 15 different magazines, and now earn half my income from writing – all thanks to The Writers Bureau’s course."

Sarah Plater - Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2017

Read Sarah's full story.

 
Association of British Correspondence Colleges
British Institute for Learning and Development

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