Okay - I got a LOT of emails regarding the previous two posts. (yes, there's an email link in the column below my bio) and a few comments too. The vast majority of those emails were from people kind enough to thank me for trying to help.
However, most of them also said that they didn't feel as though they were good enough writers to aim for the bigger markets, so they'll stay in the penny-paying ranges until they improve.
So here are some suggestions for starting out small with freelance writing to improve your skills, but still earning more than a pathetic $1.50 per 1000 page views or a useless $2 an article.
All of the options below require no training, no experience and at least a 9th grade level of English understanding.
Paid Forum Posting
This is not high paying - generally around 20 cents per post. If you type quickly and you get a topic you enjoy it's easy to earn between $80-$100 a month with very little effort.
The companies for which you sign up are like middle-men. Their clients want quality posters to join their forums. The company you're with monitors and tracks the posts you make on client's sites. When you're done, they pay you.
There's a link to several paid forum posting companies here:
Paid Forum Posting Jobs
This site is one of the better options for writing your own articles in your own way. You write an article on any topic you want. Always be sure to make it informational and helpful. Never write in essay style (i.e. "I do things this way") - rather in teaching style (i.e. you should try something like this).
You have the freedom to set your own prices for your articles. If you enter $10 as your article price, then Constant-Content take 35% fee. Yes, that's huge - so put your price up to $15 and you'll get your $10 per article once the fee is taken off. Of course, I recommend you set your prices to a decent amount to ensure you're really earning what your time is worth.
They have a marketplace too. You can find it under 'Requested Content' in the left hand column. This tells you what kind of articles customers want to buy. They pay between $20 and $150 per article.
Find out about
Constant Content here.
Content Creation Sites
There are so many of these around right now that it's getting scary. Most offer peanuts for your hard work, so I made a list of some that pay a little better (generally around $10 per article).
You can find that list, along with some tips on avoiding low paying freelance writing jobs here
Paying Article Markets
A very low paying market, but definitely higher than the revenue-share site slave-labor wages!
You can learn a bit more about paid reviews here:
This option isn't for everyone, but it is possible to get paid for blogging. Some companies will pay for you to write on your own blog. Others may pay to guest-blog on their sites and create more content for them.
So... now you have some tools designed to get you into the 'paid freelance writer' ranks. They won't make you rich and they probably won't be enough to make you a full-time income - but they'll definitely hone your skills and teach you a bit about running a freelance business.
When you're ready to break away from the low paying ranks, you know there are posts right here offering more tools to help you jump to the next level.