However if you're an international writer there are ways around this rule legally and easily. I am in Australia - so that means I'm definitely not American. But I do speak English as my first language and we're taught UK-English in school, so this means I can comfortably write either US-English or UK-English articles. There are significant differences in spelling and grammar usage between the two. Knowing both is a huge advantage.
I take my freelance business very seriously and the majority of my income comes from international sources (US, UK or Europe) so I did the right thing and applied for an ITIN in America. This means I've been allocated a tax identification number with the American IRS for tax purposes, which means I am able to work for US-based writing companies that insist on an American social security number or tax identification number in order to receive payment.
It's painful for me at tax time that I have several countries vying to charge me the most possible amounts of tax, but when all is said and done, I'm an Australian citizen running a freelance writing business using an Australian Business Number (ABN) and our dear Australian Taxation Office has first rights to charge me a ridiculously high amount of tax first and before anyone else.
It's also worth noting that Australians earn 1.49 times whatever the US rate is shown, so whatever might look like low paying markets to a US writer means much higher rates for an international writer, so this can be to your advantage. (e.g. $10.00 US per article means $14.90 per article for me).
This doesn't mean you need to be Australian to make the lower paying markets work for you. It simply means that knowing a little about how the currency exchange rates can work for you means you have the potential to increase your writing income quite a lot.
For example: if you're in the USA and you write for a UK writing site, then if you earn £10 this translates to $14.30 US (rates subject to change - check your current exchange rates on www.xe.com).
So if ever you catch yourself thinking that there's no way an international writer can compete in a US-based writing niche, think again. There's always a way to accomplish anything you need.
I joined up and was immediately issued a 'rating 3'. Apparently everyone begins at rating 3 until they've written a few articles for clients to prove their writing level. Once you've had your articles rated by the clients and checked by TextBroker's staff, you could either be moved up to a rating of 4 or 5 stars or down to a rating of 2 stars - or you might stay where you are at 3 stars.
TextBroker's Payment is based on your rating and your rating is based on your performance. Payment is via PayPal once a month.
At 2 stars rating pay is 0.7 cent per word
At 3 stars rating pay is 1 cent per word
At 4 stars rating pay is 1.5 cents per word
At 5 stars rating pay is 5 cents per word
TextBroker will only accept applications from US writers. So if you're in the US, then maybe TextBroker might be an option for you to increase your freelance writing income.
(p.s. my next blog post will explain how an Australian writer gets to write for US-only markets legally...)
Delegate2 is an upfront paying article site. The pay isn't huge - but it's not bad at all for the short word counts they're asking for. Pay rate begins at $3 per 250 word article and goes up from there depending on your assignment and word counts. At the speed at which I type, I can squeeze out 6 of these little short pieces in an hour (hmmm.... that's $27.69 per hour in Aussie dollars). At the end of a hard day after dealing with your other higher writing markets, perhaps dedicating an hour on these little shorties will help top up your income? It all adds up.
Delegate2 is based in the UK, so if you're an international writer (like me), they won't insist you have to be an American in order to join. You simply fill out the application form on the site and they'll email you a VERY large writer's welcome pack.
The reason behind the VERY large writer's welcome pack is partly their way of making sure you're able to follow instructions, but also to show you precisely how they expect their writers to work, when they expect you to send in your invoice for payment etc.
While it's not great money, it's not bad for such quick easy work.
I received a comment on a previous post where I listed some paid forum posting sites. The commenter said the following:
Sorry to say, but I think the list has been made for professionals.. I looked into every site and found all unsuitable for me. I sent in couple of applications and even completed 7 posts in proving grounds in paidforumposting but what now ? You should try to put up sites where we register and then start posting immediately and earn.. Why do I have to prove myself that I am worthy or not ?
Hmmm... Why do you have to prove if you're worthy or not in order to get paid by a professional company, I wonder?
I suppose if I listed some sites that are willing to pay you good money for doing nothing at all, you'd be happier with that option?
Okay. You got it.
Yes, they do exist.
Join up with Bubblews. You can write anything you want, as long as your post is at least 400 characters long (that's about 100 words). You get paid per page view, and paid per 'Like' you receive, and paid per comment your post receives, plus you get paid per social media share your post receives. You can be an international writer. You can write about your day, or about your hair style, or about your dog, or about picking your nose. You'll earn money if people read your stuff. Make connections and go comment on other people's postsYou don't have to prove yourself and you can ask for payment through Paypal as soon as your account reaches $25.
You can also sign up with MyLot. You'll find the point of this site is supposed to be networking and socializing. If this kind of thing sounds like something you'd prefer instead of actually working as a professional freelance writer, then go right ahead and join MyLot. (yes I have a profile there - no I don't earn money there. You'll find me there actively trying to help writers ...).
If you like music, sign up with Slice The Pie. They ask you to listen to new music released by artists all over the world and give your opinion. After about 90 seconds, the rating scale opens up. Give the song a score between 1 and 10 and write your opinion of what you thought about the song. You get paid. Too easy.
You could also try Xomba. Write short blurbs or bookmarks or whatever you want really. While this site doesn't pay you for page views, it will pay you 50% of any Adsense revenue you generate by posting on their pages. They offer lots of tips and tricks to increase your page views, so give Xomba a try if you're looking for a way to earn a bit extra.
So if you don't want to take freelance writing seriously as a professional vocation and you just want to earn a bit of extra cash, go and hang out on these sites. Have fun. Chat. Your work won't be edited and you won't be asked to 'prove that you're worthy'.
I hope this helps.
It's just too hot to write today. It's 45 degrees Celsius outside right now and it's only lunchtime. I think that's around 115 Fahrenheit. Our weather forecast says the temperatures will remain like this for at least another week.
While I enjoy the heat and I love summer - it makes it really hard to focus on writing anything coherent. I want to laze in the pool (by the shady end under a tree of course). I want to read a book in front of the air conditioning vent where it's cool. These thoughts are way more inviting than sitting in my office typing right now.
I'm supposed to be writing a feature article for a new investment magazine that was released in Australia 6 months ago. My deadline is Friday afternoon but I keep getting distracted by ways to keep cool. I've been on the phone interviewing one of our city's bigger investors for an hour and now I have two days worth of checking numbers and figures and return-on-investment and loan to value ratios and ... the shady-end of the pool is beckoning again.
I think when the sun goes down at 9pm tonight I'll plant another big palm and create another shady area at the other end of the pool so I can laze more often. Or perhaps I can create a little pergola area over one end?
Aarrgh. I'm procrastinating again. So how do I stay motivated at times like these? Deep down I know this one single article is worth a fortnight's wages into my freelance business. I have to get it written and submitted by Friday - but the pool is way more interesting. So how do I force myself to sit here and write what needs to get written?
The answer is - I don't. I'll write it tonight when it's cooler. Right now I'm going swimming. I'll run through the blistering sunny part of the yard down to the shady spot at the end of the pool and dive in to that cool, clear water. When the shade starts to disappear, I'll come back inside and try again.
You gotta love being self-employed at times like this!
I'm going to bring back Mr. Writer to illustrate how the scam works.
The scam is simple:
Mr. Writer sees a fabulous opportunity listed on Craigslist or on Guru or some other freelance job site. The opportunity always promises that there will be lots of work available for the right writer and always promises decent (if a little low) pay.
The person who listed the opportunity will explain what keywords he/she needs to focus on and then asks any writers wishing to apply to send in 15 sample-articles on those keywords displaying their best work. Of course these sample-articles have to be in great English, approximately 450-500 words and optimized for the keywords specified.
Mr. Writer promptly submits 15 brand new, unique articles and double checks that he's read the guidelines properly. He spends a lot of time getting his application worded correctly so that the client can see he's the best writer for the job.
A week passes...
There's no word about Mr. Writer's application from the person who posted the job. Mr. Writer thinks the poor guy must have been swamped with applications and he's just reading through them all. So he waits a while longer.
Another week passes...
There's still no word from the person who posted the job listing and Mr. Writer is getting worried now that maybe he wasn't successful in getting the position. He opens a new email, intending to create a carefully worded query as to the status of his application when he receives a new email in his inbox.
"Dear Mr. Writer,
We regret to inform you that your articles have been rejected for various reasons. We thank you for your submission, but must unfortunately decline your application at this time.
Mr. I.M. Scam-Master
p.s. if you want to send a new set of 15 sample-articles on these new keywords that I've included below, you may re-submit your application and try again."
:::shaking head in disgust:::
Are you seeing what I'm seeing?
The job listing never existed. Mr. I.M. Scam-Master got 15 unique articles based on the keywords he wanted and then didn't pay for them. Not only has this guy just gotten away with theft, but the job "offer" was worded in such a way that you can't even go after him to get fair compensation for your work.
This is because you voluntarily handed him 15 articles.
Do a search on any plagiarism website for portions of your own text. I'll bet you find several variations of it after Mr. I.M. Scam-Master has blasted your original article through one of those article spinning software things 20 times.
So... the moral of this story is:
Learn to spot a scam at 15 paces. Then run fast in the other direction.
When you stop running from the scam, pause long enough to tell as many writers as you can possibly find to avoid "job-listing" scams like this.
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.
But it can be done. It's easier than you think and I'm going to prove it.
You see, I needed to write about escaping the $2 an article ranks to get you interested in looking for higher paying work. I needed to blog about figuring out how much you need in income each week. Usually that process makes people realize their current writing actions aren't going to cut it when it comes to earning a real income.
By now you're probably frustrated and annoyed that you can't find ways to earn that $28.58 per hour consistently for 35 hours of every week. Am I right?
I said I was going to prove it's quite simple to earn $1,000 a DAY working from home and I will.
Here we go...
Visit this page: http://horror.fictionfactor.com/promarkets.html
Scroll down until you see a listing for Heliotrope Magazine. They pay 10 cents per WORD for mystery, horror, fantasy or science-fiction stories. A nice little short story of around 3,000 words will bring in $300.
Don't like to write horror or science-fiction? Fine. I'll hunt down a Christian writing market for you then. Wait there...
Okay. Found one.
Angels on Earth magazine (http://www.angelsmagazine.com) will pay you $400 for a true story about God's messengers at work in today's world. They prefer your stories to be shorter than 1,500 words please.
It's still not $1,000 a day, is it? Okay. Let's try this instead.
PlayBoy will pay you $5,000 for a 5,000 word short story - and no they don't want sexy stories. Playboy published mystery, suspense, humor, science fiction and sports stories. They don't want email submissions - just good old fashioned snail-mail please.
Send to: Playboy Magazine, Att: Fiction Department
680 North Lake Shore Drive,
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Not into those writing markets? Okay. I'll dig up something else. Stay there. I'll be right back....
Take a Break (UK) will happily pay for stories up to 1,000 words and will pay £300 for their 'Coffee Break Fiction' stories. Stories should be sharp, succinct with good plots and a 'twist in the tail'.
Shall I go on? Or are you getting the point yet that freelance writing is a seriously lucrative business? Well, it can be as long as you STAY AWAY from the revenue-share and slave-labor paying article writing stuff.
These markets were found using the databases I told you about in an earlier post. I just know you've forgotten that link already, so here it is again.
High Paying Writing Markets
Happy writing :)
Today the price for writing 10 highly researched health related 500 word articles reached 50 cents per article.
It upsets me to see them do this to themselves. I need to learn to stop doing this to myself. So in response I'm going to post about ways to engineer your own freelance income.
That's right - I'm dumping the responsibility for your freelance income solely on YOUR shoulders.
Here we go...
Engineering Your Own Freelance Writing Income
So you've figured you want to create a full time income from your freelance writing efforts. Good for you. You've accepted as many article writing jobs as you can find and you're working like crazy.
After a hectic 60 hour week of creating unique content, you rub your swollen wrists in satisfaction and count out the $50 you earned.
This kind of story is not as exaggerated as you might think. I've seen it happen so many times now that it no longer scares me the way it used to. On a positive note, there's no reason to let this kind of thing happen to your freelance writing career.
Freelance writing is a business, like any other. You're selling a product (your writing) to customers. You can either sell more and more product for a small amount of profit each sale, or you can make a larger amount of profit per sale and not need to sell so many products.
Business people tend to make income forecasts and business plans that outline expected expenses in order to determine if their business will be profitable. By monitoring your business plan and income forecasts as your financial year progresses, you'll know what changes or adjustments need to be made before you get into any trouble.
If you take a little time to engineer your own success, you'll find your freelance income will increase quickly. With a little work and perseverance you'll be earning a real income before you know it.
Let's look at how to engineer your freelance income:
Freelance Income Requirement
Before you begin, write down exactly how much income you'd like to earn each week from your freelance writing efforts. It's fine to write down $1,000 per week or $2,500 per week or even $500 per week. Just remember that whatever you write down, your plan will revolve around reaching that target.
For the sake of this blog, I'm going with the nice round number of $1,000 per week. I'm also going to resurrect Mr. Writer to help us out (we met Mr. Writer back on an earlier post here: Create Full-Time Freelance Income)
Freelance Income Breakdown
In order to earn $1,000 per week from his writing efforts, Mr. Writer will need to break down how many working hours he has available.
Assuming he only wants to work 5 days per week and let's say 7 hours per day is comfortable for him, that gives him 35 hours in each week where he MUST work. No distractions, like email or FaceBook or whatever. WORK.
By working 35 hours every week on some writing related activity, he'll need to be sure each hour produces at least $28.58.
(yep - the math is easy. $1,000 divided by 35 hours = $28.58)
(try it with $500 per week. $500 divided by 35 hours = $14.28)
By accepting article-writing work at $2 per article, Mr. Writer will need to write a little more than 12 articles per HOUR for 7 hours of each working day, 5 days a week to make $1,000 in a week. That's 420 articles per week.
Or he could seek out slightly higher paying freelance work and make his life a little easier.
Ways to Reduce Your Hourly Freelance Requirement
In some cases, it is possible to reduce the amount of hourly income you need to produce by creating passive income.
Passive income is the income you generate by performing an action once, but reaping a reward from it over and over again. Book royalties are an example of passive income.
For example: To make $1,000 per week, Mr. Writer needs to work 35 hours earning at least $28.58 each hour, but he already earns $100 per week from advertising revenue and sponsors.
This means he now only needs to earn $900 from freelance writing because the other $100 is generated by other means.
So Mr. Writer needs to earn $25.71 per hour for 35 hours every week.
Snapshot of Current Freelance Income
If you've already begun to earn some money from your freelance writing, work out how much you earn each week and then figure out how many hours you spend earning that income. Then work out how much per hour you're earning right now.
The math is simple: Income divided by hours taken = hourly rate.
If your current hourly rate is lower than you would like, immediately find a new writing income source to replace the lowest paying source you have now.
Monitor Your Progress
Mr. Writer keeps his income on a spreadsheet, listed in individual columns so he can see how much each client is paying over each year. This spreadsheet also shows him which sources are no longer viable and which ones could easily be improved on.
As he begins to replace each low-paying income source with a higher income source, he decides there are some he'd like to keep simply for the community aspect of them. He's careful to be sure they don't take up his earning time, though.
Mr. Writer decides it's impossible to earn $25.71 per hour from writing alone and gives up to find a menial day job he hates instead. He's allowed his negativity to get in the way of his freelance writing success. After all, every forum and newbie writer's sites he's visited is filled with people saying it just can't be done. He decides to believe them...
Then he realizes that everyone on the planet can be influenced by the people with whom they associate. By hanging out on the newbie boards and sites, he's becoming as negative as they are, falling for accepting the low paying jobs and believing it's fine to write for only the revenue-share pennies offered by some sites.
Instead he decides to hang out on some of the professional writing sites and forums and communities and he learns there are thousands and thousands of freelance writers all over the world happily earning six figure incomes from their writing.
He decides to go learn from them instead of giving in to newbie-negativity.
Finding Enough Freelance Work to Stay Busy
Everyone seems to have an assumption that freelance writing means writing articles online day in and day out. That's untrue. Online article writing is a handy extra income filler, but it shouldn't form your primary income. Don't ignore it though. Even a few smaller income-spinners add up over a year into a substantial amount of money. Incorporate them into your working week around other high paying activities.
If you've read my blog at all, you'll notice several posts about finding the higher paying freelance writing markets. I won't go through them all again here.
Here are some other blog posts related to this topic that might help:
- How To Start a Profitable Freelance Business
- Create Full-Time Freelance Income
My own freelance business has some lovely high-paying clients who I treasure dearly. It also has some medium-paying clients who I love to bits. But I also have my share of low paying clients and this is for a specific reason (more on this in a moment).
However, none of my CURRENT clients is mean enough or disrespectful enough to insult my time and effort with a pathetic offer of $2 per article. That's just wrong. It's below minimum wage!
Yes, there's one word in the last sentence in bold font for a reason. I had a lovely client last year who was happily paying me the prices I set for my time and effort. Then one day he said he'd been on a forum and found plenty of writers begging to write for him at $2 an article.
He asked if I would drop my price to match this or he'd get his articles elsewhere. I told him I wouldn't drop my pricing - especially not that low. He went elsewhere.
Are you seeing what I saw in this tale?
He said: "There are plenty of writers begging to write for him at $2 an article."
I decided to call his bluff and asked him to prove it. He did. He sent me a link to a place called Digital Point Forums. (you might recall an earlier post on this here: Freelance Job Boards to Avoid )
Sure enough, there were LOTS of writers lining up to beg for the $2 per article jobs. If you ask for work at this pay rate, then you're going to get it. There were lots of greedy article marketers trying to push them to even lower prices on that same forum.
Seriously - those article marketers earn quite a LOT of money from those articles. They're just increasing their profits by cutting down what they pay writers.
Freelance writing Tip 1: Don't line up to beg for $2 work
If you want to make a career out of freelance writing AVOID places where newbies are lining up to accept $2 per article jobs. If you see others doing it, encourage them to get OUT of the $2 ranks as quickly as possible. But don't follow them. Then leave any forum that begins to encourage pay rates like this. Go hang out with the pros instead.
Freelance Writing Tip 2: Act on Advice Given
If somebody is earning more than you are and they offer you a paying writing market that is more than the amount you're currently earning, APPLY FOR THAT WRITING JOB.
Here are some links to the Paying Freelance Markets I've listed on this blog so far:
Paying Freelance Markets
They're not high paying. Each of these is around $10 per article. Short, quick, easy work designed to top up your income - not replace it. Apply to them. Write these quickies while you're searching out the HIGH paying stuff. Submit. Get paid. Be pleased it's more than $2 per article. Search for more high paying markets while you write a few more of these lower paying articles.
You might decide to upload your articles to sites like Constant Content where you're able to set your own prices. You'll still need to keep your prices competitive, but if you write on popular topics, this can be a nice income generator.
Rinse and repeat as many times as required.
Freelance Writing Tips 3: Find Alternative Writing Jobs
Freelance writing doesn't always mean 'write articles'. You could write almost anything and you'd still be earning income from your writing.
Writers are creative - right? What other options for your writing can you think of that will earn your freelance business some income?
You'll find a few ideas for alternative writing jobs at this link: Alternative Writing Income
Freelance Writing Tip 4: Learn How to Find HIGH Paying Jobs
Yes, there's a trick to finding and applying for the high paying jobs. I have a lovely assignment this week for a 1,500 word feature article in an investing magazine. They will pay me a lovely $1,100 for my work, my research, my effort and my time. That's for ONE article - not 100 articles.
That beats $2 doesn't it?
It took a lot of negotiation, communication and co-ordination to win this job over several other freelance writers. This happens every time I write for the same magazine.
So how did I find this peachy little writing market?
I found it on a writing markets database. I've given you all the link before. Use it. It's great.
Here it is again: High Paying Freelance Markets
Freelance Writing Tip 5: Sustaining Your Freelance Income
High paying markets are great, but they're not consistent and the competition is fierce. Don't let that stop you from trying though! Always jump in there. Get your name known by that editor. It all helps.
Sometimes the lower paying markets can be helpful for topping up your other income, but at other times they can help keep cash flow coming into your freelance business when the high paying markets are scarce.
Please keep it in mind that when I say "low paying" markets, I DO NOT mean $2 per article. Anything this low lives in the "pathetic slave-labor" pay ranges.
Here's another previous post outlining why a few lower paying markets can be helpful:
High Paying vs. Low Paying Freelance Markets
So.... if you're still considering jumping into the queue to beg for work that pays $2 an article, then go right ahead. I can't stop you.
But I can tell you the only person you're hurting is yourself.
p.s. if you DO find a way to earn more money after reading this post, please leave me a comment and let me know if I'm helping anyone out there at all with this blog. A little encouragement sometimes goes a long way towards keeping me motivated too...
You see, my client is an Article Marketer. He earns more money in a month than most people earn in a year. I emailed him back immediately and asked for more information on how it all works.
If you've never heard of Article Marketing before, the basics are simple. You write an article. You upload it to an article directory. This is where the method differs a bit between different marketers.
You remember to include a great resource box which includes a link back to your website where you entice visitors to join our mailing list and then proceed to sell affiliate products to them via your mailing list.
You remember to include a great resource box which includes a link to an affiliate product you want to sell. If people like the article enough they'll click through on the link. If they buy the product, you get paid.
I understand now why my clients don't bother writing their own articles and why they don't mind when you increase your writing rates a little. They're making plenty of profit from our work.
So... for all those writers out there working for $1 or $2 per article, I hope you read this and understand that you can increase your writing rates, earn more money and NOT lose a client. Your client is making plenty of profit from your articles, so don't cut your own income on account of them!
Here's an exerpt from their site:
"We need writers offering their guidance to help people understand how technology impacts their work, their play, their lives. We are looking for highly qualified experts with substantial domain knowledge in any subject matter under one of 30+ technology channels.
There is a level of quality we expect from you if you choose to work with us. We require completely original content and diligently ensure this is the case for all content employed on our site. Complete honesty, candor, and objectivity are rewarded here at Bright Hub.
If you’d like to write articles that are approximately 300-750 words in length using our online tool that guides you through the article creation process and get paid to do so while continuing to build your online reputation then let’s talk! Our Managing Editor team will be there to help you in terms of deciding what is important for readers to understand.
We will compensate writers $10 for an article in addition to future revenue sharing based on it's popularity.