By Rose N. Smith
Many freelancers writing for large content houses saw their paychecks disappear quicker than a magician’s rabbit when Google adjusted its algorithms. Google’s ongoing effort to improve search results will ultimately bring more changes. Authors need to broaden their client base to earn a living freelancing.
A well-rounded freelance portfolio should include several clients. If one or two shut down or reduce hiring opportunities, freelancers with a robust client base can continue working.
The Status of Up-Front Paying Content Sites
Since Google’s recent changes, upfront paying content sites have been hard hit and have re-focused on quality. Both Bright Hub and Demand Studios, which paid $15.00 per article have drastically limited writing opportunities.
Demand retested and disqualified many of their freelancers and now require a minimum of a college degree in journalism, English or communications. Bright Hub discontinued their revenue share program and limited their paying assignments to in-house writers.
Bright Hub currently offers non-paid guest post opportunities to bloggers trying to market their tech or science related sites. Another, Break Studios, has only posted a handful of assignments since June 2011.
Even though some of these sites continue hiring, many new writers haven’t completed a single article. That means no first paycheck, let alone second.
Using Job Boards to get Clients
Online freelance job boards post thousands of available jobs freelancers can bid on. They offer another avenue to build a healthy client base. Freelancers typically pay a monthly fee to view current assignments. The most efficient way to use job boards is not just to get assignments-use them to get clients.
One drawback of freelance job boards is the low paying assignments many offer. However, writers who go after opportunities can fatten up their client list and often find long-term, regular assignments with customers who like what they produce. After proving your worth as a quality writer, you can renegotiate your fees.
3 Job Boards for Freelance Writers to Consider
Freelancewriting.com has been linking freelancers to several hiring sites for over ten years. This writing blog keeps current on postings. This saves time because you can check in daily and explore which membership site offers the best fit for you.
Guru.com advertises thousands of freelance opportunities for writers, editors, graphic designers, web designers and broadcasters. First level membership is free or you can sign up for packages from $9.95 to $34.95 monthly. Guru charges the freelancer 4.5 to 9 percent of the fee she receives for completing the job. The percentage depends on the membership level.
Realwritingjobs.com posts thousands of freelance jobs including assignments for writers, editors, and graphic designers. A free seven-day trial to look over opportunities and decide if their clientele fits your skills is the smartest way to go. After the trial, membership runs $47 a month.
Are Job Boards Beneficial to Freelance Writers?
While some writers balk at having to spend money to get assignments, many use these services to grow their portfolios. Imagine the time it would take to search for online opportunities in just one genre such as finance. It would take hours of querying clients via email or phone. Job boards offer the convenience of listing thousands of consumers actively hiring.
If you were job-hunting, would you waste time going from business-to-business inquiring about hiring opportunities, or would it be wiser to buy your local newspaper and read the help-wanted section?
Smart freelancers realize time is money. And while authors should regularly market to potential clients, ways to shave hours off the process are always worth a look.
One Online Client is not Enough for Profitable Freelancers
It once seemed a no-brainer for online authors to write for upfront paying article sites. Pundits however, kept warning about the precarious position freelancers where putting themselves in.
To the freelancer just trying to pay the bills it was like having a little noticeable toothache nagging in the background. The ache becomes a little more painful once the assignment pool begins reducing the number of available titles but you hope things will get better. You can live with the nagging.
Suddenly, the assignment pool goes from over 300,00 down to less than 80,000 for over 20,000 freelancers. Many titles are unwriteable because they either don’t make sense or are so technical they require a rocket scientist. And a rocket scientist ain’t settling for getting paid $15 per article.
Unfortunately, when the signs were screaming in our faces, (get more clients) many of us stayed with the status quo. Virtually overnight that nagging toothache turned into a pounding, pummeling abscess needing immediate surgery–on the portfolio.
The lesson? Keep a diversified client base and work to improve your writing skills so you can charge what you’re worth. Write for offline and online clients. Some will need a lot of copy, others less. Freelance writing is a business. It’s all about growing your customer base by providing excellent service-one client at a time.
Remember, successful freelance writing is about having several clients. For more self-publishing and writing tips, check out http://paidwritehq.com Rose Smith is author of The Smart Freelance Writer: Earn $50,000 a Year Working in Your Pajamas. She has sold almost 100,000 self-published books. Check out http://paidwritehq.com for more information on getting paid online gigs.