Since the passive earning from online content dream seems to be somewhat elusive, and the savings are melting at an alarming rate, I took the desperate step of signing up at some freelance sites (you known Elance, Freelancer, oDesk, etc.) where failed people like myself are ruthlessly exploited by internet spammers.
Actually freelance writing from these websites wasn’t my first choice. I initially tried to find freelance translating work from ‘proper’ translation agencies. Such work generally pays better than just content writing. However, so far I’ve had very little luck obtaining anything. I apparently ‘failed’ in the two translation tests I’d been given.
But I’ve found a couple of translating jobs on a freelancing site. They paid a lot less than they should, considering the amount of text, but at least I have some ratings on one of the sites. Then I got another job of writing some webpage content, and afterwards, the ‘client’ suggested that I write articles for him outside of the site. There seems to be an unending stream of products he’s putting on his website that need to be advertised. Last month I managed to earn almost the whole of my exorbitant London rend from this one client.
This is very encouraging. The current plan for survival is to write freelance articles for the rent, pay the other bills from the online earnings, and shoplift and hunt squirrels for food. Or perhaps I could find a few more clients (really shouldn’t be putting all my eggs in one basket), write more and allow the squirrels to live.
So it sounds like I might be spending more time on freelancing sites. For one thing, so far I’ve only obtained work from one of them, probably the most spammy, and I think it would be a good idea to diversify into the others. The probability of winning the bids for work increases with the number of positive ratings one gets. Unfortunately to find the occasional not-absolutely-dreadful project, one has to wade through utterly depressing mountains of absolutely spam.
There are the unintelligible project descriptions, the numerous ‘write some articles’ with no further details projects, the multitude of people who offer writing jobs at $1 per 500 words, and the huge number of subcontractors. Subcontractors, in case you are wondering, are people who run groups of freelancers, and pass on the projects to them. They have hundreds of projects under their belts so they always show up us the top bidders for any project, and they bid for absolutely everything. I shudder to think of what they actually pay their writers, given the $1 per 500 words price, that they presumably take their cut out of.
What really annoyed me about the site, however, is finding a decent project to bid for, putting down a good proposal, and then having the person not actually choose anybody for it. For example I bid for a few projects to write e-books or articles about Bitcoin. I mine Bitcoin ffs! There is a picture of my ASIC busily printing virtually money for me. Don’t you think I would do a good job writing about it? So far all the projects about BTC have gone unrewarded, which I guess is better than if a subcontractor was chosen over me, but not by much.
Then there are the projects I occasionally see where the ‘employer’ wants people to build him a website that would earn $10 a day from Adsense. The price for this job is about $100. Honestly if I knew how to make sites that earned 10 dollars from Adsense, do you think I would need to look for freelance work?
So using these sites does take a very strong stomach, and it is easy to become despondent. However, after a couple of months, I do now get constant orders for articles, which have almost paid the rent last month. So I guess it was worth it.