Are you sick of slaving away on bid sites for anonymous clients, no bylines, barely making any money? Wondering if better writing jobs are even out there?
If you’re feeling stuck and think your goal for freelance success is just a fool’s game, you’re not alone.
Believe me, I know what it’s like.
I worked my tail off on bid sites for $1 per 500-word article my first year of freelancing. You read that right…One…Measly…Dollar…Per…Article. I earned a whopping $2K for the whole year.
The crazy thing: I thought I was doing well. In reality, I was clueless.
So if you think bid sites are your ticket for freelance success, please, for the love of all that is Holy, get that idea out of your head.
Want to learn how to ditch bidding sites for better paying writing jobs? Here’s how:
Recognize that groveling gets you nowhere
There’s a dark side to bid sites for freelancers in search of writing jobs. Lots of clients are casting lines on bid sites hoping to catch you and reel you in.
If you’re an eager freelancer, you might fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.
Bid sites talk a good game and promise ample opportunity. But they’re not as quick to tell you that you’d have to work a million hours just to pay your electric bill.
Here’s an example of a typical bid site project:
A rush job for a couple 500-word blog posts…with less than 24-hour turn-around time…for a whopping $20 to $30.
It’s the kind of garbage writing jobs most bid sites offer. If you’re groveling on bid sites for more work just to make ends meet, recognize it’s a dead end.
Beware of the vacuum effect
I’ve been freelancing for five years and began with bidding sites. So, I get it. When you’re new to freelancing, it’s easy to latch on to the first place that promises to pay you for writing.
Here’s the problem: Most bid sites and writing websites aren’t going to help you move up and earn more. In fact, they’re more often a time suck that requires you to:
- Set up a profile
- Build a portfolio of work
- Complete a probationary period to reduce fees you pay per gig
- Get client comments and feedback
- Earn points to rank higher than other freelancers
- Compete against a global workforce with many writers willing to write for cheap
Invest that much up-front time in a bidding site, and it’s easy to get sucked in. Before you know it, you’re giving away your time, expertise, and bylines for pennies. Once a bid site sucks you in, and you make a little money, it’s easy to find yourself coming back for more…and it’s not worth it.
6 steps to break free from bid sites
So how do you break free from bid sites and find freelance writing jobs that pay pro rates?
It’s not as hard as you might think. Wait, what?
If you depend on extra income from your bid-site writing jobs, you’re probably wondering how that’s possible. I know I sure did. (To be completely honest, I still work a couple of bid-site gigs, but I’m preparing for a complete exodus in 2019.)
If you really want to break free, you need to change the way you look for writing jobs. Here’s how:
- Stop sifting through bid sites and job boards hoping to find a cash-cow client, well-paying writing jobs, or the Holy Grail of gigs. Go on a bid site and job board fast. And follow the next steps to find better clients.
- Define your niche. Pick an industry you want to write about or one you already know something about. You’ll ramp up your freelance writing career faster and be more appealing to prospects when you’re the writer for their industry.
- Find prospects in your niche including businesses, magazines, trade publications, websites, and agencies. Study the sites and publications, and get contact info for editors and marketing directors.
- Send query letters and letters of introduction to land story assignments or copywriting gigs. Pitch and keep on pitching until you’re fully booked.
- Set a process goal for pitching. You’re can’t control assignments or rejections, but you can control the number of pitches you send out. For example: Set a process goal to send out three query letters or LOIs per day. That’s 21 week, 84 a month.
- Keep going. You’ll get some rejections, sure, but it’s a numbers game that comes with the territory. Eventually rejections will start yielding opportunities…better-paying opportunities (as in blogging that pays $100 to $500 per post, magazine assignments that pay $1 per word, and copywriting gigs that pay $1,000-plus for case studies and white papers) The more ‘no’ responses you receive, the closer you’ll be a ‘yes’.
That’s how you ditch bidding sites for better paying writing jobs. You with me in 2019? Let’s do this.
Are you ready to ditch bid sites for better writing jobs? Leave a comment below, and let’s discuss.
Beth Casey is a B2B writer living in Maine. She writes about business, digital marketing, health, and technology