FREELANCING / MAR. 29, 2015
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3 Things Writers Quickly Learn When Working for Content Mills

We can only describe working for a content mill as an experience. Like anything, it has its share of advantages and disadvantages. People need money fast, and they provide a way to get it. Younger writers tend to gravitate towards content mills because of the promise of fast, easy money. It offers a launching point for their careers because they’re able to practice their skills whilst getting paid for it.

But writers tend to learn three harsh lessons about content mills quickly. And they’re not necessarily happy lessons.

See also: 5 Things Writers Do that Drive Editors Insane

1. Editors Suck!

Content mills will always give you a happy hatred for the editor in your life. In many cases, it’s unfair because the people working as editors for content mills would never have the chance to edit elsewhere. Most of them simply aren’t good enough at what they do.

Let’s give you a common scenario. You’ve completed the best article you possibly could. You’ve checked it for grammar multiple times and you’re happy this is a great piece of work. Then you receive the feedback. The editor has torn both the content and the grammar apart. It’s demoralising and depressing. It isn’t until later when you look back you discover most of the editor’s feedback is nonsensical.

That’s right. This is so often the case. Editors are following style guidelines that make no real sense. They’re giving feedback that contradicts the last editor’s feedback. It’s frustrating and agonising, yet it doesn’t matter. You still have to make those changes if you want to get paid.

2. The Pay is Terrible

Content mills are a haunt for newer writers because of the dollar signs flashing in their eyes. In the beginning, they’re happy to earn the money they do. It’s an easy way to earn some good money without much effort. Yet as time goes on, this pay doesn’t increase by much. They feel like they’re being undervalued because they’re getting nothing more, despite the fact they’re getting better at their jobs.

This is because content mills rely on churning out thousands of content pieces a week at an affordable price for clients. The least reputable of content mills even charge clients premium prices whilst paying the writers a pittance.

You’ll never get out of this cycle of low pay whilst you continue to work for the content mills. It’s good for a few dollars here and there, but someone who wants to build a career out of this should look elsewhere.

3. You Get No Credit

What a kick in the teeth!

You don’t get to claim any credit for the work you complete. Technically, you’re not allowed to send private clients any work samples from these sites. That means as far as private clients are concerned, you have nothing to show for your efforts.

You can’t pick up new private clients if you have no previous work samples to offer. Again, you’re stuck in a cycle of low pay and no credit.

See also: How to Become a Successful Freelance Writer [Infographic]

As already mentioned, content mills serve as an effective short-term bank account boost. What they don’t provide is a way to enhance your career. Your goal is to get away from content mills as soon as you can. Dedicate a portion of your day to picking up private clients and asking for higher pay. Over time, you can unstick yourself from the content mills and move on to bigger and better things.

It does require more effort because you have less surety over how much work you’re going to get. On the other hand, it’s the best way to secure your future career within freelance writing.

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