CAREER DEVELOPMENT / APR. 13, 2015
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The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Freelance Writing Career at Content Mills

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Content mills always elicit some sort of response within the freelance writing industry. People have strong opinions on both the benefits and the drawbacks of these places. If you’re a new writer, this can make it difficult to decide where you want to begin your career. In this article, we’re going to go through some of the main pros and cons of starting your career at content mills.

See also: 3 Things Writers Quickly Learn When Working for Content Mills  

Pro: Easy Work

Most content mill work isn’t particularly challenging. This business model relies on turning over large amounts of work quickly. You’re never going to come across a challenging PhD level article. It’s always pretty basic blog and web content.

For the new writer, this allows an easy way to find their feet. It’s less intimidating than taking on private clients immediately.

Con: Easy Work Made Difficult by Bad Editors

Despite the fact the work is easy, it’s not made any easier by the fact some editors are just plain worthless. It’s not uncommon to come across editors who wouldn’t get an editing job outside of content mills. Writers have reported how they receive contradictory advice from two editors working at the same company. This can lead to hours of frustration as you obey feedback you know is wrong.

Pro: Money Now

Content mills won’t necessarily leave you until the end of the month to pay out. One advantage they have over private clients is the payment period will usually take about one or two weeks. Once your account has been verified work pays out quickly and you’ll have no problems receiving any funds in a matter of days. This is perfect for writers who need to cover household expenses and can’t afford to wait for the money.

Con: The Money is Low

You’ll never eclipse earnings from private clients with content mills. Content mills pay their writers pennies. This is because the work is of a lower quality and there are plenty more writers where you came from. They’re not going to go bankrupt because a few writers refuse to work for less than a cent per word. They’ll pick up one of the other starving writers.

Content mills won’t enable you to turn this into a full-time job anytime soon.

Pro: A Diverse Range of Subjects

Content mills do offer a diverse range of subjects to write on. This will quickly teach you how to research and write in an efficient manner. Private clients typically offer a single subject because that’s all they need for their business. In the beginning, you have to have experience with more than one industry. It will give you confidence to take on any project that comes your way going forward.

Con: No Portfolio

You have no rights to the work you create. Whilst this is the same with most private clients, most of them have no problem allowing you to take credit for what you write. In other words, you can put together a portfolio of work to show to other prospective clients.

Not so with content mills. You aren’t allowed to claim credit for the work. In fact, you never deal with the client directly. The content mill acts as the middle man in all of this. You’re never going to have the chance to find out who ordered or what they paid. Content mills make you sign a contract where you give up all rights to the work you complete.

See also: 4 Writer Networks That Can Boost Your Freelance Career

A Good Start

Content mills are a good start to the world of freelance writing, but you should begin looking for private clients within the first few weeks. It’s a way to gently ease you into the trade, but it’s not a long-term option. Don’t become like so many other writers who get comfortable and never leave content mills. It’s an easy way to find yourself stuck on a low pay cycle for the rest of your writing life.

 

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