Are you freaking out right about now due to lack of available work from clients and freelance writing platforms?
Did you rely primarily on content mills like Textbroker as your main income source, but now there’s hardly any work available?
When the U.S. first went into lockdown in Mid-March, Textbroker dried up almost overnight. I remember seeing exactly ZERO open orders for 4* writers at one point. I checked again a few days later, and there were less than 100 articles available for 4* writers (there’s usually 1,000+). And most of those were just short product descriptions that only paid about a buck a piece.
Or maybe you managed to snag your own private client – who provided you with a steady flow of work every day. But now that client has put your workflow on pause due to the world-wide coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown?
If your freelance work has all dried up – you’re not alone. This is a common pitfall that many beginning freelance writers – and even some pros – fall into eventually. And under the current circumstances, it’s not surprising at all. But there is a solution.
You need to diversify your freelance writing income sources.
So let’s look at how to diversify your writing income and how to create a more stable writing business.
1. Get More Team Orders and Direct Orders
If you follow me on my blog and on my Youtube channel, then you’re probably already writing articles for Textbroker. It’s my favorite content mill and perhaps yours too. So since the work at Textbroker has not COMPLETELY dried up yet, you can still squeeze some more juice out of there while it’s available.
Plus, you likely need bill money ASAP. So it makes sense to start off with earning more active income at content mills, since your foot is already in the door.
Get Team Orders
While the open order job boards might not have much work available, there are still several teams putting out a decent amount of work. And there are likely several of your former clients putting out direct orders.
So hit the team orders tab in your Textbroker dashboard. You’ll see all teams that currently have team orders available.
Join all of them.
Then check back here daily and join any others that put up work here. This will at least keep you getting a trickle of work coming in daily. In fact, it might become a lot more than a trickle – perhaps even enough to cover your monthly bills.
Get Direct Orders
You also want direct orders. So I’d recommend reaching out to any clients with whom you’ve had a really good experience in the recent past.
Go through old messages and look for conversations you’ve had with good clients who liked you and your work.
Click the Assignments tab and Statistics tab. It will show all the articles you’ve done since joining Textbroker, and it will show which of them were direct orders (DO). Click on those and then click through the client links.
Maybe even write down those client numbers for reference. But then open up new messages and reach out to those clients. Let them know you enjoyed working with them on articles _____ and ______ and are available for future assignments.
If you don’t get any bites, then go back into Statistics and look at your most recent open orders. Message any clients who gave you positive feedback.
Just be sure to message clients individually and personally. Don’t just copy/paste/spam a bunch of messages. I’ve never heard of writers abusing Textbroker’s internal messaging system with spam, and I don’t want to hear about you being the first one to do it either.
So just be cool, but don’t be afraid to reach out. Some of them will respond back positively. And even if they don’t have any work for you this week, they might have something for you in the near future.
2. Join a Variety of Other Content Mills
If Textbroker isn’t supplying you with enough work to meet your income requirements, then the next fastest way to tap into new income is to join other content mills. Here are all the content mills that I’ve used in the past and know are legit (meaning they actually pay you what they owe you):
Take a couple hours and sign up for all of them. Do writing samples and send in your documentation to get your account setup, if required.
If you’re a lazy wuss like me, you’ll start to sign up for one or two and then fizzle out and go watch Youtube videos. But don’t do that! If you’re on lockdown, then you don’t have a lot of other options for making money right now. Nobody does. Just push through and sign up for these sites.
If one of the sites has a backlog of new signups, then your application could take a few weeks to clear before you can start writing, so don’t drag your heels on it. Just push through the application process completely and then go sign up for the next site on the list.
Do that, and you could have more work coming in by the end of next week and payouts a week after that.
Once you’re approved, you just tab through each site’s job boards throughout the day and pick and choose assignments.
Many beginning freelance writers used this basic technique in the past to scrape up enough money to pay the bills. There might be slim pickings at some of these sites, but you should be able to get a decent amount of work if you join all of them.
And I’m sure there are other freelance writing sites out there that might have even more work and better pay, so google something like “websites that pay writers in 2020” and see what other sites you can find. I just mention these specific ones because I’ve used them and received payment from them.
3. Find New Private Clients in Essential Industries
I started by having you expand your presence on content mills – not because that’s the best way to go as a freelance writer – but because those are quick, easy wins. I’m assuming you want some cash for gas, food and bills within the next 2-3 weeks, and writing articles for content mills is the fastest way for a freelance writer to do that while working from home.
But let’s face it – relying on content mills isn’t the best way to diversify your writing income, especially during this coronavirus pandemic. Tons of businesses are shut down completely, and some even went out of business within weeks. So they aren’t spending money on content marketing.
Some Essential Businesses are Making Bank
However, other businesses are booming right now, and they are competing with each other to get business. So these ESSENTIAL businesses are the ones who are going to be dropping marketing dollars right now.
If you can land some of those folks as your own private clients, you might actually make more money during this lockdown than you were making before it.
Don’t let current events make you feel overwhelmed, discouraged and depressed.
It’s not all doom and gloom out there.
The world has faced financial meltdowns in the past. And while many people suffered through those recessions and depressions and wars and disasters – there were others who became millionaires and billionaires. Some businesses absolutely thrived.
And during this current crisis, a lot of businesses are going to do just fine – and some are going to blow up with incredible growth and profits. These are the ones you want to start marketing your services to.
So what are essential businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown?
Here’s a short list:
- healthcare providers
- medical/dental suppliers
- grocery stores
- any kind of distribution/shipping company
- delivery gigs
- HVAC repair/installation
- auto repair
- household goods retailers
- hardware stores
Basically, essential businesses can be any type of business needed to keep society functioning and to provide products and services that are necessary for survival and good health. Most states actually have lists of essential businesses online, so you can do a search for essential businesses in your state or city for more ideas.
Non-essential businesses can still succeed during lockdown
Also, keep in mind that many NON-ESSENTIAL businesses are still in business, but they are now shifting their business model to provide goods and services online and through home delivery and offering online interactions with their customers.
So they will still need content. They might not realize that they need content right now, so you might have an advantage if you can show them the possibilities. If they offer services online, they still need to attract new customers, and that’s where content marketing comes in.
Here are some examples of non-essential business products/services that can shift to online business models and will need content:
- gym classes
- personal trainers
- music lessons
- homeschool teacher networks
- school tutors for K-12 (all subjects)
- salon services*
*Many beauty salon workers are independent contractors who cannot physically work on their clients’ hair, nails and makeup right now. However, they can still try to serve their clients by shipping them their favorite beauty products (with a slight markup) and by offering blog posts, video tutorials and consulting services (possibly monetized).
4. Write Articles for UGC/RevShare Websites
Okay, so our first three income diversification tips for writers focused on active income sources – ways that can generate decent income fairly quickly. But as a freelancer, it’s also good to have some passive income sources that will bring in money on autopilot, even when the news headlines have Wall Street and business owners panicking.
And there are lots of ways for freelance writers to make passive income online.
Let’s start with the one that is the easiest: writing for user-generated content (UGC) websites that share ad revenue with writers. If you’re intimidated at the idea of paying for your own blog domain and web hosting, then this is the best option. All you do is sign up and start writing.
There are a bunch of sites like this available today:
I’ve been with HubPages since 2012, and it’s my favorite website in this category. I also used other sites like HubPages over the years – like Squidoo, Bubblews, Yahoo Contributor Network – but those didn’t survive. HubPages, however, has adapted over the years and still managed to be a decent source of passive income for writers.
With HubPages, you’re going to have to follow the rules and write high-quality content that is well-optimized for search engines like Google. Editors can be a bit picky too, but I think it’s worth it. I’ve made hundreds of dollars from HP, and other writers have made thousands. But you have to be serious about writing high-quality articles and following SEO best practices.
The writing community there is also the most supportive I’ve encountered online, and I’m still friends with several hubbers I met back in 2012. That alone makes it “worth the effort” for many aspiring writers.
It’s a revenue-sharing site, so they put ads on the content and split the earnings with their contributors. So when someone lands reads one of your articles (called “hubs”), 60 percent of the time your Adsense/Amazon/ID is active and the other 40 percent of the time HP gets the ad revenue.
HubPages also has a referral program, so if you refer other people and they sign up and write articles, then you get a cut from HubPages share of the those writers’ ad revenue. So this can be a pretty good way to boost your earnings even further.
Here’s my referral link, if you want to go sign up (it’s free) and check it out: Start making money on HubPages
I haven’t used the other sites below, but I have looked into them and they’re legit.
Medium hasn’t been around as long as HubPages, but it seems to be doing very well.
I often see Medium articles pop up in Google search results when I’m researching and writing articles for my content mill clients. This is good news for a revshare site, because your earnings will be based on ad revenue tied to number of page views. And for passive income you will want to publish on sites that get a lot of search traffic.
I haven’t signed up for Medium yet because you have to pay to join their premium membership to earn from your posts. But from what I’ve seen, it can be worth it if you’re a good SEO writer, can refer social media traffic or are just really damn prolific.
Vocal Media looks similar to HubPages, with a variety of topics/categories that you can write in. As with HubPages and Medium, using some basic SEO should help you get more traffic and boost those passive earnings.
From what I’ve seen of what I’ve seen of Vocal, it actually looks pretty good – very similar to HubPages. The only thing I do not like is that you have to pay them to join Vocal+ to make money (or more money than the free version?). Idk, that just turns me off. I’d rather stick with HubPages or my own sites. But if you can generate plenty of traffic, you might earn just as much or even more than you could at HubPages, I guess.
Vocal offers a variety of monetization options:
- page views
- tips from readers
- commissions from product sales
I just came across Virily, and I wanted to include it for those of you who might feel intimidated by writing SEO and research-heavy articles for the other sites above.
Virily is more of a blogging and social site. So you not only get paid for page views, but you also get paid for actions such as reading articles, sharing articles, commenting and referring new readers.
It totally reminds me of the defunct Bubblews, which I really enjoyed a few years back. But the demise of Bubblews makes me skeptical about whether Virily will last. But apparently they’ve been around for a few years already, so maybe they figured out how to stay profitable while Bubblews failed.
Anyway, if you want a fun and easy way to make money with social media-type interaction and blogging without having to be a “serious” writer, then this might be a good place to start. And Virily is free to join.
5. Start a Blog or Niche Site
Perhaps the best way to diversify your freelance writing income is to build out your own blog and/or niche sites. Unlike all the other options, you own your own sites and you make the rules. You can promote yourself all you want. And instead of building someone else’s content platform, you are building your own.
So while it might take a bit longer to get some traction and start building your own audience, you could end up doing better in the long run by working on your own sites.
I’ve had literally dozens of blogs and niche sites since I started blogging in 2012, and I made a bit over $10,000 total from them before I quit and let them all go a couple years back. That’s not a lot of money, really, but the number would have been a lot higher if I had just been consistent and kept writing content and networking.
But I didn’t.
So it wasn’t.
And now I REALLY miss making $100-$600+ in passive income every month =(
Invest in Your Own Blog Like a Regular Business
To get started with blogging, you need to buy a domain name and web hosting service and install WordPress software to get your blog going. Those services total about $100-$150 per year, if you install WordPress yourself (it’s free). Or if you suck at things that have electricity inside them, you can pay a bit extra and your web hosting provider can set it all up for you and help you keep your blog functioning properly.
I currently use and recommend GreenGeeks for that stuff, but I’ve also used HostGator in the past and had mostly good experiences with them too lol.
6. Write eBooks for Amazon Kindle and Similar Platforms
Even though we might be a little bit late to the party, writing and selling ebooks is still a thing. I haven’t done this yet, so I can’t give you all the juicy details. But it’s a thing.
What I CAN tell you is that there are a lot more talented authors selling their ebooks on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) these days, so don’t expect to just upload your ebook and start sipping margaritas while the royalties come in. You’re going to have to promote yourself like crazy to get those book sales yourself.
This is where blogging and being active on social media really help.
Anyway, expect to see some ebooks from yours truly popping up on Amazon before long. If you want to jump in there too, then let’s figure it out together! Sounds kinda fun, right?
7. Create and Monetize Other Types of Content
Lastly, you can create a membership site, training courses, videos, software programs and online tools to sell online too. Some folks sell online seminars or webinars. You can also offer consulting or coaching services online, if you have skills and knowledge that people would be willing to pay for.
Again, this is an area I’m looking into but haven’t yet taken the plunge. So I don’t have any experience to share yet.
8. Build Other Income Streams
Since 2012, my whole world has been “making money online” and it seems like I sometimes forget that there’s other ways to make money without the internet lol. So investing in stocks, crowd-sourced loans and real estate investment groups can all be good options.
In fact, I guarantee you there are people who stockpiled cash over the last several years and are going to be investing in stocks during this time and make a killing when the economy recovers.
I recently got a free share of stock in a company called GLUU (it’s a mobile video game company) just for signing up with the RobinHood app on my phone. You can join RobinHood through my affiliate link and get a free stock too!
Diversify Your Freelance Writing Income to Survive and Thrive!
Okay guys, so there you go – eight ways that you can make more money right now and diversify your freelance writing income sources. I hope that helps.
How many of these are you already doing or planning to do? Comment below! And if you have any questions, I’ll try to help you out the best I can.