Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Freelance Content Writing - Creative Solution or Moral Dilemma

Freelance content writing through host sites like UpWork and ProBlogger is an easy way for someone to make a quick buck. A quick search will show posts looking for ghostwriters for a 10k word e-books, 1000 word articles on cats, blogs about the best fishing spots in the USA, and more. It is a great, efficient way to connect writers to work.

So why do I call it a moral dilemma?

How It Works

Somewhere in some boardroom, or on some Skype group, are people who want a successful ".com" or a successful Kindle career. For some reason, they are unable to fill it with content. Maybe they work other jobs, or maybe they just suck at writing. Whatever the reason, these people want a site filled with content, and they are unable to provide it.

In a split-level ranch in middle America is a stay-at-home mom who has always wanted to have a writing career. She has a few ideas and outlines thrown together, but between soccer practice, dance recitals, and supper time, she doesn't have the time to really flesh stuff out and make a print-ready book.

Enter freelance content writing.

Deceit from the Word "Hired!" 

Starry-eyed and hopeful, a future journalist begins by going onto a freelance site. They quickly find a plethora of posts looking for content writers. They start applying. The excitement builds, and they dream of how they will only write for other people until their own career takes off.

The budding artist applies for many jobs and receives many invitations to interview. Money is just out there for the taking!! After several interviews, they receive 3 offers to work. Since they are just starting out, they bid low with the hope of getting some high ratings and experience shown on their new profile.

The jobs offer a dollar amount for each finished blog/article.

Sounds good.

They get a long-term position.

Sounds great!

However, it doesn't take long before the employer is trying to get more and more for less and less. Slowly, they ask for more details, better formatting, or strict citations. Before the employee knows it, they are making what equals to $3 an hour. Not only is the pay not there, but with the work taking longer, they barely have time to develop their own original work. At the end of the day, they are no closer to their goals, and their name remains unknown and unrecognized.

Taking Credit for Someone Else's Work

Now let's go to the employer. The used their savings, income tax refund, or inheritance to commission freelancers to write educational e-books or fill a ".com" with 200+ guides or how-tos. Their success is sky-rocketing.

In a radio spot, the host asks, "How could you have possibly gained so much knowledge on this subject?"

Employer says, "Well, it wasn't easy. It took a lot of late nights while the kids were asleep and a lot of multi-tasking while shuttling the kids around."

Radio hosts replies, "Wow, so worked really hard and look at your success! You are a role model for what others can do if they are willing to put in the work."

But they are not....the freelancer put in the work for very little return.

As the employer becomes Kindle famous and gets consulting jobs or movie deals, the freelancer is still slogging it out for peanuts and no recognition, and no closer to their personal goal.

Solution

Simply put, I don't have a solution. People need money and other people are willing to pay it for completed work. 

Is the answer taking out a loan so you can be the employer paying freelancers to do the work?

Is the answer demanding more money and refusing to work until demands are met?

All I can tell you is my answer. After 2 years of content writing, I have quit. Income tax refunds are coming up, and I hope to make it on my own. I don't want to be an employer making my way off of other people's work. I can't do others work and my work. I want to create my own work and put it out on my own site - and I want to make money doing it. So, after a long talk with my husband, I have taken that step. 

....the step into wild space that will land in an unknown region....

Are you a freelancer? Have you ever been a freelancer? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments!