If you’re a Demand Studios writer, you’ve no doubt been feeling the pinch over the last few weeks as the site has moved to a new system for doling out assignments. One analyst estimates the new assignment system effectively cuts out up to 75 percent of writers from getting regular assignments.
This, from the company that still touts being able to easily make a full-time income from home. If stock prices are any indication, we may have already seen the heyday of DMS, meaning thousands of writers who had hopes and dreams of making a go of a freelance writing career are sitting high and dry right now.
One of the problems with those who spent an inordinate amount of time and energy devoted to Demand and other content mills is that now that’s all their writing portfolios are stocked with. And, in the world of professional freelance writing, many editors out there value a clip from Demand Studios or other content mills as much as investors are valuing their stock right now. Which is to say, not very high.
So what do you do if you find yourself out of work but with a pile of Livestrong or eHow clips on your lap?
My advice? Use your clips locally. Yes, the Internet is flush with stories critical of DMS, their model, the quality of writing and the such, but there are bound to be people in your community who have never even heard of Demand Studios, let alone the hit their reputation has taken as of late.
I almost universally use my most high-profile clips, such as the federal government work I’ve done, to get clients. But there may be clients in your area for which your Livestrong or eHow clips are more appropriate. Hit the streets and go to locally owned health and fitness businesses in your area. Tell them you’re an experienced freelance writer. Ask them if they’ve ever heard of the LIVESTRONG brand. Yes, they say? Tell them you’ve written articles for Livestrong.com.
The key is to focus on pitching the right audience with the right clips. Trying to land a gig writing articles for Men’s Health or Shape using your DMS clips is an exercise in fruition. But you may end up having success pitching local clients, even those who have never used a freelancer before.
Turning “junk” clips into paying gigs is possible. It just takes quite a bit more effort.
For years I had dreamed of starting a freelance writing career. The thought of working for myself, calling my own shots and setting my own schedule seemed like a dream come true.
But it wasn’t until I lost my job in February of 2010 that I actually got around to making that dream a reality. My first year of freelancing was hard work. Really hard work. There were sleepless nights, wondering where the next check would come from and worrying that one of my clients would fall through, making it impossible for me to pay my bills the next month.
I even resorted to writing for content mills like Demand Studios to pay the rent. And through that first year, I wondered…how much better off would I have been if I had just started freelancing on the side before I lost my job?
I would have had a head start on marketing myself, getting quality clips, learning how to set up a website, and on and on.
Then, a year into my freelancing journey, I found myself mulling over a job offer from a client. The PR/Marketing director from a local hospital had hired me to write some magazine articles and promotional copy, and he wanted me to come on full time. Was I ready to give up my freedom and the way of life I had come to know over the last year? But a steady salary and benefits (hello, health insurance!) made it impossible to turn down. Besides, I thought, I can always keep freelancing on the side.
And so, in the course of a year, I went from wishing I had freelanced full time before losing my job, to freelancing full time, to going back to full time and freelancing on the side.
There’s got to be some valuable lessons learned in there, I thought the other day. So I started this. The Part-Time Freelancer.
In general, I envision this to be a place where everyone and anyone can get advice from a successful freelancer like me. I’ve nabbed big clients, pulled home hefty paychecks and cold called until I didn’t think I could handle another “no.” But along the way I’ve learned some things about doing this freelance thing from a couple of different angles.
Whether you feel stuck in the corporate world but don’t have a safety net strong enough to support a full-out escape, or whether you enjoy your job and just want to make a little extra money by writing on the side, this is the place for you. If you’re freelancing and an opportunity falls into your lap like mine did, what should you do? Is it worth it to step back in to full-time work? How will you juggle your schedule? Find time to find new clients? Stay sane with everything that’s going on.
I’ll offer all that type of advice and more, so stick around. Because you never know when life will happen.
Welcome to my blog
This little corner of the Internet is for anyone who's looking to start a freelance business while holding down a real job, wondering how to jump from part-time freelancing to full-time or looking for freelance writing information in general.
My name is James Patterson. You can learn more about me here.