If the title of this article reminds you of a television program called When Animals Attack, you are in the right frame of mind. For a writer, seeing a content website change can invoke panic, fear and perhaps a wish to run screaming for the hills. Seasoned freelance writers have undoubtedly seen this happen many times; new writers may wonder what in the world they have gotten themselves into when they first encounter this.
Diversification is Your Safety Net
The freelance writer who depends upon content provider websites for work must diversify and find several sources for their work. Putting all “eggs in one basket” is not a viable solution because it is too fragile. Imagine how you would feel if, for example, you had worked solely for one content services provider for a couple years, and you climbed the ratings ladder to the highest level only to discover one day your entire income had virtually disappeared? You were downgraded by rookie editor, and on top of that, the website had taken a new direction, one that left you wondering how on earth they could offer hundreds of articles but nary a one appealed to you? Your income fell from a peak of over $3000 a month to zero? This is not a good thing!
Have a Backup Plan “B”
The above scenario is factual and it could happen to you if you do not have a “Plan B” to fall back upon. It is sad, but when content websites evolve, often their steady writers find the changes result in a lack of work or work they no longer want to tackle. The issues may be an influx of new writers grabbing all the work, new clients that are not able to submit clear instructions, lower pay rates or other such problems that affect the writer’s income. Having a “Plan B” in ready mode or already in action is a must.
Change, Competition & Opportunity
The nature of content websites is that they must continually seek new clients as well as new talent to serve those clients. As the client base diversifies, the writer base must also expand. Competition can be fierce, even when novel ideas are presented, such as the team concept, love lists or direct orders. When a freelance writer works for a content website, there is very little control available. You must work within whatever rules the website publishes; your work must be dependable and top-notch or you lose a rating and income opportunity. On the other hand, changes can bring you wonderful new opportunities if you decide to dig in and work harder.
The freelance writer needs to always plan for changes to occur, because invariably they will. Unless you are the owner of the content website, nothing is a sure thing, and even owners must stay flexible and aggressive to find a continual business flow. Copywriters and other talent have one or more choices:
- Diversify and find several content providers to work for.
- Develop your own list of private clients.
- Get a part-time job in addition to your freelancing for monetary security.
- Start a website and sell your services to multiple clients, other writers and agencies.
The bottom line is that the freelance writer cannot relax and count on work continually being there from just one content provider. Many writers enjoy freelancing so they can be home with children, travel or take advantage of other personal opportunities. There usually are no contracts, no security and few limitations. Freelance copywriting equals freedom for many and they enjoy it. The price for that freedom is insecurity and change, two inevitable problems when you work online.
Linda E is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.