I was sucked into content mill writing early on in the game. As a fairly new writer, I was eager to get my feet wet and several content mills were willing to let me take a dip in their pool. Being offered compensation for my work made me feel beyond elated, regardless of how little the compensation may have been.
The Good, Bad and the Ugly
My elation lasted all of six months. After the honeymoon stage was over, I realized that I was working full time hours in exchange for a barely part time income. In all honesty, I would have brought in more money with a part time office job than I was earning full time as a writer. My days, nights and weekends were spent researching and writing articles for these content mills. Any free moments I managed to scrape together were spent discussing ways to earn more money with other content mill writers.
After some time, I noticed that many writers that worked for these content mills shared similar mentalities. They were focused on working smarter, harder, longer and faster and focused on helping one another earn a higher income through content mill writing. At the time, I thought it was an uplifting sense of community. But, in the end, it turned out to be a toxic and almost cult-like mentality. If you didn’t agree with the crowd or had the audacity to point out the negative aspects of content mill writing, you’d be singled out as a lazy and talentless writer. It was a toxic group that I wanted out of immediately.
I was determined to find a way out of content mill writing, but I was stuck. I needed to continue producing a steady amount of articles in order to continue paying my bills. But, I also had to carve out time to find new clients. My time was extremely limited, but I committed to starting my days a few hours earlier to dedicate time to effectively marketing my business. I spent hours researching and developing an implementable marketing strategy to market my services. I then pinpointed my ideal clients and sent targeted pitches to potential clients who fit the description. I was prepared to fight a long battle, but to my surprise, within a two-week time period, I was contacted by various potential clients that were interested in hiring me for their assignments.
I immediately began working on my client assignments and continued to persistently market my business. My attention was focused on delivering quality writing and thoughtful customer service, and it paid off. In less than a couple of months, I landed contracts with several high-paying clients and because of this, I’ve increased my income substantially. It’s a rewarding feeling to know that my services are valued and that I can now be choosy when it comes to taking on new assignments. But, it feels even better to know that I no longer have to rely on degrading content mill writing just to make ends meet.
It’s fine to write a few articles for content mills as filler work when business is slow. But, if you make this your primary source of income, you’re selling yourself short. You can work your way towards a higher income by having absolute confidence in your abilities as a professional writer, and learning the business side of writing. It will take hard work, dedication and a whole lot of time brushing up on your marketing skills, but if you’re willing to steadily work towards your goals, you’ll climb your way out of the trenches and break free from your dependency on content mills in no time.