When we first start out, many of us aren’t sure where to begin. Some of us stumble onto job posting boards, forever feeling like we’re bashing our heads off the wall with no real portfolios to help us nab the good jobs. Some of us find content mill websites (like Upwork and Freelancer) and begin to make a name for ourselves on there, snapping up low-paying jobs and searching for the proverbial “white whale.”
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of negative things about content mills, so I wanted to take some time to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to help you understand how to best use them as a tool to push your new freelancing career to its next phase.
What is A Content Mill?
To really understand whether or not you should work for a content mill, it’s good to know what one is. Based on my experience working with several content mills over the past few years here is my understanding of what they are.
- A Content Mill Connects Freelancers and Clients (A website that connects writers and other kinds of freelancers with paying clients.)
- A Service that Protects Freelancers (Sometimes an intermediary who ensures that freelancers get the pay they work for.)
- A Service that Protects Clients (Sometimes an intermediary who ensures that clients get the work they pay for.)
- A Company Looking to Make Money
What A Content Mill is Not
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about content mills. I’ve come across a lot of negative opinions about them on the various forums I frequent and, for quite some time, I scratched my head wondering why people held these negative views. I’ve had a great experience working for one content mill in particular (which I mention in other posts but won’t do here for the integrity of this article).
Here, I’d like to address some of the negative viewpoints I’ve come across that I simply do not agree with.
Content Mills Are (Not) A Scam
There might be some people out there who try to scam you through content mills but they would try to take advantage of you even without the mill involved.
Content Mills Are (Not) a Waste of Your Time
You may not be getting those high-paying jobs yet but we’ll get you there! In fact, I will soon be releasing a post about how to land those high-paying clients (if clicking this link actually takes you to that article you are in luck and it’s already been released!)
Content Mills Are (Not) Only a Source of Low-Paying Jobs
So, Should You Spend Your Time Looking for Work on Content Mills?
The short answer is, yes. I believe that they are actually one of the best ways to get started in the freelancing industry. That is, unless you have tons of spare time to spend setting up your own website, writing fantastic blog articles, cold calling and pitching to potential clients who may not even be looking for a freelancer, etc. If you don’t have time to sit around doing those things, though, content mills are a great way to get started and to start making money so that you can afford to find the time to do all of those other things that will eventually remove the middleman.
What Do You Think?
Leave your comments and questions below. I’d love to know about your experiences with content mills and what you think about using them as a new freelancer (or any freelancer for that matter). Do you have any advice for fellow freelancers when it comes to using content mills?