There comes a time in every freelance career when you need to step off the seemingly safe (yet very restrictive) platform provided to you by content mills. Is it that time? How do you know?
I created this website to share the knowledge I am gaining as I move through my freelancing career. It is my hope that you can take something of value from my mistakes and my learning experiences to enrich your own freelancing experience. If I’m honest, I think waiting as long as I have to finally move off the content mill platform has been one of those mistakes. But late is better than never.
I’ve partially moved into working one-on-one with clients and will explain some of what I learned through those experiences in other posts. I’ll also talk about what else I’m learning along the way and try to share as many resources as I come across. For now, though, let’s look at why it is important to move off these platforms and when to know it’s time.
Knowing You’re Worth More than You’re Getting
Recently, I too faced this issue. After a few issues with Upwork (my content mill of choice up until this point) I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing? Aren’t I worth more than this?”
The truth is, I’ve not only been greatly disrespected by potential (and actual) clients on that content mill platform but I’ve even been shrugged off as unimportant by the staff at Upwork itself. I’ve always known that, to get proper respectful treatment on these websites we need to be our own advocates and have to, for lack of a better phrase, cut through the bullshit of clients who just trying to take advantage of people who don’t yet know how to value themselves. “I can get someone to do it for cheaper,” they say, trying to intimidate me into working for less than minimum wage. “Go for it,” became my response.
Before I go too far, here, I want to say a few things. I still think that a content mill can be a great way to get started in this industry. You have to make a name for yourself somehow and picking up clients with semi-low bids off the hop is a good way to do just that without spending hours building a portfolio with cold calls and by slowly filling up your own blog. That being said, for most freelancers there comes a point where they hit a wall where growing their career suddenly doesn’t seem possible on a content mill.
Check out this video (from a Live broadcast on the Freelancing Advice for Beginners Facebook group) where I talk about my own experience in more detail:
Do you feel stuck? Does your career feel like it’s going nowhere? Maybe you’ve done well for yourself, like I did, and managed to make some good money on your content mill of choice. And it was probably fun when you first started, right? You had that exhilarating feeling of making money doing something you love. That feeling when you landed that first job. Then the second. Then the third. But it wore off, didn’t it?
At some point along the way you realized that the challenge was gone. And, for those of us who are passionate enough about something to quit our day jobs in favor of creating our own business, boring just isn’t good enough. We aren’t cut out for that life of “I did good enough.” We are the type of people who have ever-elevating goals.
It doesn’t matter what those elevating goals are. Maybe you want to see just how much money you can make. Maybe you want to move out of basic content creation and become the person doing the hiring instead of the person being hired. Maybe you want to be able to land bigger clients and build a more impressive portfolio. Whatever your bigger goals are, if you realize that it just isn’t possible to reach them on your content mill, it may be time to cut your ties.
I will be talking more about taking those first few steps off the content mill platforms in future blogs and on my YouTube channel, so please check back for live links to those posts!
Have you made a move off of a content mill? What prompted you to make that move? How do you feel about? Share your experiences and ask questions below!