Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Textbroker Update

So last week I decided to check out the freelance possibilities on Textbroker. I talked here about what I knew and what I didn't, and then I tried it out. So I've learned a few things and thought I'd share some observations.

The Pros:
- It all adds up for extra income
I've written 5 articles, for a grand total of about $35.

- The hourly rate is decent to start
I estimate 4 hours for the 5 articles I've written so far. That gives me an hourly rate of between $8 and $9, which isn't great, but it's at least minimum wage.

- It's not too difficult
I spend a LOT of time on the internet, and I'm a great researcher in general. Finding the relevant info to include in my articles has not been problematic. For people who are unfamiliar with internet research or research in general, this may be problematic, but for me, it's a great fit for a skill set that I already possess.

- It can be interesting
I've written on a variety of topics already, from heat pumps to rice cookers to cotton candy machines. Since I get to choose the articles I want to write, I can choose the ones that most interest me.

- There's a lot to choose from
I'm a Level 4 writer (from 1-5, where 1's are not allowed to write for Textbroker and 5's are the elite), and on the days when I've checked, there have been many possible articles to write.

- The time and place is flexible
This is, for me, the most important positive point about Textbroker. I wrote my articles whenever and wherever I wanted. Some I wrote at 2am in my jammies, and others I wrote on my lunchbreak at work. I love the flexibility, and as I consider increasing streams of income as we consider becoming expats, flexibility in when and where I work is crucial.

While I'm feeling pretty positive about Textbroker in general, there are some definite disadvantages as well.

- I'm currently locked out
Textbroker's policy is that they lock your account after the first 5 articles, so that they can check your work. I finished my last article on Wednesday of last week, and have been locked out since then. It's unclear how long this lockout will last. Textbroker says that new writer ratings go to the top of the heap, but the long lockout period is frustrating. I believe this only ever happens once, but it's difficult to get momentum going and want to continue writing, but be unable to due to the lockout.

- Article length can be difficult
The clients provide you with a topic, a word range, and any additional instructions. Sometimes, it's difficult to write their minimum word count, especially if you are a concise writer. I can be quite verbose at times, but come on, how much is there to say about tip and roll bleachers? I had to really dig and get creative to write enough for that one.

- Article search isn't super user-friendly
Articles are divided by category, but they don't always readily fit in that (or any) of the general categories given. So even if you are only interested in writing home and family articles, there may be good choices in other categories.

Overall, I'm looking forward to doing some more writing for Textbroker and seeing what it's like beyond the first 5 articles, and especially investigating how realistic it will be to consider this a potential stream of steady income once we leave the country!