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Can you find good writing clients on bidding sites?

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When you start freelance writing, you’ll likely come across bidding sites. Is it possible to find good writing clients on bidding sites?

Bidding sites are similar to eBay but for freelancers looking for work. You’ll come across a few sites, including People Per Hour and Freelancer.com. Some are better than others, but they all offer something similar. A chance for clients to encourage people bidding on their projects to do the project for the lowest amount of money possible. That can lead to exploitation.

I don’t use bidding sites at all anymore, but I did in the past. I managed to find a few writing clients on bidding sites who helped me get started. The pay was low, but I learned a lot about writing online quickly. Since then, I’ve changed to reaching out to private clients directly and even gained referrals.

So, can bidding sites be worth it? Most of them are going to encourage low pay, but here are some factors to consider when it comes to finding clients on them.

Take a look through projects carefully

I would recommend a new freelance writer looks through some of the projects on the site. You should have a minimum writing rate already in mind, and you may find projects that suit that minimum rate. Keep in mind that you’re unlikely to find projects that pay as well as finding your own private clients.

People posting projects on bidding sites for freelance writing are looking for the typical “quick” SEO stuff. What does that mean? They’re looking for people to do minimal research and just churn out articles for a low price. There’s not much value in the content, and it’s designed to just create a backlink or two to another site.

Is that something you really want to get involved in?

Things have changed in the world of SEO, and things will keep changing. This has meant that people looking for writers are changing what they need. Their prices don’t seem to change, though. Look out for spending too much time doing research instead of writing.

Building up your portfolio with writing clients on bidding sites

I used bidding sites for freelance writing when I was starting out. I did it as a way, along with content mills, to build a portfolio of content.

It’s important to check the terms of any project listing to find out if you can do this. Some clients will outright state that the work is not to be used in any way. This includes using it as samples of our work. Others will give you permission to use it as a sample.

You could always work with the content and write something on the same topics, using the research you’ve already done. You can post that online under your own name to share as your own sample. Make sure the content is different enough to stand out and avoid complaints from clients.

However, there are better ways at getting samples. You could find a business and offer one free piece of work in return for a byline and testimonial. A local charity could be a great business to get in touch with for this.

Check for an escrow system

There are a lot of negative points about some bidding sites for freelance writers. One of the main ones is the lack of payment after writers have completed the work. I’ve had it happen on Freelance.com, and others have too.

It’s important to check for an escrow system on any site that you choose to use. Make sure the client has to put the money for the project into the account from the start. That money is then released once you complete the project.

It’s not a risk for either of you! If you don’t complete the project, the client can request that money back. However, if you complete the project, the client can’t easily get the money back. It’s released to you.

There’s also usually a dispute service when escrow payments are involved. These use an individual from the bidding site to determine who should get the money.

Taking clients off the site

As you build up your trust with writing clients* on bidding sites, you could consider taking the work off the site. Check the Terms and Conditions of any site first. You could find your account is banned by doing this. The companies lose out on the commission they take from projects.

There are more freedoms working outside of a bidding site. But there are also more risks. You need to make sure you’ve found a client who does pay for the work.

From my experience using bidding sites for freelance writing jobs, it isn’t possible to find great paying clients. However, it depends on your definition of great paying clients. It’s all relative!

MORE: What are content mills and why are they bad for writers?

What do you think about bidding sites for freelance writing jobs? Are they something you’d ever try, or are you like me and in the mind that they’re just not worth it?

Get in touch to find out more about finding writing clients on bidding sites and more to get started in your career.