After my company went out of business in early 2008, I knew that finding a new job wouldn't be easy. The unemployment rate in my state was already bad, and only getting worse; I'd already heard about many others who'd lost their jobs and were having trouble finding new ones. I collected unemployment benefits for a very long time, thanks in part to the multiple extensions enacted by Congress. However, I could see the end of that assistance quickly approaching and hadn't found anything close to a real job opportunity in months.
Nearly a year after losing my job, I began hearing about websites where you could not only share your writing with others - but get paid to do so. Intrigued, I signed up for the most popular one and was thrilled when the handful of assignments I'd written were approved; I was especially happy when payment came through, as promised. I'd always had a knack for writing - I'd always done very well with it in school - but I'd certainly never been paid to do it. It occurred to me almost immediately that by setting aside a tiny bit of time each day and writing short, 500-word articles, I could make a bit of extra spending money.
I'm a naturally curious person; I began wondering what other sites were out there that offered similar services. Surely, the one I'd been writing for couldn't be the only one. It wasn't. As it happens, there are a lot of content sites on the Internet. I read up on the top five or six of them, then tried them out for myself. Although each one had its own set of pros and cons, none of them offered the potential for earning a steady, reliable income - something I was becoming more and more interested in pursuing, and that was looking more and more feasible.
Most of the sites I experimented with were fun; they let you write about virtually anything you wanted and encouraged creativity. The submission guidelines for most were relatively lax, and it looked like a lot of people were getting in on the act. The problem, though, was that I wasn't getting paid based on word count or how well I actually wrote - I was getting paid based on whether or not the article would generate traffic for the parent site, or based on a set of completely ambiguous and unclear criteria. Considering how much time I was now devoting to this endeavor, I was becoming a bit disillusioned.
I can't remember precisely where I first heard about Textbroker; most likely, it was on one of the many helpful freelance writing communities that are so prevalent these days. After many relatively discouraging experiences - keep in mind that I was now looking for a way to earn a legitimate income - I was a bit wary when I submitted my sample to Textbroker. When I was approved, I thought little of it. As I began exploring the site, though, I liked what I saw more and more.
In the interest of brevity, I'll save the details about how Textbroker works for a later post. Suffice it to say, though, that what began as a lark - I never expected very much from Textbroker on the outset - has turned into a source of steady, legitimate income. Some sites talk about how you can use the money you earn with them to pay your cell phone or cable bill; I use my Textbroker income to support a family. Take it from a major-league skeptic/worrier/nail-biter: Textbroker provides the means to earn a real living. It's not a get rich quick scheme - real work of the every-single-day variety is required - but it's there if you want it.
Please check in regularly, as I will be writing about how I turned a part-time hobby into a full-time job. I'll address topics like how to get started, setting appropriate and realistic goals for yourself, and how to take advantage of the helpful constructive criticism offered by clients and the Textbroker editorial team. I'm excited about my experiences with Textbroker, and I will be sharing my tips and tricks with all of you so that you can make the most out of what their service has to offer.