Don’t Let Negative Freelance Stories Stop You From Writing
If you can push through the hard times, you’ll succeed where others have failed.
I’ve been freelancing for about three years now.
Each person that I meet in the industry has encountered wildly unique circumstances. Some instances are incredibly positive and groundbreaking while others are truly, truly awful.
I’ve had soul-breaking moments too.
I have wanted to give up more times than I could possibly count because let’s be honest, being a writer is hard. Establishing yourself on any platform is incredibly challenging.
Do you know what else is hard though?
- Learning to play a new instrument
- Studying for college while working full-time
- Getting in shape and cleaning up your diet
- Speaking a new language
Plenty of other people out there have tried these things and failed miserably. They’re quick to tell you that it’s not worth it, it’s a waste of time, and to save your efforts for something else.
…but can you imagine living in a world where everyone based their chances of success on someone else’s failure?
Other Freelancers Don’t Know How to Adapt
Upwork is a perfect example of this. I’ve been using the site for a little over three years now, and I won’t sugarcoat it. Clients can be ruthless, and if you allow it, they will take advantage of you. The thing is, this behavior isn’t unique to freelancing or the Upwork platform.
It’s just how consumers operate.
The only way to get around the ever-present opportunists of the world is by learning to position yourself as a business person, not an employee. New writers on Upwork haven’t quite figured how to make that shift, and it eventually causes them a great deal of heartache.
After grappling with bottom of the barrel clients for months on end, the once-inspired freelancer quietly retreats back to the nine to five. They post Youtube videos and blogs about how Upwork scammed them, or how they suddenly decided that freelancing just wasn’t what they wanted to pursue anymore.
Not only that, but they also want to convince you that it won’t work for YOU either…and quite frankly, I call bullshit.
Upwork helped me get my foot in the door, offered me field experience, and allowed me to build a portfolio much faster than I would have otherwise.
Upwork helped me find a client that was willing to offer $500 a week for my services.
I can’t speak for some of the more dubious situations in which a freelancer’s account had randomly been suspended or shut down. I can’t tell you that you’re going to make thousands of dollars overnight.
I can tell you that I had a lot of positive experiences and negative experiences that turned into learning moments.
But even if Upwork doesn’t pan out..fuck it.
There are 7.6 BILLION people out there that might need your skills. Regroup, refine, and revamp your approach. There is ALWAYS another way…it’s not the end of the world.
Give it a try before you let someone else decide that freelancing “just isn’t for you.”
They Didn’t Have the Right Audience for The Platform
Recently I came across a blog regarding a previous Medium writer’s difficulty in monetizing their work. This individual specialized in the science fiction area, so I can see why their stories weren’t pulling in as much money as they probably would’ve liked.
Unfortunately, not every niche is equal. Science fiction writing does have a wide audience, but it’s not on Medium. The most popular niches on the platform are health, fitness, self-improvement, artificial intelligence, pets, and fashion.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t cover topics that aren’t quite tethered to the mainstream, it just means you’ll have to put in extra effort to network them to readers.
Your articles aren’t going to show themselves off. It’s up to you to share them through an email list, personal blog, or through social media.
I’d also like to add that freelance platforms are AWESOME, and I love that they open up so many doors for writers, but at some point, we’ve all got to expand and grow beyond them.
Find, or create the best avenue for your niche. Even if that means posting to your own blog and importing your story to Medium…why sell yourself short?
Some Stories Can Be Misleading
I’d never want to downplay or accuse someone of lying about a bad situation they’ve had to deal with on a writing platform. These instances do occur, and I will never deny that. In many situations though, we aren’t able to see the full scope of what’s happening.
The problem with misinformation is that it’s difficult to tell whether or not the person is being disingenuous or if they’re just unaware that their claim is indeed false.
The same individual who was struggling to create passive income through Medium within the science fiction niche was also convinced that the search engine was rigged. Apparently, they were under the impression that curated articles were the only ones that showed up when searching for specific topics and keywords.
I tested the theory out for myself and was quickly able to find my story about waitressing in a strip club within a few seconds. I posted it in September of 2019…it’s not curated.
It is a less-covered topic on the web though, I know this because I did a hefty Google search myself right before I started serving drinks in a club.
I published that story knowing that it would stand out. It’s currently my top earner on Medium.
So, we can safely say that if someone searches for keywords that match up with non-curated articles, there’s still a chance that yours will get a hit.
Don’t believe everything you read.
Even if it seems true, verify.
It’s Not All About You
If a platform didn’t work out for you and you want to share your story, that’s perfectly fine. I have a great deal of interest in hearing about other people’s backgrounds, that’s why I paid for the Medium membership.
While the industry is competitive by nature, the choices of individual freelancers affect all of us as a whole. Feel free to air out dirty laundry, but don’t discourage other people from giving writing platforms ago.
Let them decide if it’s right for them.
Instead of whining about the lack of views on your story, start reading, clapping, and commenting on others. By doing this, you not only support other Medium writers, but you also give yourself more exposure.
Thousands of people click on curated articles every single day, so why aren’t you engaging with them?
Help yourself by helping others, inform without discouraging.