Anyone who has some university degree can easily get started with academic writing jobs. They don’t necessitate any other writing experience, as long as you’re familiar with academic essays and how to craft one.
If you’re looking to get started with online income generation, you’ve definitely come across essay writing jobs.
Dozens of websites offer such opportunities, making it easy to get paid to write essays. Should you pursue such opportunities, however?
The answer here depends on several things. The primary one for me is ethics.
I believe that anyone who wants to build a serious freelance writing career should never deal with academic writing jobs. The pay is typically miserable and there’s a much bigger ethical component to consider here.
Here’s my view on academic freelance writing jobs, the reasons why these are a bad, bad, BAD idea and a few better alternatives.
What Are Academic Writing Jobs?
Academic or essay writing jobs are very common and they’re one of the first options that newbie freelance writers come across.
The premise here is very simple.
Students in high school, colleges and universities often have to complete essays and papers that they don’t have the capacity to deal with or that they simply can’t be bothered to do.
As a result, online platforms offer these students a service. They provide the specifications and a payment, after which one of the platform’s writers is tasked with writing the essay on their behalf. In essence, this is a paid cheating opportunity.
The Ethical Aspect of Writing Somebody Else’s Essay (and Getting Paid for It)
When accepting academic writing jobs, you’ll be helping someone cheat and you’ll be getting compensated for it. For some people, this may not be a big deal. For me, this is massive.
Many of the websites that offer such services realize what they’re doing.
This is the reason why the freelance writer pitches are pretty disguised and manipulative. These websites will often present themselves as platforms that do editing or that help students complete their assignments. The reality, however, is different. Once you go through the fine print, you will find out that you’ll be writing a paper for someone who’s either lazy or incompetent enough to be incapable of handling the task on their own.
Joining an essay writing service is a bad idea for your long-term career.
Can you put the work you do for college students in your writing portfolio? No! You obviously don’t want to brag about the fact that you’ve helped somebody cheat. In addition, you can’t get referrals from these “clients” in order to further your career.
Could you make some quick bucks through essay writing jobs? Not necessarily and this is something we’ll take a look at below.
Academic Freelance Writing Jobs Offer Miserable Compensation
If you’re not moved by the ethical aspects of getting paid to write essays for others, let’s switch to a more practical examination of the opportunity.
Essay writing jobs usually appeal to those who don’t have a whole lot of freelance writing experience and those who don’t have an area of specialization (journalism, editing, copywriting, marketing copy creation, etc.).
As a result, essay writing service providers offer miserable compensation to their writers.
Very often, the topics are going to be incredibly niche and specialized because of the “client’s” major. There will also be style requirements and the need to create a bibliography (and we all know how much time referencing academic sources takes).
To do all of this work, you’ll be offered something along the lines of 10 to 15 dollars per page. Now, think about the amount of time needed to complete a page of academic content. Based on this analysis, you can determine what the hourly payment is going to be. Is this miserable amount really worth losing your reputation and your dignity over?
Some of the academic writing jobs websites state that their top writers earn 2,000 dollars per month and even more.
For a person that’s desperate for money, that may be possible. To earn this much, however, a writer will need to be 100 percent occupied with the website and churning out one essay after the other. If that same writer puts emphasis on building their freelance reputation and increasing their fee, chances are that they’ll get to earn a lot more money in the long term.
Alternatives to Essay Writing Jobs for Newbies
If you’re a beginner or you don’t have any freelance writing experience, you may be wondering what the best alternatives to essay writing jobs are.
Content mills provide one opportunity for those who want to test out the online writing landscape.
Content mills, however, just like academic freelance writing jobs, are not created equal. Some of them offer better terms and conditions while others exploit writers in exchange for miserable payments.
The content mills in the link above are some of the better service providers out there. You’ll definitely learn a lot and you’ll also monetize in a much better way than when you get paid to write essays for students.
Apart from content mills, you may also want to consider article marketplaces.
Article marketplaces are online platforms where you can upload the content you’ve already written. Assign a price to each piece and if a client wants to download the respective text, they’ll first have to pay for it.
Ineedarticles is one of the websites that have such a marketplace. The cool thing here is that it’s up to you to determine how much you want to sell the article for.
DotWriter and ConstantContent also provide article marketplace opportunities you can rely on to sell the content you’ve already created.
Apart from these two opportunities for beginners, you can also do a couple of additional things instead of looking for academic writing jobs.
Start Your Own Blog or Website
Academic freelance writing jobs don’t build your portfolio and your reputation. In fact, you’ll probably feel tempted to hide the fact you’re doing this kind of writing. I don’t blame you – academic writing jobs are the bottom of the bottom and this online money making opportunity isn’t sustainable in the long run.
Starting your own blog, on the other hand, is.
In fact, the longer you do it, the more money it’s going to bring in. Blogging will also help you set up the right freelance professional reputation for yourself.
Choosing the right blog topics and identifying the right blog monetization opportunities will be the two biggest essentials to tackle, if you want to turn the opportunity into a solid source of revenue.
A blog is also great for freelance writers who want to work with clients.
You can use the blog as a portfolio that potential customers can use to get a better idea about your writing style and capabilities.
If a blog is properly optimized, it can also help you reach a big number of potential clients.
A blog also lets you experiment with your writing, with search engine optimization and with marketing. It gives you a chance to acquire the skills you could be missing to kickstart your career. Don’t hesitate to explore the possibility, even if it’s not going to bring you money in the very beginning. With time, your blog could turn into the backbone of all your other online revenue generation efforts.
To start blogging, you’ll need a couple of tools and services.
For a start, you need a domain and a hosting platform. WordPress is a great choice for newbies because it’s simple and intuitive. There are also dozens of free WordPress themes that you can rely on to set up your blog without spending a cent.
You’ll also need a proper hosting plan.
Bluehost is one of the big service providers out there. Shared web hosting plans start at 3.95 dollars per month and you’ll also get a free SSL certificate (a security certificate), a domain, five parked domains and unmetered bandwidth.
Alternatively, you may want to explore the Hostinger hosting packages for brand new bloggers.
Hostinger also offers a free SSL certificate, and shared web hosting starting at 0.8 dollars per month.
Both ensure a sufficiently high uptime and they’re known for quality customer service. Even if you’re stuck during some aspect of blog setup, you can rely on the customer service team to move forward.
There are two more tools I’d like to recommend to bloggers and writers.
Copyscape is an absolute essential. It allows you to check your content for originality and you can also make sure that others aren’t copying your work. Anyone who’s serious about building a writing career needs a premium Copyscape account. The cost is manageable – I purchased credits worth 10 dollars in November 2018 and I still have some of those left.
Grammarly is another simple and convenient tool all writers can rely on to become better.
There’s a free of charge Grammarly chrome extension and there are also paid subscriptions that offer a wider range of grammar and style check features. Choosing one or the other depends on your preferences and experience level.
Look for Writing Clients Online
Finally, you can confidently start looking for writing clients rather than for academic writing jobs.
Many newbies are afraid of this possibility because they think their experience is insufficient to generate successful pitches.
This isn’t necessary the case.
Clients are looking for so many different types of writing – articles, poems, ebooks, whitepapers, business papers, reports, blog posts, website content, marketing content, technical writing, writing in different languages, listicles, etc.
You can easily start by setting up an account on a website like Upwork or Guru. I really don’t recommend Freelancer because the competition there is insane and many writers are willing to create complex texts for pennies. Hence, you’re not very likely to land good gigs that pay a lot if you don’t already have a well-established reputation on the platform.
To find freelance writing clients, you should definitely have a few samples. Even better, you should have put your blog together already. If you have your own website, you’ll impress potential customers a lot more with your presentation.
Looking for freelance writing clients on LinkedIn is also a good idea. Dozens of jobs and projects are added on the social network every single day.
Finally, you can opt for specialized websites that feature employer and potential client offers.
WantaNewCareer is a simple opportunity you can sign up for in order to get information about new gigs that meet your criteria.
Final Verdict: Are Essay Writing Jobs Worth It?
Academic writing jobs could result in a few quick bucks because you’ll be accepted immediately by such platforms if you have a college degree.
If you’re serious about building a freelance writing career, however, you should avoid these platforms like the plague. They’re exploitative, they’re unethical and they’ll do nothing for your freelance writing career.
What’s your opinion on essay writing service providers? Have you ever created content for such a website? Do you have a positive opinion on this income generation opportunity? Let’s have a discussion about it in the comments below.