Is It Worthwhile to Pay for Access to Writing Gigs?Jul 27, 2021
Getting started as a nurse writer can feel very confusing. Where do you begin to find “jobs”? Where should you search?
As you explore these questions, you likely will run across places that offer paid access to writing gigs. Is it worthwhile to invest in these subscriptions? Does it make it easier to find writing jobs?
Short answer: No. For the longer answer, read on.
1. Know Yog’s Law
The science fiction author James D. Macdonald formulated Yog’s Law, which states, “Money should flow toward the author.” This is a good law to know. I believe Macdonald probably was aiming this remark at vanity publishers, who were ripping off novice sci-fi authors by charging them to publish their books. Novice authors didn’t realize that’s not how publishing works. (Or, “worked at that time.” The book publishing landscape has changed tremendously during the ensuing decades and, indeed, many more legit authors today do, in fact, pay various service providers to publish their books. But that’s a different blog post for a different day.)
As a novice nurse writer, always keep Yog’s Law top-of-mind. If any prospective client requires you to submit a fee to apply for a writer position, you should smell something akin to bovine excrement. I categorize pay-for-play job listings the same way.
2. You’re not looking for “jobs,” you’re looking for CLIENTS
Understand that – as a freelance nurse writer – your task is not to find “jobs” but “clients.” Big difference.
I can’t tell you how many nurses write to me (or post comments on my Facebook ads) saying, “So…where are all these lucrative writing jobs you’re talking about? When I did a Google search, it only turned up jobs that required advanced degrees and didn’t pay very well.”
I understand why their inclination would be to conduct a quick Indeed search for writing jobs – because the majority of nurses are employed by a company. And when you come from an employment background, your natural inclination is to search for “jobs.” But that’s not how freelance writing works.
Freelance writing means self-employment. As a self-employed business person, you’re not looking for writing “jobs.” That is, you’re not looking for employment as a writer.
Rather, you’re looking for clients who want to contract with your company to produce content marketing assets. (Or, on the journalism side, you’re looking for editors who give assignments to freelance writers.) This is very different from searching for a job – which is what most nurses are used to doing.
To differentiate between employment and freelance work, let’s refer to employment as a “W2 job” and freelance as “1099 gigs.”
The vast majority of lucrative 1099 gigs are not advertised anywhere, the way a W2 job is. You can’t find them by searching the web – because those companies don’t advertise that they’re looking for freelance writers.
Instead, you’ll find 1099 gigs by directly contacting companies in hopes of forming a professional relationship with them. They’ll bring you on as a contract (1099) writer, and then (best-case scenario) give you a steady stream of assignments.
If you begin your career by looking for “jobs,” then you’re barking up the wrong tree. Don’t look for “jobs.” Look for clients.
3. Marketing is a core skill that every nurse writer must master
OK, so…where do you find clients, then? If they’re not advertising for freelance writers, how do you know whom to approach?
Well, marketing your business is a core skill you will have to learn and then master. It’s not difficult or icky. It just involves creating a plan for identifying potential clients or editors and then reaching out to them on a regular basis.
This is how the freelance writing industry works. Editors, marketing directors, and other folks expect to receive queries/pitches and Letters of Introduction (LOIs) from writers like you, and they don’t get upset or feel spammed when you do this. It’s entirely normal and – in my estimation – represents the absolute best place to invest your time and effort when you’re first getting started.
In terms of knowing whom to approach as a prospective client, well…any healthcare company that publishes marketing content sounds like a good target to me. But that’s something you can learn about in-depth through my courses and coaching.
4. Don’t compete with the masses
Perhaps the best reason not to sign up for any subscription-type access to writing gigs is this: You’ll be competing with thousands or even millions of other subscribers for the same handful of gigs.
And that’s a good second point: Of the gigs listed on any given day, only a few may be relevant to a nurse writer. So, you might be paying to sift through lots of gigs that aren’t even within the healthcare vertical.
So, there’s my long answer as to why I don’t think it’s a wise investment for a novice writer to subscribe to any “job listings” service. If you want to ramp up rapidly, learn how to formulate salable article ideas and pitch them or learn how to hone your LOI and start sending it out to plenty of companies. You might be surprised at the results this type of approach yields!
What questions do you have about this? Post them in the comments!