Whether you have a dream as a digital nomad or just want to make a few bucks on the side, freelance writing can be a lucrative and rewarding career. The Internet is growing at an accelerating pace, and it needs viable content to fill its pages with.
One such service that looks to fill in the gaps is Textbroker. Catering primarily to new writers, Textbroker has been around since 2008 and has served thousands of clients in its time. Tens of millions of words have been written on the platform, with millions more waiting.
But can you make writing for Textbroker a full time job? As attractive as it may be, the answer that depends on your unique situation.
And, if we’re being honest, how much mental stamina you possess.
What is Textbroker?
Billing itself as a “content writing service,” Textbroker is a service that connects clients that need content with writers who can write it for them. Clients fill out a content brief, include a few keywords, then list it in the marketplace. From there, authors can pick up jobs at will.
One of the most appealing aspects of Textbroker is that the barrier to entry is so low. All you need is a decent command of the English language, a (very) basic understanding of SEO, and you’ll do fine.
When you’re hired on Textbroker, you’ll receive a star rating between 1-5. The most common beginner star levels are levels two and three, but those that do well on the entry test can start at a four.
To reach level five, you’ll have to maintain a four-star level (as graded by your clients) for ten articles and pass a proofreading test. The test is harder than you may think, though. Even great writers struggle to pass it, which means it could take a long time before they move up to a higher pay level.
After every article written, text broker allows the client an opportunity to rate your writing. Some can be vicious and unreasonable, but most are pretty understanding. At most, you’ll be asked to do a few revisions, but that’s common with most freelance clients.
How Much Can You Make on Textbroker?
There’s no sugar-coating it: Making a full-time living on Textbroker is a grind. The pay is low (compared to other platforms), and it’s a free-for-all as to finding decent jobs.
Still, if you can focus on a few key issues, there’s no reason why it can’t become a great source of revenue for you.
This is always priority number one when it comes to client-writing services. With so many freelancers vying for so few jobs, speed is of the essence. You need to be active, and you need to be quick in order to grab the assignments you want.
Fortunately, landing a job is super easy. You don’t need to apply for a brief like you do elsewhere; simply claim it, and the job is yours.
Your star rating will play a large role in this as well. Since most writers are level three, and most clients want the most bang for their buck, most articles will be at a level three. There are fewer jobs at level four, and level two assignments are low-quality at best.
No word on why there are no one-star jobs, but it’s most likely because that content would almost be unreadable.
The good news is that there’s almost always hundreds of jobs available, but finding one in a niche you like can be hard. Most writers zero in on a few genres – HVAC, cars, or sports — and only get freelance writing gigs in those categories.
Textbroker pays their writers based on a star system. You can only claim articles at your star level (i.e. three star writers can only claim three star articles), so you should know how much you’ll make before you start.
- Two star articles are worth $0.007 per word
- Three stars articles are worth $0.01 per word
- Four stars articles are worth $.014 per word
- Five star articles are worth $0.05 per word
Let’s put this in perspective. Since most articles you’ll write on Textbroker will be around 500 words, that means a two star article will pay you $3.50. The minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour, so you’ll have to write at least two articles per hour to make that.
And it’s not like the same article at three stars is that much better. 500 words times $0.014 is only $5, while the same article at four stars is $7. A five-star article is more respectable at $25, but getting and maintaining a five-star status is difficult. Not to mention the dearth of available work at that level.
Comparatively speaking, the going rate for freelance writers, industry-wide, is at least $0.05 per word. More advanced writers can charge anywhere from $0.10 to $1 per word, so the long-term play is always to find your own clients.
If you can crank these articles out at a respectable clip, you may be able to make a respectable wage, but it’s exhausting. Every article requires at least a little bit of research and possibly a revision, so be prepared to spend some time on every one.
You also need to take your own situation into account. If you live in a part of the world where the cost of living is low, then you probably can survive on Textbroker. In the U.S. at least, this type of living might put you below the poverty line.
Client briefs are totally hit or miss. On one, you may have a simplistic overview with a few keywords, while others, they may ask for the moon.
Generally speaking, you want to avoid the briefs that have long elaborate instructions, or those that ask for too much. It’s not unreasonable to have a writer cite their sources, but twelve .edu links is a tad excessive.
And remember, the more exacting they are on the brief, the more particular they’ll be with your work.
Low maintenance clients are a dream for any freelance writer, and if you can find them on Textbroker, great. Use the client briefs as a guideline for what they’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to blacklist those that give you trouble.
Open Pool or Direct Orders?
On Textbroker, there are two ways to make money.
The first is through the open pool. This is the gigantic repository of orders that all the writers pull from. The job board is segregated by category, and have generic briefs that any writer can fulfill.
The other is through obtaining direct orders.
If you’ve blown away a client by your work, they may choose to hire you directly. You’ll still have to give Textbroker a cut of your pay, but the client can choose to increase the pay if they want.
This means that if you’re a three-star writer, they may still give you $0.05 a word because they like you. Your job is to make them keep liking you from then on.
Unfortunately, Textbroker is adamant about not letting you take your clients off platform. There are obviously ways around it, but you risk having your entire account shut down if you’re caught.
Textbroker Pros and Cons
Despite what some may say about content-writing services, they’re viable sources of income for a lot of people. You have to weigh the good with the bad and see if it makes sense in your own situation.
But what is the good and bad of working for Textbroker?
- Frequent Withdrawals. Textbroker allows you to pull your money at any time you want, as long as you have at least $10 in your account. They usually take less than a day to send you the cash, and then you have to move it to your account.
- Opportunity for Advancement. Even if you’re onboarded as a three-star writer, there’s always the chance you’ll move to level four or five. Or, if you’re really ambitious, you may be able to become an editor and bring in additional income. Of course, there’s always the chance you could get demoted, but hey, at least you can go back up!
- Availability of Work. Pigs will fly before you log on to Textbroker and see zero articles in the open pool. They may not be briefs that you like, but wait five minutes, and a new truckload will arrive. As long as you’re willing to write, the work is almost always there.
- Bonus Program. Textbroker has recently installed a bonus program that rewards writers for writing a certain amount of words. This could be monthly or quarterly, but there’s almost a reward incentive going on at any time.
- Low Pay. Despite being one of the largest writing platforms, Textbroker doesn’t have the best reputation. A lot of this is because their pay is so absurdly low compared to other services, but most know this going in. Speed can usually counter this deficiency, but only for so long.
- Testy Clients. It only takes a few bad reviews for you to lose your star rating, which results in lower pay and fewer orders. Furthermore, they may demand numerous revisions which kills your efficiency. Most clients are great, but you’ll undoubtedly run into a few bad apples over time.
- Unreasonable Briefs. Even if you’re a fast writer, the amount of “extra” work that clients ask you to do is sometimes silly. You may spend an hour researching an obscure topic, only to have them ask for an equally obscure source link. Before you know it, three hours have passed, and you’ve made a grand total of $5.
- Long Approval Periods. Though Textbroker pays quick, their review process can drag on forever. If you’re hoping to improve your star rating, the approval process can take nearly two weeks. If you’ve received a negative review from a client, Textbroker will take their time getting back to you. All the while, your account is shut down and you won’t be able to work. It’s frustrating, to say the least.
Keys to Success on Textbroker
If you’re determined to make a full time living on Textbroker, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of making good money.
Speed, Speed, Speed
With all content-writing services, but Textbroker especially, speed is the name of the game. You need to be fast to claim a job, fast to write, and fast to take care of revisions. Dilly-dally too long, and you’ll lose a job — even one you’ve already written and submitted.
Be Open to Random Topics
Even though most writers niche down on a certain topic, if there’s no work available, you’ll need to grab whatever’s available. That may mean writing product reviews, lengthy how-to’s, or authoritatively discussing a random medical procedure. That may not be your cup of tea, but for the sake of speed, you’ll have to write it.
Know Your Clients
As mentioned above, clients can be testy. Knowing the good ones and quickly identifying potential rock stars is key to long-term success.
When you find a good one, reach out to the client and let them know how much you enjoyed writing their article. With any luck, they’ll hire you specifically for future work and you can enjoy a higher pay.
Don’t Take Revision Requests Personally
Clients can not only be exacting, but also rude. Some will tell you that your writing skills amounts to nothing more than hot garbage. Your job is to not take it seriously, thank them for their honesty, and move on.
If a revision request takes you too long, there’s no shame in refusing to do it. Sure, you’ll lose that money, but sometimes you can get trapped in a revision rabbit hole with no end in sight.
Specialize, if You Can
Certain topics will always require more content than others. Plumbers, digital marketing, electronics — all of these need tons of content just to stay competitive, so if you can niche down here, you’ll always have work.
Alternatively, you can key in on your favorite topics. If a certain genre gets your juices going, you’ll almost always write them faster. Moreover, it’ll keep your brain energized too, which will wear out almost as fast as your typing fingers.
Remember: Have a Backup Plan
If you decide to make writing for Textbroker your full-time job, more power to you. It’s tough, but completely doable depending on your circumstances. The only thing stopping you is sheer willpower.
However, you should always have a few good alternatives in your back pocket just in case.
Writers for content services have accounts on several different platforms to diversify, and find work if one goes down. Sites like Word Agents, Writer Access, and Constant Content all operate similarly to Textbroker, and almost always have freelance writing jobs.
Ultimately, freelance writing is a job, and you should treat it as such. Network, make connections, create outstanding content, and you should always be in demand somewhere.