"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Guru.com Review | Guru for Writers Review | Freelance Writing for Guru

Guru.com Review for Freelance Writers

This is one freelance writing review that has been some time in coming. Guru.com is one of my favorite places online for freelance writers to find work. It is an auction based writing website, and is right up there with Elance.com as one of the two top providers of work for freelance writers. I've often heard Rentacoder named as another place for freelance writers to find work, but I can't vouch for them as I've never personally worked there. Ditto for oDesk.

That said, even among all those auction based freelance writing websites, there's no question at this point that Guru and Elance are the cream of the crop as far as that goes. I've worked for both and there are definite positives and negatives with both of these sites. I tend to favor Guru over Elance because I think the interface is much easier for freelance writers to find great writing gigs that fit their skill set. The ability to "watch" 50 projects that you're interested in is a great plus, and you can also set your profile with your specific writing strengths so when you're alerted to new projects, all the new projects are based on your writing skills - not on writing skills you don't have.

So for example, when you're writing for Guru if your strengths are press releases, white papers, and technical writing, you'll receive daily project notifications in these categories. You won't be bothered with grant writing, fiction ghost writing, or anything like that. Not having to wade through the freelance writing jobs you're either not qualified for (or not interested in), allows you to spend more time hunting down the freelance writing assignments that you're perfect for.

Another thing I like about writing for Guru is that there is enough work provided for several writers to make a full time living only working for this website and not having to do anything else. That said, I always advocate multiple income streams for the online freelance writer, but knowing that you could make that much income on Guru.com just goes to show how valuable a resource that this website could be.

The profile section also allows you to upload a LOT of information, and I strongly recommend that you take advantage of this. The reason is that it is hard to get started because there is a star rating system on Guru. Once you get a lot of positive feedback you're in great shape, but getting that first positive feedback can be really hard - especially when you're competing with so many other writers who have already earned five star feedback. The profile page is where you can set yourself apart by putting up a resume with any offline freelance writing experience you have, post a lot of different writing samples, and just make yourself look as good as possible to help capture that first writing job on Guru.

Once you have a couple of five star rankings, getting awarded with freelance writing work on Guru is much easier. It really snowballs. For example, my first five months of writing on Guru earned me: $200, $50, $445, $699, $1,298. June actually made me two grand, so the sharp upward trend continued. There's no reason anyone reading this post can't get there faster.

There's a lot more work for freelance writers to be had on Guru now then there was when I was starting out. In addtion, then they didn't have such a nice profile set up. Add in that all writers now have the ability to block out one feedback from an employer (in case they're one of those types who is unreasonable or just mean spirited) which means one negative feedback that you didn't deserve won't sink you - the way a mediocre feedback from a professional ball buster on Elance sunk me. It's hard to get work with a 4.1 rating when everyone else who worked for reasonable employers had a 4.9 or 5.0. On Guru you have the ability to keep one bad report from sinking you.

As for what membership to sign up for, never take the free basic. There's no point. If you're serious about a freelance writing career, then you need to invest in it. The other caveat to Guru is that it does take time to build a really solid and steady freelance writing income stream. So I don't recommend a one month, or even a one quarter membership. You get a nice discount if you invest in a one month membership to the Guru website, and I strongly recommend that because it's enough money to make you serious about the commitment to become a full time (or solid part time) freelance writer, but low enough that over a year you can easily make that money back. This also gives you the time you need to really get your writing career off the ground and going.

A freelance writing career is never easy, but I like Guru.com as a mainstay of my online writing income and I think a lot of people reading this blog could benefit from making the commitment to write at that site for a year. And if you're a stay at home parent who needs to help make a second income, a laid off worker with unemployment running out, or a college student who just wants to build a business of their own - Guru is a great place for all of these people to start and launch their freelance writing careers.

The least you can ever make on a freelance writing job here is $25, which is less than Elance's $50 minimum, but I also find that it's generally easier for pure starters and novice freelance writers to get started writing at Guru than it is at Elance.

That's a brief review for now. There's so much more to cover I could write an entire e-book on it, but there should be enough information here to get people started, which is always the most important part. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.

Keep writing, and remember that a freelance writing career doesn't start until you have the courage to start writing and put yourelf out there. I hope you found this Guru.com review useful.

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