I’ve been looking for a job for about a month now and my choices are between online and what I like to call, “out there” (it’s kind of a silly term but it’s always what I resort to when I talk about finding jobs that aren’t work from home)
Work from home is like a dream, right? It’s also very difficult to find a good job working from home, so why am I even trying? Well, right after I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to do something in writing and although I have always been good at writing, I knew I needed a lot more practice if I was ever going to get anywhere with it. So, I started this blog and have been looking for a good writing job.
First place I went to to look for an online writing job was Craigslist. I’d heard a lot of good things about Craigslist from people I knew, so I was optimistic. As soon as I typed in ‘writing’ I got a handful of opportunities that looked promising. The very first one I applied for was for the IAPWE — or The International Association for Professional Writers and Editors. Yea, it’s a mouthful but goodness it sounded important and I was even more excited about their rates. The job paid $10 for every 100 words to writers and $3 for every 100 words to editors.
I can write 100 words in a cinch and my last “out there” job paid me about $10 an hour so their pay sounded perfect. I clicked their application and it was very simple. All I had to do was give my name, email and a sample of my writing. I had a bunch of writing samples so I was having trouble deciding which one to send. In the end, I decided to send one of my blog posts that was a review for a book I read the month before and a short story I wrote that I got a lot of good feedback for.
I put both in my application and hit send. I felt confident my writing was good enough — especially my short story. I felt so confident that I didn’t go over both of my samples until after I’d already sent them. That was a big mistake! I mean, who doesn’t look over what they’re sending to a potential employer? Apparently, me.
When I looked over my writing, I realized I’d used an emoji! I asked my mom (who is a talented writer) if anyone would hire someone who made a mistake like that. My mom gave me a pitying smile and said she didn’t think so. Ugh! The rest of the day I felt kind of rotten about my mistake and practically told everyone about it. ( because that’s what I do when I make a mistake. I tell everyone I’m close to about it like 100 times) But the next day, I made myself feel better by applying for a couple of more online jobs.
Over last month, I applied to about fifteen writing jobs. Out of all those, I was only contacted by six. That’s not too bad — especially since I don’t have much to offer in experience. Every time I was contacted, I was excited, but every time, I was asked to complete a test like: writing a product description or writing a blog and after I sent the work they’d asked for, they never contacted me back. I’m a newbie in the writing industry and I know it. I’m pretty sure these jobs just found someone better — and in some cases, I felt this worked out best. I wrote a blog for this one job that paid by words. The blog was 600 words long and I was told I’d only be paid $12 for it.
At first, that was fine. I’ve got to start somewhere right? But then, I wrote the blog and realized it took me around four hours to finish. Divide twelve by four and I’m getting paid less than minimum wage per hour. That job didn’t end up hiring me but it gave me some good writing practice and helped me realize I want to be paid by the hour and not the words.
August was almost over and so far I hadn’t found a job that worked for me or that I’d really wanted. Then, suddenly I got an email from who I’d least expected: The IAPWE. Someone named Amy Wilkerson said they’d gone over my application and were interested in hiring me. She said that all I had to do was become a member on their website and on Freelancer, then jobs would be sent my way. I was so excited! Who would of thought after a month the first job I applied to would hire me? I told my mom about it gleefully. She was surprised. My mistake should have kicked me off their list. She was happy for me but I could see the suspicion in her eyes. I ignored it. I was just happy someone contacted me without asking me to again work on some blog and not end up getting hired.
The next day, I applied for a membership on the IAPWE’s site. I could be a member for free if I’d like or a “paying” member which meant I’d get more writing help and could be considered a ‘certified’ writer of the IAPWE. Normally, I’m pretty smart about this sort of thing; I don’t ever pay a bit of money online. But that one word, “certified” sounded so appealing. Amy told me in her email that there were a limited number of memberships left and that as a writer for the IAPWE, I would get this membership half-off and for a limited time only. I nervously chewed on this information and looked at the membership price. Only $3.75. It really did look legitimate.
So I did it. I joined their paid membership and then I gave them my Paypal info. After I’d done it, I was uneasy and emailed Amy asking her what I should do now that I’d become a member. She answered me promptly and told me to join Freelancer; that after I’d joined, I’d be sent jobs through there. I joined Freelancer and found myself going through the site with bliss. Freelancer had hundreds of short freelance jobs that required little experience. I thought that if the IAPWE didn’t work out, I’d look at trying this site out more.
I emailed Amy telling her that I’d joined Freelancer and awaited further instructions. Hours passed, but Amy never contacted me. A sinking feeling turned my insides and I thought this may have been a mistake. I decided to go to the IAPWE main site to see if maybe she had made a mistake and I’d actually get jobs on the main website. As soon as I typed in IAPWE, a site popped up that said, ‘Is the IAPWE a scam preying on writers’. I didn’t even have to read it to know I’d fallen into a scam. I read the blog anyway and sure enough, the blog described exactly what I had experienced. The writer even used Amy Wilkerson’s name several times.
I was so embarrassed but also super grateful to the writer of that blog, Tamara Gane. Her blog was excellent and if it wasn’t for her, I could have wasted my time on the scam a lot longer. (so kudos to Gane ya’ll!) I followed Gane’s ending blog instructions to cancel my membership and change all related passwords. I couldn’t believe I’d fallen for a scam but I felt Tamara was a smart woman and she’d fallen for it too, so I took comfort in that. Her blog also inspired me to write one of my own so people stay aware of this scam and many more. I’d only wasted $3.75 (enough to buy a Chick-fil-a sandwich but I’ll get over it) It kind of makes me want to laugh the more I think about it. I mean, IAPWE? Dudes, c’mon shorten your name!
I’m still looking for a job online, but I’ve learned from this mistake, and now I remember that a job’s not supposed to ask me for money, it’s supposed to pay me to work. Also, the experience wasn’t all bad. Now I know about Freelancer and I’m excited to see if that’ll go anywhere.