Today’s economy may be depressed; the jobless rate is reported at 7.8% (though politicians like to claim that it is really around 14%); and many people are desperate to find regular work. I am fortunate in that I work at home, in a field that has not seen much attrition, and which likely will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future. However, this industry is fast changing in character, to the point that I fear that my particular skills may be replaced by technological advances. I work as a medical transcriptionist, and though the field is still quite relevant to our society, the work I do is fast being supplanted by so-called voice recognition, where the medical provider speaks into the computer, and the computer generates a cohesive report. The technology is not quite up to par yet to replace medical language editors, but it’s coming. Being near retirement, I am keenly aware of such technology, and how it can affect me within a short period. I have therefore begun to explore other avenues of deploying my skills.
To that end, it became abundantly clear that I needed to identify those skills, and make a list of jobs that I would enjoy doing and that would fit my temperament. It took some effort to winnow down my talents, and it turned out to be quite a productive enterprise. For example, I have a relatively good voice, and during a recent Toastmasters meeting, I presented a speech that required me to read a drama. My evaluation focused not so much on the speech, as much as on my ability to read aloud with feeling. Could I then translate such words into a paying job? I tried. I applied to read at the Lighthouse for the Blind. But there has always been something else that I enjoyed more than reading aloud, and that was writing. From an early age, I have written stories, poetry and essays. In fact, I began to write blogs, at first for my own enjoyment, then promoting them over the internet when I found interested readers.
And then, I decided to expand my efforts.
I randomly searched the internet for “freelance writing jobs.” I was astounded at what I discovered. There are many companies where one can write articles, which are then distributed to other media. As information on the internet becomes ever more ubiquitous, someone has to write this information. Elance, Triond, Bukisa – all these are companies that are looking for writers in every conceivable field, from product reviews to the entertainment field; from local news to your high school football team; from nutrition to medical research. I was determined not to be sold an expensive program, and do my own research. I selected a few promising names and threw my hat into the ring, registering, filling out my profile, reading their requirements, and then submitting a few articles of about 400 words. At first, I wrote a few articles for Triond.com. I did this as a lark, just to see what happened. Since I was still employed full time, I did not feel under pressure to earn money. Imagine my surprise when I was informed by email that my article was accepted. I logged into Triond, and lo and behold, my earnings for the month were $0.12. Yep, twelve cents! It was a joke that my husband and I are still laughing about. But it was short lived.
Triond.com also supports AdSense, and after reading about it, again I registered, filled out the necessary profile, was assigned an ID, and linked it with my Triond.com account. I did the same with Bukisa, HubPages. I continued to write my blogs, and discovered that AdSense also appears on Blogspot.
But the best was yet to come. I had applied to some other sites and let my account lie dormant for a while. When I logged back in and began searching for available tasks given my abilities (which I included in my profile), I was astonished to find so many offerings for freelance writing jobs. For example, one such site, Elance, listed the following categories on Oct 7, 2012, with the numbers of available jobs:
IT & Programming (7,255)
Design & Multimedia (3,592)
Writing & Translation (2,250)
EditFast.com publishes “The Editorial” that provides a daily list of available jobs in every category, from performing research on the web, to editing written material, translations or even writing recipes. There is something for everyone.
Clearly, one would not be capable, available or willing to do all these jobs. But that’s not the point. The point is that with a little diligence, one can put together a list of one’s abilities, and then winnow down among the available jobs, register with a legitimate company and begin to earn some money in the freelance writing jobs industry.
Oh, by the way, in addition to my full-time work as a medical language specialist, I now earn some “real” money writing articles on the internet.