This is vastly different from my usual reviews and book-related stuff, though I wanted to speak out about this. Below is an in-depth experience about my time as a freelance writer and editor working for someone who, at first, was decent, though quickly turned disrespectful and unprofessional when I finally stood up for myself. There’s no maliciousness here, just honesty.
I worked for this site owner for a total of a year and 5 months. Throughout that time period, the following occurred:
– Pay rate changed 3 times ( with little to no notice for writers/editors
– Communication was lacking (it would take at least 5 hours to a full day or two to receive a response back regarding a question I had)
– The site owner literally had no idea how to run an online business. She just winged it and that ultimately kept things consistently moving downward
– Writers had no opportunity for growth (owner did nothing marketing wise. The content that was being published only reached a limited number of people and throughout my entire time there, nothing was done to essentially get the name out there for the site).
– No Clarity on Content
– When the site began to really really decline, many authors left because of the lack of advertising for their work, and the changing and ridiculous pay. When many of them messaged me, they were frustrated and confused on what exactly the owner wanted content wise. By that point, she had taken it upon herself to approve/decline article ideas (of which it took her about 6 hours to a full day to decide on one idea). We lost about 80% of our writers following that point. She then claimed that she wanted “Buzzfeedish type articles.” I have nothing against Buzzfeed, and honestly don’t really visit their site much, but the Buzzfeed examples she eventually gave were click-bait articles that included no real merit or writing expertise.
– Pay for writers wasn’t decent compared to the quality of content they wrote. (Pay began as $3 per article then went to $5, then $1 per 1,000 views for a site whose audience hadn’t been growing for over 7 months. The content was reaching no one, so essentially that meant that writers were writing 600+ word articles (had to add multiple images, cite those images, add tags, categories, a featured image, hyperlink the source of the featured image, h/t the article if it wasn’t an original, and add a youtube channel, the name of the youtube channel, and hyperlink that).
– Payment wasn’t on time. As an editor, I received messages from writers weekly upset over not being paid on time and having to send multiple emails just to get a response back from either the owner or her assistant regarding payment. The pay was low already, so there shouldn’t have been an excuse as to why payment was late. Most people don’t even mind the payment being a little late, as long as there is some kind of communication regarding what’s going on (of which rarely happened).
– When the $5 per article was still intact for writers, there was no limit on how many articles each could write per month. There never was a limit. As an editor, I was not told a limit, thus I did not inform writers of a limit. This goes back to payment being late once again. Writers were under the impression that there was no limit, or financial issues, thus they could write as much as they wanted as long as the pitch was approved. The messages to me began to start up once again from writers who worked their butt off to write as much as they could to earn a decent payment at the end of the month, only to find out that the site owner really didn’t have the money to be paying them to write so freely. Some of which ended up being paid 2 to 3 months late for articles they worked hard on, while she was earning the money (she claimed it was very low but it was more than what most of us earn regularly), from the writer’s articles.
Issues As An Editor
– Same disorganization regarding payment being late
– payment changed and I was always paid significantly less than the other editors (for the political sites she owned), even though we did the same tasks, held the same job description, etc. I reached out to her about this and her reasoning for this was because the political editors “have to be available at all times for breaking news articles.” Honestly, that was a bunch of BS and the real reason she paid them more is because they were her friends and she knew them on a personal level. I had to bargain my point as to why I deserved to get paid the same amount per article edit as they did (Only a $0.50 difference, but still, same job, should be same pay).
– My hard-work was not appreciated as much as it should’ve been. I got “thank yous” and even an Amazon gift card at one point. However, based on the amount of extremely extra work that I put into the site (without compensation, so basically working my butt off to make money for someone who doesn’t know the first thing about running one business let alone 5, who doesn’t care about the writers enough to pay them a decent amount, doesn’t communicate like a business person should, and who has favorites.
– Revenue Issues
– If you are not the site owner, you are not responsible for a site’s revenue. Period. Even if you are hired as a marketer for the site, your job includes spreading the word and hopefully increasing traffic to the site to increase revenue, though the revenue amount still does not fall on your shoulders. Everything in my power, I did to spread the word about the site. Everything. Going so far as to even think about spending my own money to pay for ads, etc. I’m glad I ended up not doing so. The owner, as stated before, did not put money nor enough effort into growing the site. A successful website takes at least a good 5 years to get off the ground, and that’s with consistent financial support, marketing, ensuring good content, etc. She just expected her site to become to next Buzzfeed without any hard work being put into it. Towards the end, she liked to remind me how much revenue the site I handled made, and it was a fairly low amount but it was still extra money nonetheless. In my final exchange with her, I reminded her, again, that revenue of the site was not my responsibility. All I could do was do my job and go from there. She got upset at hearing the truth about that and went on to call me “bitchy” for respectfully speaking the truth.
– Not Paid For Handling Social Media accounts for site
– I looked at the salaries for social media marketers and managing editors and I realized I was being completely used and paid extremely low for all the work I was doing. I do not have an English degree or a Marketing degree, though I was performing all the tasks of those who do and earn the salary for it, for little to no money compared to fellow editors.
– Disrespect, Cursing, Attacking Family Members
– Not too long ago, I put in my resignation because after almost a year and a half of working my butt off for a site that wasn’t going anywhere (and no effort being made to actually encourage it to go anywhere, I realized that I had done all I could. My money was continuously being cut back (it was already very low and the final pay rate had changed from weekly, to every two weeks, and finally to monthly), and then the site owner had the nerve to tell me that she could save the money she was paying me and do my job herself. The one editor who worked day and night for her site, to make her money, that’s the person she decided to be disrespectful to and threaten to cut their pay for good. Not her political editor buddy friends whom she used to pay $2,000 a week to. Nope, the editor who actually stayed loyal to her when there was no hope in site for her business’ success. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Following my resignation, I asked about my final payment (small amount), and figured it could be paid rather soon because it was such a small amount compared to what she typically paid her political buddies. She then told me, to be petty, that payment would be sent at the end of the month as always. I understood that since the last pay change was at the end of the month, I just figured that hey, since this is basically pocket change to someone who could afford to pay her friends $2,000 a week, maybe she’ll go ahead and pay me. Anyway, I understood and let her know that I would be keeping my contract until I received final payment (as stated before, she was not very professional and on-time regarding regular payment). Everything hit the fan then. She began to curse at me, and became extremely rude and disrespectful to the one editor who essentially devoted all their time and energy to her site. I was the only one who was always there to help, always remaining loyal and hardworking even when the job became a mental, emotional, and financial stress on myself and my family. After that, I lost all respect for her and her businesses. I’m still freelance writing and editing on the side in addition to another job I recently got, though for other freelance writers out there, I wanted to write this review to caution you about applying to write for any of her sites. Bad business is bad business, and by no means should any employer, no matter what your profession or how much you’re making, be able to verbally abuse you when you showed them nothing but respect and loyalty. No employer should be able to treat the people that work for them that way, period. May this review serve as a warning to you all. There are numerous writing opportunities out there to fit every type of writer. Some though, just aren’t worth it and not worth your time nor effort. Even if you’re just looking for a site to write for to build your portfolio up, again, there are a multitude of great ones out there that will showcase your work and help you build your credibility as a writer. The following sites do NOT work to showcase your writing, will use you and barely pay you for your work, and, in all honesty, belong to someone who is just blatantly disrespectful and who doesn’t know the first thing about business. The site owner’s name is Tiffany Willis.
– The Best Stuff Online
– Liberal America (major click-bait type site)
– Off The Main Page
May this review/personal experience not come across nasty or hateful, just frankly honest. I will not stoop to her level and her treatment of me and use derogatory language to prove my point, because I don’t have to. It speaks for itself. I worked my butt off for this woman and got slapped in the face in return, all because I stood up for myself and against the crooked ways of how she handles her businesses. I’m thankful that following my exit from employment with her, I received a lot of support and love from the writers I worked with (many of which had quit writing for the site, and some of which were still there when I left), expressing how much they enjoyed working with me and how they understood, on all sides of the spectrum, why I decided to move on. Especially after the final conversation following my resignation. Making a living off writing is hard enough, so don’t waste your time writing for someone’s site who doesn’t value you as a writer. Learn from my mistakes. Well wishes to all the fellow freelance writers and editors out there.