Why Aren’t You Looking for Private Clients?

why aren't you looking for private clientsUnlike many freelance writers, I don’t really have a problem with content mills.  They are a great place to find work when you really need it, as long as you’re willing to write for cheap.  In addition, for people looking for content, these mills are a good place to go if you don’t need the highest quality work possible.  That being said, however, I don’t think it should be a long term career choice for good writers.

I’ve heard many people, who are trying to make it as freelance writers say that they are focusing only on these types of content mills.  It got me wondering, why aren’t they looking for private clients?  It is well known that private clients pay more, are easier to work with and generally provide a better experience, yet so many writers don’t put in the effort to find them.

I have personally written for some content mills in the past, but I haven’t in quite some time.  Once I realized the benefit of getting private clients, I started focusing on that and slowly phased out the content mills.  I’m making much more money now than ever before, and I have a lot less stress related to writing too.

So, If you’re a freelance writer who provides high quality content, I am asking.  Why don’t you look for private clients?  What is holding you back?  Do you prefer the simplicity of content mills?  The consistency.  The fact that you aren’t usually dealing with people one-on-one?  I’m sure there are many reasons, and each person is different, but I’m looking to learn more about this seemingly large percentage of freelance writers who focus exclusively (or nearly exclusively) on the content mills.

Any feedback you can provide would be most appreciated.  Depending on the answers, I am hoping to make some posts directed specifically at this subject in the future.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful. I'd love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below. If you're interested in publishing this, or any of my content, on your site I'd love to hear from you. Just contact me using my syndication request form HERE.

Also, If you're interested in receiving an occasional email from me with great information on how to write for money online, submit your email below. You'll also get a copy of my free report, "A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding & Landing Private Clients." Thanks again!



  1. says

    Hi Michael, Nice post again, I know it will be better to write for private clients, but help how do we go about contacting private clients when we are newbies? hope to hear from you soon. Veronica.

    • says

      Thanks. I’ve got a few posts and videos up on this site that help show how I find my private clients. I’ll be making more in the near future. this seems to be a big need for many people, so I’ll try to focus on this topic as much as I can for a while.

      • says

        You should write a book about how to find private clients online! I loved your last ebook about creating niche sites for profit. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you get all your clients and a step by step process for how we can find ours.
        Thanks for the interesting post!
        AJ Everton recently posted…The Gun Box – Keep it SafeMy Profile

      • Veronica Gilkes says

        Hi Michael, Thanks for replying, that’s nice to know that you care about the newbies too. I will look out for the videos and tips, thanks again for replying. Veronica.

  2. says

    Great post Michael. I spent many years on the content mills because I figured that running after private clients was just going to be too much work (and I had a FT job outside of my writing). My only real experience with going after private clients consisted of sending magazine queries- and you know how tough it is to win a magazine gig when all your clips are from content mills. So, I had a self-fulfilling prophesy. It wasn’t until I landed a private client- quite by accident too- that my eyes started opening up to just how much real writing work was out there- and not just in magazines either. Nowadays, I feel like I need to start carrying around a stick to keep new clients at bay. It’s a good problem to have, and it’s also enabled me to help other writers looking for gigs.

    Keep warm!
    Halina recently posted…Women in Science: New stereotypes, new challengesMy Profile

  3. says

    To be honest I think that you answered all your own questions in the post. I do some work for a crowd sourcing site which is a bit different from content mills in that I get better pay and no hassle BUT I really need more private clients. The dream of leaving my teaching position won’t get any closer unless I get moving, nice to get a friendly kick in the rear from you in my inbox this morning! Motivation 🙂


    • says

      Sometimes it is that motivation that is the most difficult to find. I have quite a few private clients, but I would love to have a few more good ones…I need to be more actively looking myself too!


  4. says


    This is a great post. There are some people that consider content mills as the only way to make money online. (at least, I did) Even when they do find the real potential of writing, some are lost at where to go from there. And if they’re in need of money badly, what better way to get quick cash especially if your business isn’t prominent?

    But yes, I think content mills suck. But we should also be happy because without them our better paying clients would be fierce.

  5. Terr says

    Hi Michael!

    Glad to have read your post. I’ve already downloaded your special report and I took your advice. I’ve started looking for private clients on one of the locations that you’ve mentioned. I actually saw your “ad” on one of the sites. 😉

    As far as why people don’t look for their own clients, it comes down to a lack of confidence and a need for money. The real issue is that most of us are conditioned to think like employees. It’s amazing that many of us, even though we understand that we are independent contractors, still consider ourselves as working “for” a contents mill. We’re used to earning money for showing up and doing the work. In general, employee’s aren’t used to hustling/hunting for their supper, so to speak. That’s why a job is jokingly known as Just Over Broke!

    I’m “hanging out” online with a professional copywriting group. I’ve learned slowly but surely how to think like a freelance writer (Read: Business owner) instead of an employee. Thinking like an employee is victimizing. I’ve realized this after dealing with an increasing amount of negative changes within one content mill, while never receiving work from the others that I’m signed up with.

    On the other hand, I’ve just landed a project in which I’ve sold an invoice for. I found this client on my own! Yes, I had to get on the phones and yes, I had to pitch. However, I was paid a rate that I was extremely pleased with. I earned more money from the one “starter” project than I ever would have working for my content mills!

    I actually sub-contracted out part of the work and so, I was able to help another former content mill worker to earn money. The client is happy and I’m guessing that we’ll continue with an ongoing relationship. Everyone wins!

    I don’t hate content mills per se. They kept me alive! They helped me to earn money for basic needs. However, knowing that I can do the same thing and earn more money, I’d rather use the same energy to pitch to my own private clients. And then again, there’s nothing wrong with diversifying my work between content mills, private clients and even, part-time traditional employment!

    Even when I wound up with a crappy private client or two, I loved the fact that I set my payment terms and guess what? The client paid! Mind you, I charge money upfront! I never work on 100% credit and the clients know that if the invoice is under a certain amount of money, they’ll be required to pay 100% upfront! I’ve never had anyone say “no” to my terms, either.

    So as I contemplate my week, I’m wrapping up some final content mill gigs. Then, I’m off hunting for private clients. Why not? The content mills are dried up anyway! If I’m going to be momentarily broke, I might as well use my spare time to change my situation on my own terms, right?

    • says

      Thank you for sharing this! I feel like I’ve gone through a lot of similar things. It is important to see yourself as a business and not an employee (I think I’ll be writing a post about that soon).



  6. says

    Michael, when I first started out I was working for the mills. I have since stopped in favor of finding clients of my own. However, I’ve not put much effort into the search. I seem to get sidetracked with writing my blog and reading all the newsletters I subscribed to offering tips for finding better paying gigs. I also changed my niche a few months ago. It’s time to find sites in my niche and build connections. I also need to reach out to prospective clients. I need to work on prioritizing my time. That seems to be my biggest obstacle.
    Shauna L Bowling recently posted…Global Warming: Are We Doomed?My Profile

  7. says

    Hi Michael,

    Interesting article. I have been doing adult content writing, and all my clients over on that side of my business are all private clients. The frustration I’m finding is multifaceted. One, in my adult writing, I’m limited to the folks who work for one particular company. I’m finding difficulty in branching out to others outside of that one company, and my exposure there is all by word of mouth.In addition, they all very reticent to allow me to sue the posts I write for them as samples in my portfolio because they need confidentiality – and not for the reason you’d think. They don’t want anyone – especially their clients – to know that they’re having someone else do the writing.

    I’ve made an attempt over the past 4 months or so to branch out into more mainstream writing, using a different website with no connection to my other site, and I’m finding I’m not really having any luck gaining private clients, so I’ve had no choice but to turn to content mills.

    I’m going to peruse the rest of your site and download your special report, and hopefully, that will give me some of the answers I’m looking for.

Speak Your Mind

CommentLuv badge