How much time do you spend each day trying to find your next freelancing gig?
Are you combing through Craigslist ads from cities across the nation?
Is your bookmark bar full of free job boards, ready to check throughout the day?
Looking for decent gigs is time-consuming, I totally understand.
When I was first starting as a freelancer, I bootstrapped it. I didn’t spend a dime until I had earned the money.
Using only free listings, I landed my first gig. And the next several.
It is possible to find work without paying for a job board.
But, decent work can be hard to find. I spent hours looking through Craigslist ads, trying to sift the scams from the possibilities.
Each morning, I eagerly waited for the newest edition of the Morning Coffee Newsletter to arrive in my inbox, hoping there’d be something I was interested in.
Thankfully, with amazing free resources to improve my skills, like the pitching blueprint here on Ariel’s site, I started landing gigs. I kept at it.
When money started coming in more consistently each month, I had a little more breathing room in the budget.
As a mom of seven living on a working farm, I was ready to trade some of my money to recover my time. I needed my time back!
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The Search for the “Perfect” Job Board
I checked out The Freelance Writer’s Den, and the Paid to Blog Jobs board.
But, neither of them were right for me at that time.
With its cycling enrollment periods, the Den was open for enrollment when I didn’t have money. By the time I did, the doors had closed ag
Another problem I had was not being able to see how they these boards actually worked before committing with payment information. Even with a money back guarantee, I was still a little skeptical.
I’d been doing okay with free resources, so I wondered what I’d really gain by shelling out money.
Eventually, I heard about Contena and checked it out.
I liked what I saw, and immediately signed up for a free subscription.
I appreciated the free option.
Before having to part with any payment information, I got an idea how the interface worked.
I experimented with it a bit, and applied for some gigs.Jobs were added frequently, in a variety of categories.
Here’s what the free version looked like:
I liked that everything I needed was on-site.
I could research, and see how to apply right from Contena.
I’m easily distracted, so not having to jump from tab to tab cut down the number of rabbit trails I went wandering down.
It helped increase my focus.
I actually applied for more gigs than I had before…
But, I Wanted More Features
The free version of Contena allowed me to get my feet wet in the paid job board pool without actually jumping in.
But, I couldn’t see information about any jobs that weren’t a submission type.
Also, payment details weren’t available.
I knew I wanted more features.
So when the price dropped around Christmas, I took the plunge and upgraded my membership.
Contena vs Contena Pro: What’s Different?
The free version of Contena is decent.
The pro version is definitely an upgrade.
Pro membership integrates many new features.
I enjoy these three the most:
- Ability to set up job alerts via email
- Access to better-paying gigs
- Filtering features to sort jobs by category, rate, or type
Contena Pro makes searching for a gig almost automatic.
I set up a few alerts when I first upgraded.
They have a step-by-step tutorial here that really helped.
Ever since then, emails pop into my inbox whenever a job matching the requirements I specify gets uploaded to the Contena website.
I love not having to remember to check the site.
When a job shows up in my inbox that looks promising, I click through to the site to get all the details.
I’m not wasting time logging on, sifting through all the latest entries.
Best of all, there are lots of jobs. I receive emails daily that match my criteria.
And I’m not worried about scams. I haven’t checked on Craigslist for a couple of months, and I don’t miss searching for jobs at the bottom of the barrel.
Contena and Contena Pro Are Just Tools
No matter how much I like the features of Contena, it’s just a tool.
If I never apply to a gig, I’ll never land one.
You get out what you put in—just like everything in freelancing.
Also, there’s no guarantee of work through Contena.
You may not ever run across a job you like.
Though that hasn’t been the case for me—I’ve found plenty of opportunities.
Contena Pro Isn’t Perfect
Honestly, there’s probably not a perfect system out there. I’ve run into some problems with Contena, especially in the area of rates.
I’ve learned that listings aren’t always accurate.
I applied for a gig marked in the green “high” category, and was informed my rate of 10 cents a word was double what the client was looking to pay.
Five cents a word isn’t high. That job should have been listed in the red/orange category instead.
Another gig was listed at 7 cents a word, but when I read the details, I saw that rate was incorrect.
The client actually wanted three blog posts a week for the listed price, not one.
That meant the price per word was actually in the 1-cent per word range.
Most of the rates are spot on.
However, it’s important to always verify before making assumptions.
Always read the job descriptions carefully before applying.
Do I Recommend Contena Pro Membership?
Yes. I think other freelancers can benefit from Contena Pro.
But, it’s not for everyone.
If you’re a new freelancer without money to spare, it’s probably better to keep utilizing free resources. It’s definitely possible to grow your career without paying for a job board.
Also, if you don’t plan to actually apply for gigs, you might as well save your money. You won’t make any money if you never send a pitch.
Who Is Contena For?
Freelancers actively looking from work, who have a time shortage can definitely benefit with Contena Pro.
Having job possibilities come straight to my inbox saves me a lot of time.
I love spending that time with my kids and away from my phone and computer.
Lisa Tanner is a writer for hire specializing in parenting, small business, and education. She’s lives on a farm in Washington with her husband and their seven children. Lisa spends her days homeschooling, taking care of the farm, and growing her freelance business. Also, she loves helping other moms who are struggling to balance parenting and freelancing. Check out her free e-course, Balancing Life’s Vocabulary here.
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