Note to all companies – stop being so feedback needy!

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I’m all for shopping online, but the constant request for feedback is making me growl at my screen. All the companies are becoming so needy and it’s awfully tiresome!

How did we do? Would you recommend us? Give us a score out of 10. How likely are you to use us again? Did we meet your expectations today?

The questions arrive by email and text message, sometimes just moments after you have placed the order.

For goodness sake. I ordered cornflakes, they arrived, they tasted just as a cornflake should. End of. I don’t have the time in my busy day to give you a rating. Stop asking. Believe me, you will hear if I’m not happy.

I understand that they want to know how they are doing. But I’ve worked in these places and it’s all about their targets, it’s so they can prove they’ve achieved their objectives. It enables them to quote ‘98% of our customers said they’d recommend us to a friend’. Then, the head of customer experience moves on to bigger and better things. They don’t really give much of a damn about me as an individual.

Next time maybe I should email in – ‘How did I do today? Did I shop well? Did I buy what you wanted me to buy? Did I spend the desired amount of time on the page? Did I add to your conversion rates?

More is not more. Send the occasional feedback request and I might want to fill it in. Ask me endlessly, and I just get cross.











Working for Textbroker

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I have been able to pick up at least two articles a day on Text broker this week to help wth my new ‘working from home’ lifestyle. There is usually something on there I can write, although some days the pickings are a little on the slim side.

Textbroker is an online service that matches those who need an article, with those who want to write them. They attract orders from all kinds of clients, from little local companies who need a single landing page, to huge chains who need so much content it has to be spread around (think eBay, Zalando etc).

To become a writer you create an account for yourself and are required to submit a piece of your own writing. I wrote about my home town, which seems to be a popular one. There are some instructions which you must follow, and then your work gets marked. You need good grammar, an interesting turn of phrase and to be able to do what is in the brief. A degree in journalism is not required.

Once your article has been viewed, you will either be rejected (often because they have too many authors) or accepted with a rating. It seems a lot of authors get given a three rating to being with, which allows you to accept jobs that have been requested as a grade three or lower. The higher the grade, the bigger the fee. As you prove yourself, you can ask to be upgraded to a 4 rating, but to get to a 5 you must pass a rather difficult grammar test which has so far eluded me – and many others I understand)

Once you are in, then you can view the jobs on offer and decide whether to accept and write them, or move on to the next one. The jobs often only last a few minutes before another writer snaps them up. Sometimes there will be lots of orders, other times there is only one sitting there. I tend to pick things I have some knowledge of because it requires less of your time researching the subject. The articles needed can be product descriptions – a favourite of mine, or blogs, or reviews. Often, I cannot really understand where the client is coming from so I skip by. Their descriptions are either too vague, or so complicated it makes my head hurt. As I trust there will be more jobs to choose from soon, I just don’t bother with these (note to text broker clients – explain what it is you want – but don’t write so much detail that the instructions are longer than the required article and you leave the writer’s creative spirit with no where to go).

When you have written your piece, and carefully proofread it, you upload it onto the textbroker website where it is checked automatically for plagiarism and offered to the client. The client reads it and accepts it or asks for changes. When the client accepts it, the fee immediately goes into your account, and you can ask for a withdrawal once your account reaches 10 Euros (yes you get paid in Euros). You get paid per word, so the longer the article, the more you receive. Most articles I pick up attract a payment of 5 to 7 Euros, so I reach the pay-out threshold in two articles. The cash goes into your Paypal account the next Friday.

Now the payment you receive is not great, but you get paid per word and you can be paid every Friday. I argue that there are few online jobs where you can write, if you get stuck in, day or night, and rack up a hundred Euros with ease, then get the cash on Friday. There have been many times over the last four years when I have done this to help with a big bill, Christmas or a holiday.

I have written my own review of Textbroker, GreatContent and Copify. These are places you can earn money writing online. These are the services I have actually written for and received the payment many times, and I continue to use them today. Please take a look at my article on ToughNickel. (yes I get a tiny per-click payment if you read this article – so thank you in advance!)



Thank you, thank you!


I received a thank you card in the post yesterday. It really made my day. The envelope was handwritten with actual stamps on it – the joy! You get so few of these nowadays! Inside was quite a long message, written in ink and with lots of personal phrases that made it extra special. I was so delighted I wanted to write a thank you note for my thank you note. But I thought ‘where will it all end?’ so I stopped myself.

I also found a new rhythm to my gig way of living. I woke up early due to the unusual heat we are experiencing, and wrote my first little article by 7.30am. Then I took the hubster to the station three miles away (we have decided to save the £5.20 per day parking charge as I now have time to drop him and pick him up) and did my chores in town first thing. That left the majority of the day to write a few bits. I also made a delicious salad for lunch and dinner, minus any meat to save some pennies. I chopped carefully and truly made the dish with love – and it tasted all the better for it.

I’ve listed a pair of shoes on eBay that I have only worn twice because they are too narrow in the toes. There is no point in leaving them in the wardrobe any longer. Oh the things you can do when you have time to think.

Lazy Sunday afternoon.

Sunday didn’t go so well from an earning point of view. I got up early enough, but then flopped my way around the flat for a while, watched Andrew Marr’s Show, took a long shower and tidied up a bit.

I forced myself to focus around 11.30am so picked up an article on Textbroker that asked for a description of the Kiddy company. Euros 8.50 earned.

Before lunch I went outside and washed the car. My train of thought reasoned that, it’s one thing to earn money in the gig economy, but I could also save a bit here and there too. So, instead of paying seven quid for a nice young chappy to hand wash my car at one of those places they have in supermarket car parks, I’d do it myself for free. It took a bit more effort than I thought it would, but my car came up shiny enough. And I got away from a screen for 45 minutes.

I had been invited to a bring-and-share lunch with all the flat owners where I live, so I took along my couscous salad and chicken kebabs around 1 o’clock. And spend the rest of the afternoon sitting in the garden with the lovely residents. Much better than working any day.

Day two: earned £7.50 running total= £19.50

Amount not spent £7.00


Day one complete. Gig goal met.

The first day of my official gig living was OK on reflection. It was a Saturday, so my initial thought was ‘yay – it’s the weekend’ but then the reality dawned. Avoiding the nine-to-five doesn’t mean you get weekends off – it means you are open to work whatever the day, date or time. Gulp. Humph.

Having resolved myself to this new way of life, I checked which is my go-to place of online work. I’ve used it for the last four years to earn a little extra for holidays, Christmas and birthdays. Textbroker is a content mill, loathed by some but embraced by many. Here, members can pick up bits of writing work (the kind of thing that is needed by websites but is pretty easy to pen) and get paid a few Euros. For gig workers it is a good source of work –  it’s open 24-hours, there is usually something to work on, and you get paid for your work within a few days. I found a 600-worder ‘please write a blog piece about getting ready to sell your home’. No sweat. Every time you open a property blog, something similar can be found and I’ve read many of them before. Of course, each article written for Textbroker has to be unique, so I write from memory adding some of my own tips, and 600 words is written in half an hour. I always walk away, and do something else like put some washing in the machine, then proofread it before loading it onto the online plagiarism checker. Done. Roughly six quid in UK money will hit my account soon (should the client accept it – and they usually do).

So I picked up another and then called it a day. I might not work Monday to Friday, but a lot of other people do so there are more folks around and there’s fun stuff to do.

I am calling this a success because I did do some work, and I’ve earned a few quid. To work out how well I am doing, I guess a running total should be kept.

Day one = Money earned £12

I’ve joined the gig economy. What now?

And so it begins …

Life has changed so much in recent months – all self inflicted it has to be said. First of all, I moved from Hertfordshire to Kent with the hubster to start a new adventure. Why? Well, we’re not good at letting the grass grow under our feet. I have a very low boredom threshold and that includes my homes. The children have all fledged successfully, and we needed new territory to explore. So off to Kent we went.

We chose to set up home in a converted, listed mansion house. We lugged our belongings up to the third floor flat we have rented for 12 months, and promptly heaved much of it back down again because (funnily enough) the contents of a three-bed semi won’t fit into a two-bed flat. So for the time being at least, we are enjoying life in a grand old house that includes  splendid gardens, an outdoor pool and an under-used tennis court. And a garage full of our stuff that we don’t have room for.

Of course, the bills still need to be paid. What a bore. So I need to find employment of some kind or another. And I’ve decided to try my hand at ‘doing bits’. (This is a phrase stolen from a young friend Ross – but used in a totally different context, just to be clear.) So – I’m investigating the gig economy. Having successfully written a few articles for HubPages which pays me a few dollars a day, I am going to see if I can add to this so I can swerve the nine-to-five.