I feature a great Helium zone each week primarily because I love zones. They allow for such creativity and flexibility. The ability to create an attractive page and feature images and content that I have personally picked out (or have personally written, or photographed) generate such a good feeling of accomplishment, pride, and contentment. Unfortunately, zones are not also generating money, at least at the moment. My articles on Helium proper don't generate more than a trickle either.
That's got me thinking about what needs to happen in my fledgling writing career. For personal reasons I won't delve into, I need to make an income, however meager, from my time spent online. The sheer enjoyment of zoning does not pay my bills, nor put food on the table. Is Helium sucking the creative life out of me without paying for the privilege?
I pondered this question for some time and I am ready to share the answer with all of you. The answer is no. I'll follow that rather bald statement with 5 reasons why Helium is an awesome platform for all writers, with the exception of the already most prolific of us.
Helium has had its share of bash fests. There are complaints all over the Internet with writers screaming they were ripped off and have been treated disrespectfully, or unfairly, by Helium. As the old saying goes; believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. Helium bashing aside, there isn't a better place to begin an online writing career than Helium.com.
1. The community
The Helium community is full of real people. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people in this word are not self-serving, greedy, and ready to stab you in the back the first second it benefits them. The Helium community is ripe with helpful, kind, and giving people. Those who have advanced beyond the beginner stage are ready and willing to offer advice and commiserate with frustrated newcomers to the world of online freelance writing. In any large group of people there are, of course, the minority, who are sarcastic, impatient, and miserable. You know what they say about misery loving company!
2. The open platform
Anyone can write on Helium. The wanna-be writer can publish an article immediately after registering and agreeing to the Helium User Agreement. While we're on the subject of the User Agreement, hence lies the source of many a disgruntled ex-Heliumite. Do not ever agree to something unless you understand what you agreeing to. Now just because you can instantly get your feet wet in this open publishing platform, it doesn't mean that anything goes. Helium does not tolerate plagiarism, hate-mongering, religious intolerance, profanity, or horribly bad writing. Due to the open publishing platform, some of these do get published... temporarily. Helium constantly strives for better content and the huge team of volunteers have improved Helium considerably since its early days of 50 word posts. Combing the site for mistakes and unacceptable content is an ongoing process as we speak.
Helium has a proven track record for generating income in a variety of ways. For those writers who are confident in their skills and have no wish to utilize the social opportunities of Helium, the Helium Marketplace provides regular opportunities for a writer to provide publisher requested material. The contests are available for those who like the competition, and for those who just want to write, the more articles you have on Helium, the more earning potential there is. For others who need to fine tune their writing skills, or have never written for an online format before, mentors and workshops are available.
A writer is free to make whatever choices that suit their lifestyle and availability. A minimum amount of participation is required in order to make a continual stream of income from Helium, but few things in life are any different. The modern day version of snake oil salesmen are everywhere promising to show you how to make money by doing little, or nothing. The truth is; we reap what we sow and an online income is no different than any other. If you don't apply yourself and work hard and consistently, you won't make any money.
Helium started out as a different online writing site and it remains so today. CEO Mark Ranalli is dedicated to the constant improvement of Helium. At times, the constant changes can be nerve wracking for even the most dedicated Heliumite, but the bottom line is; Mr Ranalli is the driving force behind Helium. His vision of what can be achieved never falters and the changes at Helium are only a means to an end. Don't miss the end!
The future of Helium knows no bounds. Give it a chance to develop and mature and in the mean time... keep writing!