I have signed up for nDash and spent some time on the platform, but will refrain from giving it a star rating yet, due to reasons explained further below.
nDash is a platform designed for professional writers and content creators to connect with clients who want high-quality services. You don’t get to just sign up to be an nDash writer; you have to apply, and they review your LinkedIn profile and qualifications before they approve you. They also have a Code of Conduct, so to speak; they want you to be open and transparent on the platform, and offer the same. They encourage you to update your LinkedIn with your affiliation on that network, use your real name and credentials, and recruit clients to hire you through the platform. You get a referral bonus when people do use the platform to hire you as a writer.
While nDash does include client-written requests for content, they only amount to about 5% of the work that takes place on the platform. The platform relies on professional writers to pitch content ideas to clients, selling their content ideas and their services to clients.
What’s Great About nDash
For a writer, nDash has a lot to offer, and it’s an exciting evolution in online writing marketplaces.
- High quality clients. nDash has an impressive client roster, with big brands and prestigious companies. It has a lot of agency clients who value content as a part of their inbound strategies.
- Excellent rates. Unlike many other platforms (I’m looking at you, Upwork), nDash not only encourages writers to charge high rates, but actually prevents you from underbidding. Their writer guidelines and online platform strive to prevent writers from decreasing their rates to compete for projects, encouraging writers to compete instead with better ideas, better sources, and higher-quality writing.
- Good user experience. The platform gives writers a lot of information, both in the form of pdfs and support materials about pricing, pitching, and landing clients, but it also has a good experience in terms of identifying clients, understanding what they are looking for, and your chances of success with that company.
- Excellent rates. Their pricing guidelines encourage high standards and are appropriate for high-quality, professional writing.
- Great clients. Their roster of clients is deep and the clients are good, reputable brands and companies.
- No fees. On nDash, clients pay the fees, instead of writers paying the fees.
- Good support. They offer a lot of resources for writers, to help you understand the platform, and create some consistency among writers in pricing and pitching
- Pitching. The model of nDash is that writers research a client, their audience, their voice, and their preferences, and pitch content ideas to them. You come up with a piece of content you think the client would be interested in, and then use the nDash form to describe the content, the tone, the references, the time frame, the rate, and anything else that would help “sell” them on your idea. They have good resources to support writers in crafting good pitches. To be fair, pitching is a key skill for professional writers, and writers do it all the time. However, I don’t like pitching and am not good at it. This is why, despite months of being fairly active on the platform, I haven’t had a single job from it. From my perspective, it requires an enormous time investment to craft a good pitch. You have to identify:
- What kind of content is appropriate for the brand
- Who their audience is and what they want in content
- What’s the right tone and style for the brand
- What have they not already covered in their existing content
- How to craft a pitch that would be most persuasive for them
For me personally, that takes an incredible amount of time, and, if the pitch doesn’t result in a post, it’s a waste of time. I understand that it’s worth doing, and a skill worth building, in order to make the most money as a writer, but… but I’m a better writer than I am a salesperson.
- Payment through Stripe. This isn’t a huge con, but you have to use Stripe for nDash payments. Stripe isn’t as convenient or ubiquitous as PayPal (and I should probably write a Stripe vs PayPal post), and it would be easier if there were alternate ways to cash out your nDash earnings.
- Lack of feedback. I think what frustrated me most with nDash is that, when my pitches weren’t successful, I didn’t understand why. It would have been easier for me to learn from my mistakes and refine my approach if I had some feedback or insight into what I was doing wrong.
nDash is Recommended For:
nDash is recommended for professional writers who are comfortable pitching. It’s much easier to get work on the platform if you have a specific niche and a lot of samples and expertise in that niche, as clients will be evaluating YOU as well as your pitch.
It’s a fantastic platform for writers who want a lot of control over the kind of work they do, the clients they work for, and the scope of their work. During the pitch, you can explain exactly what you are offering and exactly what it will cost, so it’s a great way to define and predict your work, rather than allowing clients to define and control the work.
nDash is Not Recommended For:
It’s not a good platform for people who are new to online writing, or who don’t have a good portfolio and ability to sell themselves to clients.
Tips for Success with nDash:
As with all other freelance writing platforms, write an excellent, targeted profile that will help nDash clients understand immediately who you are and what you offer.
Keep pitching. Don’t do what I did and give up too soon. It’s worth the investment in perfecting and refining your pitches in order to earn the really good rates available on nDash.
I can’t help but notice that nDash has picked up a bunch of clients who I recognize from Blogmutt/Verblio. It makes sense that a certain type of client, particularly inbound agencies, graduate to nDash over time, because the platform has higher standards for writers, and because they get to outsource the creative. On most platforms, the burden is on the client to continually think of new content and manage creation and delivery. On nDash, clients get to wait for writers to come up with ideas. It’s worth the higher rates for an inbound agency to go this route.
I think nDash is a fantastic platform for professional writers, and gives them the rates and respect they deserve. My own lack of success isn’t a fault with the platform, it’s just an outcome of the way that I prefer to work.