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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Professional Pay Please

When it comes to freelance writing, I have never been too proud to write for peanuts or even for free, but it's time for that to stop. Writing for free has helped me to promote myself as a writer. The articles I have written are still driving traffic to my website. I have also used them to land writing gigs. Writing for peanuts has helped me to pay the bills (when I write very fast) but it is not a good long term career strategy. Not only will I lose interest in writing, but I am likely to burn out quickly. So I need to earn more money from writing.

And why not? After all, I have 20 years' experience of writing for newspapers and magazines. I have been writing good web content of all kinds for the last two years. Sometimes it seems that I have written about every topic under the sun. Although I haven't really, my expertise includes writing on writing, online business, consumer finance, parenting, blogging, promotion and much more. So I think it's fair to say that I have something to offer to my writing clients. In addition, I write quickly, my work is virtually error free and I'm great at following a brief.

That's why I think I should earn more than one cent a word for my writing. I had an experience this week where someone outsourced a project I had given them to writers who were being paid half a cent a word (!). While I'm surprised the writers took it, I am not surprised that the quality of the work was poor.

To be honest, even on one cent a word jobs, I like to maintain my standards, but I won't give the job as much care as if you pay me a living wage. That's why I've decided to actively seek better paying work, where I get a professional rate of pay for a professional job.

And clients like the work they get as a result. One of my recent clients said he had rarely worked with a writer who got his brief so well. He also signed his email with kisses, because he was so happy. And that's the difference you get when you pay the right rate for the job. Am I the only freelance writer who feels this way?

4 comments:

Dana Prince said...

I am SO in agreement with you. I signed on with an agency once paying a half cent a word and I couldn't believe the work and formatting they wanted for that pay. They had such a vast network that I'm sure they were paid decent but had to pay two or three people to hand the work down to the lowly paid 50 writers on staff and needless to say I did two assignments for them and then got smart enough to back away.

Anyway, I'm of the same mindset..that people should get what they pay for and that's a problem for me when I am underpaid because when I don't enjoy what I'm doing or feel good about the money I'm earning, I burn out and start disliking my work. And, I feel like I'm putting out substandard work sometimes although if I read it a week after I've finished the job, usually I end up feeling like they got more than what they paid for. I guess that's what keeps those jobs coming in, that I do give them their money's worth. I'm hopeful that karma will pay me back with some good work.

When my subjects are fairly interesting and the pay is half way decent, I can't wait to get out of bed in the morning.

I don't have 20 years experience though so feel like I've been sort of paying my dues. I've learned a lot and have made some great contacts. One of my lower paying gigs treats me amazing though. They pay fast, give me as much work as I can handle and have been wonderful to work with.

One of my better paying jobs is one I have to constantly chase for payment.

My best paying job is fine but requires so much work from me that it ends up being a mid-level paying job because of the effort required. I must say though, that work is the most rewarding to read back to myself at the end of the day.

I've been talking for a while about trading up for better work but it hasn't happened for me yet. Since you're such a great mentor, I'm hoping to continue to learn from you and watch you trade up the penny jobs.

Cheers,
Dana

BloggingWriter said...

Watch this space, Dana. I've already landed a couple of better paying clients, but nowhere enough to give up the low paid work completely. Like you, I feel some of my clients get more than they pay for. Since I always do a professional job, why not do it for ten times the money? Ten cents a word still isn't a lot, I have to say, but it beats the heck out of one cent a word.

Dana Prince said...

Ten cents a word? That's a dream, lol.
Seriously, my current best paying client is about 2.5 but I have to do Chicago citation and write work that is almost good enough for a medical journal so I dream of even five cents a word, lol.

If you get an excess of ten cents a word gigs, feel free to sub some out to me for five and we'll both win. LOL.

BloggingWriter said...

A girl's gotta dream, but if I have overflow work at that rate, you're top of my list to get it :)