Don't Be a Cheap Freelance Writer!

Jan 24 11:32 2008 Kathleen Poole Print This Article

Do you sell your writing for practically nothing? Do you respond to online "freelance banks" that promise the astonishing payment of $25 for a 500-word article, $100 for a print brochure or 59 cents per word? It may seem tempting to take on these cheap jobs.

Immediately stop selling yourself so cheap! If you have any writing talent at all,Guest Posting you deserve much, much more than many of those freelance-writing sites can offer.

It may seem tempting to take on these cheap jobs. You may think a little money is better than no money at all. But the time you spend writing a cheap article or e-zine could be much better spent looking for better paying jobs. They really are out there.

Do you really want to spend four hours writing an article that will bring you only $50? Your hourly rate would be a dismal $12.50. Even if you managed to work like that for 40 hours a week, which is extremely unlikely, your annual revenue would be $25,000 at the most, assuming you took a two-week vacation.

How well can you live on $25,000? As a freelance writer, will you be able to pay your own health insurance (which may be $500 or more per month)? Will you have enough money to promote your business and bring in high-paying clients? Will you ever save for retirement or your children's college educations or your dream home? Will you ever pay off your debt? It's much less likely that you can do any of these things if you continue to be a cheap writer.

The Internet is loaded with dozens of sites promising you all kinds of freelance work once you register (often for a fee). Many of these sites, though certainly not all, exploit young, inexperienced or desperate writers. Worst of all, they make it very difficult for good, decent, talented writers to make a comfortable living at their craft. Why should a client pay savvy Writer A $800 for a website article when cheap Writer B will do it for $30?

Here's a typical scenario: Someone needs something written and heads for the Internet. They post their job on these cheapo sites and wait for the lowest possible bidders. These whippersnappers who think they can make good money cranking out $30 articles or $100 brochures shut out the experienced writers –the ones who know what their services are worth –. The truth is, you will never, ever be a prosperous writer if you accept low rates. In fact, you probably will be a miserable writer who will not last long as a freelancer.

As long as the world is filled with cheap writers, it's much harder for the rest of us to prosper. So I am imploring cheap writers to increase their prices. You will be pleasantly surprised when most clients will not balk at higher fees. You may find you get higher paying work because people perceive that you offer greater value when you change more.

"Won't I lose a lot of clients if I raise my fees?" Yes, that's possible. But without cheap clients in your way, you are freer to find and cultivate relationships with bigger fish–communications directors in large companies, creative directors at medium- and large-size ad agencies, companies that need to revamp their written communications so they can be more visible, accessible and prosperous. Imagine all you can do for them!

Many writers who want to prosper will be more than happy to help you price your services in line with the going rates, your value to your clients, and the benefits your writing can bring. You really do have negotiating power – a skill that can be learned. And remember, you have something the client wants: expert writing. The art of negotiating can be taught, and it's really worth a little coaching to make sure you are paid what you are worth.

Bottom line: If a writer is willing to receive $25 or $50 or $100 for a 500-word article, that writer is not professional and has no idea how to be a successful freelance writer. Many clients will know you are green and will take advantage of your cheap prices. A cheap writer cannot be a prosperous writer without a complete shift in thinking and acting.

Protect your rights as a writer. Talk to people who know about these things. And above all, don't cheapen yourself and other professional writers by accepting writing assignments that pay a pittance. It hurts all of us, it hurts the profession and it hurts you.

For a reasonable estimate of writing, editing and related fees, click on this link: Writer's Market 2008. You may charge more than the fees stated in this book if you have extensive experience in or knowledge of the industry. Also, some geographical areas more easily accept higher fees. In a later article I will talk about how to negotiate the best price for a freelance writing assignment.

In the meantime, give yourself a much-deserved raise in 2008! You may find yourself getting more high-quality clients!

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Kathleen Poole
Kathleen Poole

© 2008 by ProClarity, Inc. All Rights Reserved in all media. Kathy Poole has had a highly profitable freelance copywriting business since 1985. As a Writer's Coach, she helps other writers prosper financially, create freely and live passionately. For more information, resources and inspiration, visit This article may be copied and distributed in its entirety and without alteration, if accompanied by this paragraph.

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