Archives for April 2013

Freelance Writers: 3 Services I See a Growing Need for Over the Next Few Years That You Can Start Offering NOW

In the last post on SeoWritingJobs.com (this site’s sister site), I gave some insight I shared in the SEO writing seminar I had here in Jamaica last week. In that post, we discussed how “building a community” is critical to your success as an online entrepreneur (which is what you are as a freelance writer these days basically)….

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Freelance Writers: How to Identify Problem Clients and What to Do If You Find Yourself Stuck with One

The following is a guest post by Laura Pennington.

Over the past year as a freelance writer, I’ve worked with around 100 different clients, taking on a bit of everything — from one-off blog posts, to white papers, to ebooks. Some clients have been a complete dream to work for; the kind you truly enjoy cultivating relationships with and taking their phone calls….

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Freelance Writing Advice on How to Stay Motivated: First-hand Insight from a Freelancer with 20 Years of Experience

I’ve been freelancing since 1993 – a full two decades. Some days it seems twice as long as this, but for the most part, time has flown pretty quickly. Back in February, I received the following email from a reader of this blog who holds down a full-time job and freelances on the side. She wrote, in part:…

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Why I Took on a Low-Paying Writing Job & Hated Every Minute of It! Reminders for New Freelance Writers, Desperate Freelance Writers & Others Who May Be Tempted by Low-Paying Gigs

The following is an editorial by Nina Lews of Nina Online.

I finally got my dream writing gig. It was perfect; it was in the industry that I wanted it to be in, the topic I wanted to write about and I had the passion for it. I mean this was a gig that I have been waiting for my entire writing career.

No more writing about lumber and transportation; I finally got a chance to write about something that truly matters. There was only one problem; the gig was low–paying — and I mean very low pay for what the client wanted.

At first, I didn’t care about the pay because I thought that this type of writing job would be a perfect addition to my writing portfolio. However, that all changed when the client called me and started to question me on my already low–rate (which was less than $100!).

“How Dare They Call Me and Question My Already Low Freelance Writing Rates!”

One Freelancer Reveals the REAL Cost of Taking on Low-Paying Freelance Writing GigsI thought I was in the twilight zone. I mean . . . REALLY — is this person really calling me to challenge me on my already low rates! It struck a nerve — a real big nerve with me. I couldn’t believe it.

I wanted to explain that I usually charge around $500 for this service and I know many of my colleagues would probably charge at least $1,000. I should have said that right then and there. But I didn’t. I just bit my tongue and took on the project . . . with a healthy amount of resentment, mind you.

I sulked and sulked some more. I couldn’t believe that I had just taken on a project where the client challenged me on my already freelance writing rates.

I started to question myself, thinking, “Do they not think I am worthy of more?”

Then I had to remind myself – hey, you’ve had $1,000 days as a freelance writer.

You have clients who don’t flinch when you quote them a fair market rate on writing projects.

You have monthly recurring income from social media clients who sometimes pay you three to six months in advance.

In short, “You’re worthy!

The Conversation I Had with Myself about Taking on Low-Paying Writing Jobs

This little talk had me really talking to myself, ie:

Nina after this, you have to get a tougher skin. You are not a starving writer anymore; you have proven yourself and you have been in this game for 5 years. Now is not the time to start people pleasing!! You are a bona fide business, and you have rent to pay. You are no longer sleeping on your sister’s couch!”

How I Went about Handling This Particular Job – Some Lessons for All Freelance Writers about Taking on Low-Paying Gigs

There were a few times that I thought about calling the client and saying, “You know what? I don’t want to do this project.”

Yes, I could have increased my fees, but I knew this client would have gone elsewhere. (I should have let them do just that!). When it came time to doing the actual writing the project, following is what I did.

  1. Procrastinated . . . Like Hell! Even though this was my dream writing gig, the only thing that played in the back (heck, front!) of my mind is how dare the client challenge me on a low rate for such a semi-complex project that they needed in a such a short time.

    Therefore, when it came time to write, I would always find something else to do. Whether it was update my own website, manage a client’s account, market my blogging course, call a friend, or go for a walk, I avoided writing this assignment like the plague.

  2. Didn’t Enjoy the Process. While I was doing research, all I could think about is, “I should be getting paid at least a few hundred dollars for this. Why oh why did I take on this work?” I would research, jot down notes and then focus my attention elsewhere.

    I tried my best to say, “Nina, just use this as your portfolio sample.” But, my pride got the best of me. I didn’t care.My thought process was — they are only paying me peanuts, so I am not going to go above and beyond of what they need.

    If they were paying me what I was worth, I would have gone into LexisNexis, took a trip to the university library and dug up information that couldn’t be found on the web.

    But every moment of this project as I put my pen to paper, all I could think was, “I need to be marketing; I am losing money by doing this work.”I simply couldn’t wait until the project was over.

  3. Handed in Mediocre Work. While I like to provide clients with the best work possible, this wasn’t the case.

    Now don’t get me wrong, my work was good, but it could have been much better than what I turned in.As I was writing, there were things that came up where I could have done more in-depth research and got into the nitty gritty of the subject matter, but the voice of “you are only getting paid peanuts” played over and over again in my head.

    I just couldn’t bring myself to the point where I was going to give them my best. I had the mindset of “they’re paying me peanuts, they’re getting peanuts.

It took me 10 hours to complete this project. This included research, thinking about angles, outlining, writing, editing, fact checking and citing sources.

I didn’t even charge enough to outsource some of the editing and fact checking tasks. Let’s just say I profited negative $500 for this project. Lesson learned, ie, don’t take on low-paying work that is going to cost you more than you earn.

In closing, I recently started following a big time person in social media who shared a piece of advice that can apply to every business. I am paraphrasing a little, but she said something along the lines of:

If people have to challenge you on you rates, they are not the right clients for you.”

I understand that people like to negotiate, and that’s fine. However, I think negotiating on a price under $100 is absurd.

The Real Cost of Low-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

With that being said, I am going to have tougher skin and learn how to say NO!!!! Take it from a professional people pleaser, when you say yes all the time, you will never grow and wonder why you are still broke.

Share Your Thoughts and Experiences on Freelance Writing

Have you ever taken on a freelance writing project that you regretted — low-paying or otherwise? Please share in the comments section below.

Want to submit a guest post / editorial?

About the Author: Nina Lewis is Founder and President of Nina Online, LLC, a Social Media & Content Marketing Firm. She and her team of talented, online rock stars help small- and medium-sized businesses build relationships, rapport and connection with their ideal audiences via social media, online press releases and various forms of content marketing. To discover 5 Sizzling Secrets to Writing Hot Web Copy That Sells, visit http://www.ninaonlinelv.com to get instant access to her F^R^E^E report.

P.S.: Wondering what to charge for online writing jobs like blogging jobs, SEO writing jobs, social media posting jobs, etc. Now you don’t have to!


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Freelance Writing Contract & Confidentiality Agreement (Fully Customizable)

Have you ever wondered about a freelance contract? Wish there was a template that you could use so you don’t have to worry about all the legalese? Now there is….

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