How “Free” Should Freelancing Be?

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When making freelance writing a primary source of income, setting standards to provide a living wage and keep your quality of life is key. Although many may view a freelance situation as a hobby or way to provide part time jobs for writers, this scenario is very different for those writers who rely on their work as a viable and reliable source of income. The life of a freelance writer is very different than that of someone who goes to a “regular” job every day and it’s difficult for others who do not understand the life to recognize the profession as one that can offer great rewards. Instead of trying to help others comprehend why the life of a professional writer is more than a part time job, writers should continue to create the job they want by setting standards that will help them maintain their income.

Many writers will say they won’t do any work under a certain pay scale, while others will take what they can get. Once writers view their work as a business, it will be easier to understand what is needed, and how to structure their schedules to meet their goals. Every writer should have a few rules to follow on setting their standards:

  • How much do you need to earn per month to keep your bills paid?
  • How much do you need to earn per month to save a little?
  • What types of jobs will you take, and what types of jobs will you turn down?
  • What is your lowest rate that you will work for?
  • How many revisions will you allow before you say no more?
  • Will you have a contract?
  • Have you determined a pay schedule?

It’s important for writers to note that while they are very serious about their work, other employers may not value their worth. Staying professional and knowing where to draw the line will help in keeping your rates competitive and your confidence high. While doing revisions is a necessary part of the equation, there are some clients that you cannot please, and when working on your own, every time a revision is done, you have to factor in the time spent and determine whether or not constant revisions on a piece are worth it.

One of the good things about freelance writing is the ability to diversify your income. Whether you are working for private clients or a content provider that offers the ability to work on a variety of pieces, you can use these streams of income to keep your revenue on the upswing. Keep in mind that freelancing means “free” in the sense that you can work anywhere, not work for free. Keeping this in the forefront of your mind and conveying it to private clients as you work for a number of platforms can help keep your eye on the prize, and your bank account in the black.

Always set and keep your standards, because freelancing shouldn’t be FREE.

Allaire W is a freelance content marketing writer with a love for the written word and a sweet tooth that turned a hobby into a business. You can frequently find her “cooking” up assignments while covered in flour or cake batter.


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