Recently a few of my fellow freelancers and I (we have a sweet Taylor Swift-style squad with only a few less Victoria’s Secret angels than the real thing) were reminiscing about “the old days.” Specifically one of my most productive pals had brought up the crappy, low-paying jobs she took when first starting out as a freelancer. The giggles and empathetic groans poured in from the rest of us; we remembered only too well what it was like to work all day and get paid only to realize we could barely afford the coffee we mainlined just to churn out the last 10 hours of content.
It’s funny to remember how naïve we were back then, but it’s also painful. Once you set the price-per-word too low, it’s a struggle of Atlas-like proportions to push your rate up to what’s actually considered a livable wage. Learn from me and my super squad with these tips for recognizing your self-worth and helping clients to see it too:
Set a Standard and Stick to It
When you’re first looking at the benefits of part time writing jobs from home it can seem like every dime you earn is extra. Most people don’t start out writing full time; instead, they’re supplementing their “real world” income with a few jobs here and there as they
start to build portfolio and gradually get their keyboards wet in the vast ocean that is content writing. This is super important: Just because you can afford to write for less doesn’t mean you can actually afford to write for less! The rate you give clients now is very likely to stick. Ask yourself the following:
- What will I make hourly? Most freelancers charge by the word, but not all projects are the same as far as effort, research, and the time it will take to write those words. Figure out what you need to make hourly, calculate how long a particular order or project will take, and do some freelancer math (using your fingers is totally acceptable).
- What do I offer that’s bigger/better/different? Do you have niche qualifications that set you apart from your competition? Have you been published somewhere important or do you have awesome recommendations you can show potential clients?
- How can I up my perceived value? Remind clients that there’s more to you than churning out a certain amount of words per dollar. You’re available for rewrites, you answer emails promptly, you’ll find worthwhile keywords or source free images: whatever you can do at relatively low cost to yourself that adds value for them may give you the edge you need to get the pay you deserve.
Work to Live, Even if You Live for Your Work
Life is one big game full of compromises and trade-offs, and freelancing is no exception. A common squad commiseration is the unavoidable urge to claim all the work!!!! Even if it doesn’t come with all the pay…. When you’re tempted by the 2 cpw blogs that aren’t even with the electricity your laptop will use to write them, ask yourself whether whatever you’re going to buy with that $6 is worth it.
Several years later, I can tell you it most definitely was not.
5-Star writer Alana M is A smart and savvy writer, armed with a unique perspective and quick wit.