Archive for the ‘Freelancers’ Category

So as most of you have probably guessed, I’m a writer of sorts. Not a lot of people can be a writer, and especially not a freelance writer. Of course there are different types of writers. You’ve got your SEO writers, your creative writers, your proofreaders….well I can go on and list a lot of different niches when it comes to writing. And as I previously mentioned, not everyone can be a writer. And it’s even more rare when a writer can take on the guise of many different topics or niches. Can you write an SEO article, and then turn around and ghost write a novel? Maybe. But the difference is the technical aspect of writing, and the creative aspect. Some people are really good at one or the other. I’ve had my hand in both and am writing some short e-book series that I hope to publish in the spring. I’ve also written web content on everything from lawyers, health and nutrition, plastic surgeons, and I’ve even written content related to a steel pipe company. Let me tell you how exciting it is to talk about scrap metal. OK, let’s save that for never.

I swear to you that I am trying to get to my point. It’s stuck somewhere in that speeding brain of mine that types a brisk 85wpm.

If you are a writer, then you need to look at your strengths and your weaknesses. You need to decide what types of things you like to write about. What do you have a passion for? If it’s being creative and telling stories (I’m a great story-teller) then doing some ghost writing for novels can pay pretty well. The hard part is landing those jobs. So if you have something you have written yourself as an example, then you will likely get better leads for those kinds of jobs. And how much should you get paid for something like this? Well that depends on the client of course. There are a ton of clients that will try to get their writing done for them as cheaply as possible. I always tell these people the same thing: ‘You want cheap results, go for cheap writing.’ Sometimes this puts some kind of fire under their butts and pisses them off, or they level with you and say ‘you know…you are right’. Small Novella…. I won’t take less than $500 cash to write something that can potentially make the client 10 or 15 times more. For some people it’s all about greed and for some, it’s honestly their budget. If so, make a deal on Elance or with some Escrow that you will write the novel and when it sells, the client can pay you the rest.

Let’s get to the articles stuff. Ugh. OK…if you have read my other posts about writing articles, and creating content for websites, then you understand I just totally despise this part of the freelance writing business. And if you have not read this, then I will tell you that writing 500 word articles for someone and getting paid $5 for it just plain sucks. I won’t do it anymore. I pleaded with the last guy I was a slave for; ‘give me at least $10 man’ and he wouldn’t do it. So he had to find another reliable writer after having a killer writer for over a year. If you are hand writing articles, doing all the research, and writing a decent article that doesn’t sound like it was written by Punjab from India (no offense dudes) then you should be asking $20 per 500 words. It’s the people that TAKE the jobs that ruin this article writing field for the rest of us. As Riddick says in one Chronicles of Riddick…’You made three mistakes, first; you took the job’. Yeah, well I say this now all the time I see some freelancer from Philippines offering $2-$5 for 500-700 words. Freelance writing is not some sweatshop clown show. You’re a professional….stop taking peanuts for quality work you provide.

I can hear you saying but but but. Look, there are no buts. Find what you are good at, create excellent examples you can show your clients, and charge them what you should. I do it. I stopped taking junk work, and now I am getting paid minimum $0.10 per word. Yeah you read that right. There ARE clients who are willing to pay for quality, well written work.

And in case you are wondering what I am doing, I’m currently in the niche of writing product descriptions. Yes, I write the magic words that get people to want to buy that shiny new thing they’ve wanted since last Xmas. And because I know what appeals to people, and how to make even the not so coolest product shine (trust me I have had to painfully write about a terrible product) I get paid very well for product descriptions. My usual fee is $350 min for 50 product descriptions of 70-150 words each. That’s 7500 words total max and well…you do the math on that one. I can write these in 2-3 days at my leisure and $350 for a few days easy work is not bad pay. I am also looking to get out of this niche too, but I am climbing the ladder and finally getting where I want to: Guest blogging. That is why I started this personal blog. My goal is to get to $3000 per month in guest blogging in 3 months and I am here to tell you it can be done. I’m watching mediocre writers make this kind of money now.

Is it all about money? Sort of…I mean ask yourself deep down inside…is it really about the money? Sure. But it’s also about what you are worth and how you are selling yourself short if you are getting paid $5 per 500 words. There are people out there that will take advantage of you…don’t let it happen. Put fear aside and tell yourself ‘someone will pay me what I am worth’. Don’t take some scrap job for $20 writing 10 articles. You’ll just keep repeating that and getting burned out. And secondly, and I think most importantly…it’s the freedom that being a freelancer affords you. I work where I want, and when I want. I just make sure to meet those deadlines.

By the way, it’s Christmas…so I wish everyone a happy one and a happy New Year in 2015. I know things are going to change drastically for me, for the better, and I hope they will change for the better for you as well.

Until next time….

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It’s my very first post. I created this blog because this epidemic needs to be stopped. And while I might go on rambling, and stray off the point here and there, I am sure that I will nail this thing, and many other freelancer writers will agree. So what is my point? As you can see from my headline, which is SEO optimized in some part of cyberspace, I am here to make some sort of statement or complaint. And that simply is: Freelance writers are being taken advantage of and are offered terrible wages for the content they produce. And I am certain that most of the clients don’t even know that they are doing this. What are they doing you ask? How about offering $2 for a 500 word article or even worse, one lousy $1 most of the time.

I think that the majority of clients who are looking for quality content do not realize that their content is the MOST important thing when it comes to their website. I get the feeling reading some of these job postings on Elance, that they must think their website is golden just because it looks nice and has a nice logo. What they don’t seem to realize is that their website content is going to either make or break them. Quality content is researched content. It is also content that is written with Search Engine Optimization in mind. I was taught how to write this content by experienced writers who knew exactly how headlines should be written, what words had to go into H tags (HTML tags), and how many keywords should be used per 500 words or ‘keyword density.

Back to my clients; They just do not understand this. And asking someone to write 15 pages of 500 words for $15 is ludicrous. Clients: You are asking for someone with no experience that has no idea what they are doing. They either live in India or the Philippines and have no idea what they are doing…please no offense to these people. I am sure some of them work very hard, but in truth they are a big part of the problem. They accept these wages and bring down the whole idea of VALUE and QUALITY, and throw it in the trash can. You can get someone to write 500 words of content for your website for $1. But be prepared to have someone else write this over again when their copy doesn’t get you ranked in the search engines. Be prepared to have a professional create the tone you were looking for that accurately describes your business or services, and be prepared to have someone rewrite your content that has proper grammar, spelling, and sentence structure that doesn’t make the reader fall asleep.

A revolution has to happen my fellow writers. There are a few things you can do to help this and stop this problem. I know there are clients out there that DO realize the value of paying more for website content that is awesome. So what do we do?

  1. Stop taking jobs for so little money. Just stop this now. If you are starving, I understand, and maybe you should find at least some part time work elsewhere. When you take jobs for so little money you are doing injustice to yourself as a qualified writer, and you will be setting the bar low for everyone else around you. Would you sell one of your eyeballs for $5? No? Then why are you selling your hard earned and learned talent for so little? And another thing: Do not take jobs for little money to just get feedback. There are smart people online offering feedback and VERY little money if you will write quality content for them. That feedback for the $1 article you just wrote…just tells everyone else what kind of prices they can expect from you. Do you want to advertise your low wages?
  2. Raise your prices. Wait…? Did you just say ‘Raise your prices’? You bet your sweet hiney I did. When you show on your Elance, Guru, oDesk, or whatever online profile you have, that you have a cost of $35 an hour, you show yourself as being a professional who knows what they are doing. You show everyone your expertise and your true worth. You bring curiosity to clients who wonder why you charge so much money. Again…why do we charge so much? Because ‘content is king’ and it makes or breaks a website. Why someone would want to trust $1 content to $30 content is beyond me.
  3. Write the best quality content. If you have been writing for some time and you’ve done some good work, then show this off in your portfolio. If you’re going to ask for decent wages then you better have decent content to show for it.
  4. Never stop learning. If you are writing Search Engine Optimized content, then you need to always stay on top of the game. SEO changes constantly, and Google changes their algorithms as much as I change my underwear. Keyword usage and keyword density has changed a lot over the years.

This is just a few things that we as writers should start doing. I’m tired of seeing jobs posted for ‘slave wages’ and my last client wanted me to take .30 cents for 35 30-40 word descriptions. No. The job before this I was paid $300 cash in hand after Elance fee’s for 50 product descriptions. I’m not stupid, I am not desperate, and if I wanted to be humiliated, I’d definitely find a better way or at least $5 per humiliation.

I’d like to hear what you have to say, come on…I know I missed something, and if I did, let me know.