Are you an underpaid freelance writer? In my book, The 7 Practices of Highly Underpaid Freelance Writers, I featured four practices that keep freelance writers underpaid. Here are 10 mistakes that are keep them underpaid.
Mistakes Keeping Freelance Writers Underpaid
Quoting a price before gathering all the details
Have you ever quoted a rate for a service before getting all the details only to learn that the amount of work you have to do far exceeds the rate you quoted?
Most freelancers have. To avoid this mistake, ask clients specific questions to find out what they need. Then, submit a proposal outlining the services you’re providing; the amount of time it will take to complete each service; and an estimated cost to complete the project.
Charging one rate for multiple services
Writers tend to charge for writing and editing only. At least four services are performed to complete a single writing project.
For example, I used to charge the same rate for a bio with a resume vs. one with no resume and one that sucked vs. one that was fairly decent. The time required to complete bios ranged from a couple hours up to 10 hours.
To ensure I’m compensated correctly, I wrote down all of the services required to complete a bio. I discovered that at least five services and six hours of work goes into creating a bio from scratch. Now I charge for each individual service performed to complete a writing project. You should, too.
You don’t have to have a 10-page document outlining your terms of service to clients, but you should have a contract that details the work you’re performing; the date and method of payment in which the client should pay; the project completion date; and other provisions that define the consultant/client relationship. Make sure that both parties sign and date it.
Conduct a search online or ask a fellow freelancer for a copy of their contract to get started.
Performing work beyond the scope of the contract
A minor edit or favor is okay, but major revisions and changes in the scope of the project should be charged accordingly.
Not following up with potential prospects
If someone expresses a need for your services, follow up ASAP. If you can help them, do so. If not, let them know that and refer them to a professional who can. You may generate income from referrals.
Accepting all projects
Writers do not have the skills, interest or time to write everything. Keep this in mind as you promote your work. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to attract the projects, clients and rates you desire and deserve.
Turning down projects
We tend to turn down projects due to lack of confidence. If you have the skills and knowledge to fulfill the client’s request, you should go for it. Decline projects you know you cannot do.
I can set up WordPress sites because I’ve done four of my own. When people express a need for this service, I always decline. Not because I can’t do it; but because I don’t feel qualified. I’ve lost thousands of dollars in business because of confidence.
Your first call with a potential client is a free consultation. The second call is a courtesy call, depending on the request. All calls after that should be charged as a consultation.
Not charging for rush jobs
You should charge extra for projects that need to be completed within 24 to 72 hours. I can’t advise you on how much you should charge but consider the amount of money you foregoing to work on the rush job.
No payment processing system
You should have a means to collect payments from your computer, tablet, mobile device and any other tool that accepts cash, credit cards and other forms of payment at any time.
I learned this mistake when a long-term colleague wanted to purchase my book and I’d left my Square reader at home. I missed an on-the-spot payment due to a lack of preparation.
What About You?
What are some mistakes that are keeping you underpaid?
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