This is the third post in My Freelance Writing Mistakes series. Last week I discussed 3 Practices Stalling Your Freelance Writing Career. This week we explore 3 Pricing Strategies Keeping Freelance Writers Underpaid.
I read several blogs on earning money as a freelance writer and so many people are grossly underpaid. And “grossly” is an understatement.
People are writing 500-word articles for $5 and complex business reports for less than $1,000. Sometimes they accept low-paying gigs, other times they charge low rates. Either way, they are leaving thousands of dollars on the table.
Pricing Strategies Keeping Freelance Writers Underpaid
If this is you, stop the madness! Get paid what you desire and deserve. Let’s look at the three pricing strategies that are keeping you underpaid.
Working for Free
People will tell you that you have to work for free to get to where you want to go. I agree…to a degree.
Yes, you will have to work for free to build your portfolio; to obtain paying projects; and to build authority on a topic. Once you achieve your goal, however, you don’t have to continue this free labor.
How to Profit from Working from Free
To Build Your Portfolio
When building your portfolio, determine the kind of writing projects you want to get paid for and write them to have to have samples of the quality of your work and the value of your offering. Honestly, all you need is one well, written completed work. Be sure to ask for a testimonial in return if you’re writing for an organization.
After you have one or two samples, contact companies in your niche and proudly send your writing samples upon request.
To Obtain Paying Projects
Volunteer to write articles for a publications that has your target audience or marketing materials for organizations that has many readers. This could lead to paid opportunities in the future.
I was not paid for my How to Write Captivating Professional Bios in Forbes but I’ve been hired to write several bios and have sold several books as a result of that article.
To Build Authority
To build authority on a topic, start a blog. After a few months, you can create products to sell; provide consulting and coaching services; and even get hired to speak at events.
Undercharging for Projects
Undercharging occurs for two reasons. First, you don’t know how to price your services; second, you are afraid to ask for rates you desire and deserve.
How to Charge Accordingly
- Research how other writers are charging for their projects
- Estimate the time, resources and work involved in completing the project
- Educate your client on everything involved in completing the project
- Ask for the client’s budget to determine if it’s a good fit with your financial goals
For example, there are three services involved in producing a blog post: 1) drafting, writing and editing the blog post; 2) researching and selecting an image or designing one to accompany the post; and 3) promoting the post.
You can charge for one or all three services.
Bartering is an exchange of services, ideally of equal value. This is a good deal if the value of the service you’re receiving is equal in value to what you’re offering.
I spoke with a freelance writer who performed an estimated $4,000 worth of writing and editing work in exchange for accounting services for her businesses. To date, she has not received services or payment. This is a bartering fail on all levels.
How to Profit from Bartering
- Determine if the other service is equivalent in time and value of your offering. If not negotiate. If you feel shortchanged, move on
- Put your agreement in writing. If you’re not receiving your services (assuming you’re sticking to your end of the bargain) tell the other party that he or she is breaching your contract and you’re terminating the agreement.
Working for free, undercharging and bartering are three pricing strategies that are keeping freelance writers underpaid. If you want to stop the madness and get paid, get my book and workbook, 7 Practices of Highly Underpaid Freelance Writers and workbook The Profitable Freelance Writer’s Guide: Grow from Pittance to Profitable in 60 Days.
What About You?
Which pricing strategy is keeping you underpaid: writing for free, undercharging or bartering? Share your story and experiences in the comment box below.
Also, come back next week for the final post in My Freelance Writing Mistakes Series where I review keys to freelance writing success.
Be sure to check out the other two posts in My Freelance Writing Mistakes Series: 3 Practices Stopping Freelance Writers from Starting Their Writing Journey and 3 Practices Stalling Your Freelance Writing Career.
Image credit: Stuart Miles on FreeDigitalPhotos