This week I’ll be speaking at our Voices Third Thursdays meeting on the topic of making a career as a freelance writer. One piece of advice I’ll be sure to mention is the importance of seeing yourself as a professional writer and not devaluing your work by charging too little.
A few years back I signed up for a three-month subscription to Guru.com. This is a site where people post jobs and then you can bid on the work. I’d get a daily email of writing-related jobs and then could decide if I wanted to place my bid. I bid on a few and ended up getting one blogging job that lasted more than a year so it was worth the $100 I paid for the subscription.
But, what shocked me was the number of horrible jobs that were posted. People wanted tons of copy written for a $5. I’m not exaggerating - $5! That’s not worth booting up your computer. The sad fact is that people are willing to work for that.
I discourage writers from working for free or taking low-paying jobs. Yes, a few exceptions apply, including doing pro bono work for a beloved nonprofit or because you value the publication and really want that clip.
But as a general rule, get paid (and paid well) for your work. If you’re pursuing a full-time career as a freelancer, you’ll never make a living on $5 checks.
That may not be my traditional Monday “nuts and bolts” kind of writing tip but it’s an important one nonetheless. Getting paid what you’re worth not only shows others value your work but, more importantly, that you value it too.