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Do you ever feel bad for declining jobs you'd PREVIOUSLY accepted because of low pay?

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by energeticinnovator, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. #1
    I hate not doing something that I agree to because I grew up hearing that your "word was your bond". However, I find that sometimes clients will try to take advantage of your niceness if you let them.
    SEMrush
    Once, I took a job even though the pay was not what the client had originally advertised. It was only because I really liked the topic and thought it would simply be awesome just to get paid to write about it (I know, I know...). I ended up leaving after a couple of weeks because the client didn't pay me for every article I'd write and would never clarify the reason.

    More recently, I took a job after a phone interview where I HEARD I'd be paid one amount but where I saw in writing I would be paid something different. Like...$5 per 300 word article. I was stunned. At no point in my writing career have I ever been offered so little while being asked to pump out so much work. Not even my very first writing job paid so low.

    This person took a look at my experience and credentials and offered me a job at $5 per 300 words? :oops: I asked whether or not the pay was negotiable but she answered that it was fair for "easy" work because it was research-light*. If I'd accepted it based on the agreed terms, I'd have 10 companies to write about five pages worth of content for.

    It was deceptive really. >>>>> $25 per client = $250 per week

    What I saw? 50 pages per week = $250 per week

    This is in direct violation of my "work smarter, not harder" creed, so I politely declined.


    Even so, a small part of me feels guilty. I hate the idea of promising someone something for any reason and then not following through. I know I have to be fair to myself, especially if I want to make more money as a writer. It's just sometimes I feel like I'm the bad guy.


    Anyone else ever feel like this after encounters with low-paying jobs that you took on before realizing it was a bad idea?

    *I would have to research the companies in question in order to understand their industries so that I could write authentic articles. Research is a relative term...
     
    energeticinnovator, Mar 30, 2015 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Mkcoy

    Mkcoy Well-Known Member

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    #2
    Well you shouldn't feel bad because nobody should be feeling bad for trying to do something good.

    But at the end of the day that's just business and the way it goes. Don't sell yourself short and never accept 2nd best.

    Tbh $5 for 300 words for research light content doesn't seem too bad. Normally price is $5 for 500 words.

    What do you mean by pages? A page means 50 x 300 word articles? If so that would be $250 yes.

    I'm not sure what seems deceptive. Could you not write 50 x 300 word articles a week then?
     
    Mkcoy, Mar 30, 2015 IP
  3. energeticinnovator

    energeticinnovator Greenhorn

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    #3
    It was problematic because it WASN'T light research. They gave keywords and the company talked about themselves and what they did. But if I was not familiar with the ins and outs of the industry, I would have to do research. Some people can just plug in keywords and leave it, but if I don't know something I do not feel comfortable trying to wing it, you know what I mean?

    I guess "deceptive" is a strong word. Maybe it's better to say that I felt misled? Partially, because I figured out for myself that it was $5 per 300 words; I'd rather someone tell me something like that upfront. Instead I was told it would be $25 per client (in writing, heard something different over the phone) with me choosing however many company bundles (5 pages per company) I was able to handle.

    I chose 10 (before finding out the payment issues...) so that would have made my earnings $250 for 50 pages at 300 words a page. It just felt like one of those situations where you COULD earn a lot of money...but you'd have to write yourself into a coma and abandon all your other clients.

    I couldn't do it. I felt bad, but I just couldn't do. Not while trying to balance my other freelance work. :(


    Also, thanks for responding. :) I do feel a little better after thinking about it a bit more.
     
    energeticinnovator, Mar 30, 2015 IP
  4. Mkcoy

    Mkcoy Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Ahh yeah that sounds fair enough then if you already have a lot of work on. I think I saw some power quote on Forbes earlier on today that said something like "If you don't think you can do it. Say yes anyway and then learn from it". Maybe you should say yes but then when you get in contact with the clients tell them about your deal and that you'd like to do it but not paying enough see if you can strike up a deal with them personally.

    That guy whoever he is thats selling that package to you is holding out on you. He should be the one that feels bad considering your rep.

    Do you just advertise yourself on Freelancer then?
     
    Mkcoy, Mar 30, 2015 IP
  5. energeticinnovator

    energeticinnovator Greenhorn

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    #5
    I'll have to remember this for the future.

    No, but I have an Odesk account. I typically just answer ads through different freelance job boards or newsletters.
     
    energeticinnovator, Mar 30, 2015 IP
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  6. EverestOnlineMarketing

    EverestOnlineMarketing Active Member

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    #6
    Don't feel bad. It's not your fault. You were forced into a situation that compelled you to say no after you said yes. What is bad is if you took less than you deserve, because you gave people the opportunity to take advantage of you.

    Sometimes, it's insulting how people perceive writers. They think writing is easy work and offer measly pay. They don't understand that kind of work involved in it.
     
    EverestOnlineMarketing, Mar 30, 2015 IP
  7. dscurlock

    dscurlock Prominent Member

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    #7
    This is the world of internet marketing / content. Content will only pay off for the people that know how to use it, and
    those that do not know how to use the content get no results, in other words, cheap as possible; why? because people
    have been trained for a long time, use unique content, bla, bla, bla, and when they do put their "unique" content
    up, then they end up making no money; Just because they put up "unique" content does not mean google will love
    them forever, and forever, and dump loads of profit into their lap. If they do not have a popular site, then all the
    unique content in the world will do them no good and this is nothing more then a repeating cycle. I assure you, if
    their content was paying off in leaps and bounds, then people would not be so cheap in buying content, and I think it
    is safe to say that if you are a content writer for a site that has millions of viewers, then you are making more
    then a mere stinking $5.00 for a 500 word article. If they want to pay nothing for content, then they are making nothing.

    It is nothing personal, everyone wants unique content for their blog, forum,
    site or whatever, but you can not squeeze that much more blood from a
    turnip that is already dry; this is why rates are the way they are.....
     
    dscurlock, Mar 30, 2015 IP
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  8. energeticinnovator

    energeticinnovator Greenhorn

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    #8
    I'm getting better at walking away from situations like this. Early in my career I would have felt compelled to tough it out. I think there's still some of that lingering fear of having enough clients "just in case". It's taken time and experience to let go of that say-yes-no-matter-what instinct. I think it helped when I was faced with potential clients that tried to make me feel crazy for expecting to be paid more than a few dollars per article for time-consuming work. As someone here posted on a different thread, you can't really do better if you continue to take underpaying positions. I don't ever want to get used to being underpaid...

    I actually think rates are low for multiple reasons, including differing standards of living around the world. The other day I saw someone asking for $3 per 500 word article I believe, but the request came from a man living in Kenya. I think we take for granted that the freelance writing market is a GLOBAL one. And not everyone has the same idea of a "fair" wage. $5 per article is great if you live in a country where $1 per day is the standard rate of pay for work. As a result, some companies will charge what they feel they can get away with while conveniently ignoring that if it were non-telecommute office work, there's no way they'd get away with paying so little.

    But whatever people choose to take these jobs and for whatever reason, they can have them. It wasn't for me but someone else may look at the job and see a great opportunity. I guess it just depends where someone is in their writing career.
     
    energeticinnovator, Mar 30, 2015 IP
  9. WLEadmin

    WLEadmin Active Member

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    #9
    You didn't promise anything: you went to an interview, which only implies that you are interested, not that you will do the job. You're still working with the old mindset that the employer is the one with all the power to decide - they're not. You are half of the deal, so you get to decide as well.

    In my experience, the single most important question for any employer who says work is easy is "So why aren't you doing it yourself?" They will usually respond that they don't have time, in which case they have to pay for YOUR time - and why should your time be worth less than theirs, even if they can write as well as you?

    One of the hardest words in business is "No". Unfortunately, far too many unscrupulous employers know that.

    No, it isn't. There is no "normal" price for writing work, because it depends on what the subject is, who you're employing and whether it needs special skills or knowledge.
     
    WLEadmin, Mar 31, 2015 IP
  10. Mkcoy

    Mkcoy Well-Known Member

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    #10
    Yes, it is.
     
    Mkcoy, Mar 31, 2015 IP
  11. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #11
    That's the most crucial difference between employment and self-employment.
    Good point. I guess I can use it to reason with a prospect to be paid justly.
    Not really that hard if you know what you want CLEARLY or are very sure about your priorities. And that's what many unscrupulous employers do - confuse you (if they can't convince you) so that you can never give them a straight NO.
    Funnily, the norm on which this so-called "normal" price is based changes frequently. Today, we're seeing a lot of good writers on this forum charging $1 for 100 words because it's the "normal" or standard price. I'm relatively new here but have heard from a lot of old members that writers here were charging way higher some years back. Today, there are a lot of buyers who balk to pay even half a cent a word for quality work. I won't really be surprised if tomorrow $1 per 500 words becomes the “normal” price here. On second thought, change can also happen for the better.
     
    Content Maestro, Mar 31, 2015 IP
  12. Crimebuster_of_the_Sea

    Crimebuster_of_the_Sea Well-Known Member

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    #12
    Don't feel bad about it at all. In the real world, wages go up every year - yet I'm still working for some people for the same price that I was four years ago. I usually try and get some higher paid clients to cover it, and then let them know the price is going up - if they need to find another freelancer, well that's up to them.

    I've also turned down quite a bit of work this week that sounded great, but when it actually came to a Skype conversation, they wanted me to send me one article at a time within a one hour time slot. And all the time I was writing a sample, the client was constantly bugging me on Skype for updates. No-one has time to work like that.

    Feel confident in what you do, and you'll be a lot happier long term. I don't worry about setting my guidelines, and find most clients will respect them.
     
    Crimebuster_of_the_Sea, Mar 31, 2015 IP
  13. energeticinnovator

    energeticinnovator Greenhorn

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    #13
    Now that I think about it, there's some truth to this. And I think it comes from a place where I expect to NEED a job so saying "Yes" seems like the universally right thing to do. Except...that's not true. I didn't need the job.

    The other half of it is not wanting to be rude. I know that's silly, but it's like I said in my first comment. Saying yes to something and then having to decline makes me feel a bit dishonest. But the feeling passes eventually. I just need to get to a place where I don't feel this at all.

    Thanks for bringing this up. For me, the price of what I'm willing to accept is based on my personal pay experience and preferences going forward. I guess you can say it's my normal. As a result it's become easier to ignore ads that offer pay well below what I'm interested in now, where as I would have responded a few years ago. I think never allowing yourself to have a set "normal" helps you slowly increase your earning potential, which is always my goal.

    The idea of accepting so little honestly makes my stomach flip-flop. A part of me hopes that the US government steps in to at least regulate this aspect of freelance work. There are so many people trying to pay well below minimum wage and getting away with it. If this type of work were done in a traditional office setting, these people wouldn't have the NERVE to pull this crap....

    This is solid advice, thanks. :)
     
    energeticinnovator, Mar 31, 2015 IP
  14. WLEadmin

    WLEadmin Active Member

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    #14
    I don't like quotes in most situations, but I saw an excellent one the other day. It said something like "If you don't feel embarrassed when you tell a client your rates, you're not charging enough."

    Although it's not true for some people (those egotistical types who think they write awesome content worth hundreds of dollars, when they actually spew crap), it is very true for the majority of freelancers. Your work is probably worth more than you think, so ask for more and negotiate down a bit. You may be surprised at what happens. When I told my most recent client how much I would charge him - and expected to negotiate - he just said "OK". :cool:

    No, it isn't. If you truly believe that, you are pointlessly consigning yourself to low-paid work (or, if you're a client, probably buying rubbish).

    My "normal" pay averages around $30 per hour for my freelance writing work. Copywriters often charge over $100 per hour. Even if I charge per word, it's significantly more than the $5 per 500 you expect.

    WLE pays twice that at the top quality level (and when I release v5 in a week or two, that will go up to $15 per 500 for the best quality). And that's content mill rates - very good content mill rates, yes, but still content mill and not direct work (which pays more).

    The whole "low pay is normal" myth is what stops most freelance writers from earning what they deserve. You do NOT have to compete with the junk merchants, the bulk writers, the spinners and the Wikigurgitators. Set your price, be worth it, and earn more.
     
    WLEadmin, Mar 31, 2015 IP
  15. Wildcat7173

    Wildcat7173 Well-Known Member

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    #15
    Honestly if your start taking lower pay now you set the bar low for everyone else. Thats how alot of competition arises. People just take low end jobs and set the industry for that standard.
     
    Wildcat7173, Mar 31, 2015 IP
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  16. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #16
    I'm confused, energeticinnovator. You feel guilty because several people tried to do a bit of bait and switch by advertising one rate and then actually offering a lower one? There was a reason they waited so long into the conversation to admit to the pay. sigh If only more writers told these turkeys NO! I WILL NOT WRITE FOR THAT!
     
    YMC, Apr 2, 2015 IP
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  17. energeticinnovator

    energeticinnovator Greenhorn

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    #17
    :rolleyes:

    If it makes you feel any better, I DID pass on the job. And the only reason I initially agreed was a misunderstanding on my part. Trust and believe if I knew what was up from the very beginning, I would have tap-danced away from the job offer as quickly as possible. :cool:

    I just felt a tad guilty because I initially agreed and then bounced. But I'm over it now.
     
    energeticinnovator, Apr 2, 2015 IP
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  18. usasportstraining

    usasportstraining Notable Member

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    #18
    Sometimes you could use it to your advantage and get more money or that corner office...maybe even your boss's office.
     
    usasportstraining, Apr 2, 2015 IP
  19. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #19
    Never feel bad unles it was *you* who did the bait and switch. And start charging $25 for 500 words at least. $5 is crap money. I hate to see writers making so little. if you have a large body of work behind you, and ecan even show some resuls, then vastly raise your rates. Instead of being among the thousands near the bottom, become 1 of the few near the top. Believe me, you'll work a lotless and make a lot more.
     
    SCookAAM, Apr 3, 2015 IP
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  20. coreygeer

    coreygeer Notable Member

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    #20
    I only felt bad when I had to accept those jobs. If life ever gets that rough, I don't think I could ever accept a peanut job again. I would much rather lose my sanity on content mills over trying to chase down peanuts on forums like this.

    If you keep letting clients negotiate with you for a measly $5, they aren't going to stop and they'll never raise their rates. They'll just move onto another writer and then another and then another. It's a vicious circle of writers these peanut paying clients go through.

    What usually comes with the lowest jobs from my experience was:
    - A laundry list of requirements
    - A huge stress on quality
    - Academic standards of excellence and grammar

    They don't have the money to hire anyone else or they're simply too cheap so their expectations for your work are so much higher. I love the clients I've had that paid more because the conversations were pleasant, they weren't telling me how to do my job, I never had to worry about being paid and their restrictions/requirements were pretty loose fitting.

    Example: I have a client that comes around every 1-2 months and orders $300 to $600 worth of content. I have a much easier time getting paid by him than I ever did getting paid by one of those $1 per 100 word clients. That client basically just Skypes me a list, puts a brief description of what he needs and waits for me to send it.

    In order to pay bills on $5 an article, I'd have to write over 200 of them a month. This means I'd probably need about 10-40 consistent clients a month. I honestly don't think I could deal with that. Imagine 10-40 people on your Skype list paying all they have and expecting the best article you've ever written in your life and judging every piece of content you write under a microscope before they pay you.

    No thanks... If you charge $20 an article, you've cut that work down by 3 times the normal limit needed and cut the client list down.

    Don't let anyone ever talk you into low pay because it's "easy" work. There is nothing easy about dealing with cheap clients, believe me. When a client says "but it's consistent" or "but it's easy work", what they're actually saying is "I'm cheap as hell".
     
    coreygeer, Apr 7, 2015 IP