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Venting on Advertising Yourself as a "Cheap Writer"

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by gbartlet, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. DocB

    DocB Member

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    #61
    I'd have to agree. Unfortunately ability to write doesn't equate with ability to market oneself and negotiate a better deal, especially when starting out. Finding a trusted mentor or two is a great way of negotiating the maze of developing as a paid writer, just remember to share you experience with those coming after you as well.
    SEMrush
     
    DocB, Jan 20, 2009 IP
    SEMrush
  2. what

    what Active Member

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    #62
    True. As long as there's a market, there'll always be providers who'll address that need.
     
    what, Jan 20, 2009 IP
  3. cd928

    cd928 Peon

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    #63
    I agree. I learned the hard way about knowing how to negotiate and marketing myself. I haven't really considered getting a mentor although having a mentor would be great. For now, books and articles about freelancing are my friends. :)

     
    cd928, Jan 21, 2009 IP
  4. Ray Edwards

    Ray Edwards Member

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    #64
    I read an article in Writer's Digest a few years ago which complained
    how the internet was bad for writers because anyone could now
    consider themselves a writer without going through the vetting process
    that offline writers were called to go through.

    Now I can see what that writer was saying with the onslaught of
    cheap writers who are making every other writer look bad.

    Anyway, like anything else I think that cream will always rise to the
    top and when clients are looking for good writers these impostors
    will get looked over.

    But it's still bad for the writing market as a whole.

    -Ray Edwards
     
    Ray Edwards, Jan 22, 2009 IP
  5. CheekyLee

    CheekyLee Peon

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    #65
    This is an interesting read, especially to one like myself who has only just made the decision to pursue this dream.

    What I see is a problem that is applicable to any industry. We all want to be paid according to the value of what we do, but sometimes the market is just not able to provide that. Laws of supply and demand unfortunately work both for and against individuals. Whilst you may be able to supply something unique, if the demand is for generic word count pieces then you won't be getting too many buyers.

    As a new writer, I know that I can offer some unique work. But, as yet, I am not particularly able to prove it! Until my name is known I am nought but an id on a screen. So, I have to look at anything that I can do right now as a potential paying job, even if I feel that I am worth more. Because, if I don't write anything I will be paid zero. If I ask for $0.2 per word when they are offering $0.1, then somebody else is getting that job.

    Still, I learn quickly. As an earlier poster commented, the cream will always rise to the top. I hope that I am as good as I think I am, because then I will rise. I just now need to decide wether to take anything for the purposes of portfolio or not.
     
    CheekyLee, Jan 23, 2009 IP
  6. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #66
    First of all, if you're asking $0.2 per word and they are only offering $0.1 per word, that has nothing to do with the law of supply and demand - it means you dont' know how to market yourself properly, because you're not even targeting the right market. ;)

    If your market is someone willing to pay that price, and for unique content rather than general keyword-stuffed drivel, then those are the only types of clients you should be pitching your services to. Buyers of Web content do not operate within the same market - there are MANY markets, and as the provider, it's your responsibility to identify the right one. In fact, it's irresponsible for any new freelancer to pursue work before actually putting planning into it, including market research.

    You also don't ever have to take extremely low-paying web content gigs to build portfolio pieces. In fact, doing so can hurt you, and those pieces are often worthless when it comes to later attracting a better market. I wrote about this issue more extensively at www.WebWritersGuide.com a little while back (building a portfolio without having experience). If you're looking for ways to build a portfolio that WILL later help you find higher paying work, give it a read.

    Thinking low pay is better than no pay is a common mistake freelancers make. Building an image up front as a cheap content provider will hold you back in the long-run; not help. You'll be earning "real" money much more quickly if you stick to your guns, set your rates correctly early on, and always charge what you're worth. Will clients come easy in the beginning? No. But if you don't start right in the beginning, you'll find that you're forced to start over later on - and you'll have an equally difficult time getting those gigs then, when all you have to show for yourself is penny-per-word content written for some website owner that no one has ever heard of.

    If you want to make a serious go of things in this field, you have to be willing to take risks, you have to have a firm grasp on marketing, and maybe more importantly you have to have patience.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 23, 2009 IP
  7. cd928

    cd928 Peon

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    #67
    Here's what I realized lately: once you have the mindset of doing work on a per-hour basis rather than on a per-word basis, then you can get out of the trap that most newbie freelancers fall into.

    Look at it this way: let's say you can write a 500-word article in an hour, and that you charge $5 for that. Now if you work for 8 hours, you can write 8 articles which earns you a total of $40. Now you see that you're just earning $5 per hour.

    It's probably okay if you're just after earning some extra money, but if you want to write for a living then you really have to ask yourself how much your time is worth.

     
    cd928, Jan 23, 2009 IP
  8. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #68
    They'd actually be able to write less than 8, if they were putting any real effort at all into marketing, looking for those gigs, administrative work (invoicing, client communication, keeping their financial records in order, etc.). So more realistically, someone doing everything they should be doing would be turning out more like 6 a day, for $30. ;)
     
    jhmattern, Jan 24, 2009 IP
  9. cd928

    cd928 Peon

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    #69
    actually yeah. also take into the equation nap times and breaks. hehe.
     
    cd928, Jan 24, 2009 IP
  10. Dreads

    Dreads Well-Known Member

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    #70
    I just saw a thread on another forum saying
    "Cheaply Writer"
    ./epic fail
     
    Dreads, Jan 24, 2009 IP
  11. cd928

    cd928 Peon

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    #71
    Geez, so the thread topic is actually wrong? :rolleyes:

     
    cd928, Jan 24, 2009 IP
  12. Brennan

    Brennan Notable Member

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    #72
    The problem is your not everyone, there are people they have a budget of $3 for 500 words not $50 for 500 words and are happy to settle for a slower turnaround time or a poorer reputation or a poorer quality. If you would like more than 1-2c per word then DP really isn't the place for that, the going rate is 1c per word and that's what people have accepted and expect to pay. These rates aren't even the lowest, then you go to freelancer/bidding sites and people are paying as low as $1/500 words. For writers that want to offer a premium server, you need to start a website, build up a portfolio, testimonials, professional service and a client base.
     
    Brennan, Jan 24, 2009 IP
  13. lightless

    lightless Notable Member

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    #73
    Yes, I saw people offering those types of ultra-low rates on some freelance sites. DP standard rate is king's ransom by those standards.
     
    lightless, Jan 24, 2009 IP
  14. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #74
    Really? My typical projects for DP clients very often fall in the $.30 - .60 per word range. DP is a fine marketplace with serious buyers. Those who can't find them, don't know how or where to look. Keep in mind that what you see publicly advertised does not represent the business that goes on here as a whole - not by a long shot.

    As for your recommendation to build a website, portfolio, etc. though, I couldn't agree more. :)
     
    jhmattern, Jan 25, 2009 IP
  15. wrcato

    wrcato Active Member

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    #75
    Cheap, good, fast and frugal. WoW!
    I have been copywriting for three years and have never taken a job for any clients... yet. I write for myself. However, with the economy the way it is I am in the notion to start taking on clients.

    The posts on this thread seems to be referring to article writing instead of copy?
    I personally do not think I could write copy for anyone without asking at least $500.00 per finished piece @ 1000 words and 5% of all sales if I manage the campaign.
    My question, is my price to high? or to low?
     
    wrcato, Jan 25, 2009 IP
  16. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #76
    wrcato, no one can answer that for you. It depends on your writing abilities, ability to market your services, whether or not you know how to properly research (and persuade) the various markets of your clients, whether or not there's really a demand in the specific market you're targeting, etc. Also keep in mind that not all copywriting is about sales - persuasive in some way, yes, but not always direct sales. So the 5% wouldn't apply to all projects.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 25, 2009 IP
    JoyGoRound likes this.
  17. Brennan

    Brennan Notable Member

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    #77
    I understand what your saying because for example signature links are selling for like $10/3000 posts now but from experience I know through private deals I can get a lot more, though if you look at the content creation threads 1-2c seems to be the go although I'm sure that there are people that require high quality articles with a fast turnaround from a reliable person and they have a person they can go to for that (such as yourself) but it costs them more than 1c per word as you have suggested.

    Regarding the website, portfolio, etc. It's a way to set yourself apart from the 1c/word market.
     
    Brennan, Jan 25, 2009 IP
  18. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #78
    That's the point. ;) Serious writers here aren't wasting their time constantly poking around the content creation forum. They're busy networking and actively demonstrating their abilities through quality posts, getting attention of higher-paying buyers (who have no interest in advertising publicly, because they don't want to be bombarded with PMs and posts from low-rate writers who can't get the job done).
     
    jhmattern, Jan 25, 2009 IP
  19. latoya

    latoya Active Member

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    #79
    I go so far as to say "I will not eat if I don't charge $XX per hour." Everytime I'm tempted to lower my rates, that's what I think. I have bills to pay and it's a better use of my time to find higher-paying clients than to write for less.

    Then, even if writers want to quote per word because that's what their clients understand, it can easily be broken down. For example, you need to charge $40 an hour. You can write 500 words in one hour. You would divide $40 by 500 to get $.08/word.
     
    latoya, Jan 25, 2009 IP
  20. Stephanie Mojica

    Stephanie Mojica Guest

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    #80
    What drives me nuts is people with typos in their ads for writing work!
     
    Stephanie Mojica, Jan 27, 2009 IP