I love being a freelance writer. I love having the independence and freedom that freelancing offers, whilst doing a job that I absolutely love. There isn’t really that much that I dislike about it, only two things, in fact, and funnily enough both of them are very closely connected.
1. Lack of Money
One of the things that any freelancer, especially a freelance writer, will tell you about the job, is that work comes in peaks and troughs. Sometimes you have work practically bubbling out your ears, and that is fantastic, because I love being busy. But, then there are the periods when everything fizzles out.
You finish work on that big project.
That client doesn’t need you any more.
Another client hasn’t got anything that needs writing, for the time being.
And with those quiet periods comes this daunting prospect of “how am I going to pay the bills?” You start questioning yourself because you bought that pair of slippers, for £1.99 last week and how that money could have been better spent.
You kind of think, it’s okay, I’ll be earning enough money during those peak periods to finance the low ones…right? The truth is….not necessarily, which comfortably leads me on to point number two….
2. Work ain’t Cheap
Okay, so I’ve never come across a client who wanted me to work for free, but the amount that so many clients are “willing” to pay for a good writer is bordering on the ridiculous.When I started out as a freelance writer, I really had no idea how much to charge. I was constantly being told to “know my worth”, but how much am I worth? I had my degree, I had a love for writing, but I didn’t have any actual working experience. I’d done a little writing work as part of a past job, but nothing that really mattered.
One tip that I read was to check out what clients are willing to pay. My advice to wannabe freelancers? Do not do that, because you will be bitterly disappointed, and if it doesn’t put you off freelancing, permanently, then I will be shocked.
Seriously, just the other day, I was invited to apply for a job on freelance website oDesk. They were asking for a high-quality writer to write articles of roughly 500 words a pop. How much do you think they wanted to pay me for those 500 words?
£5 at a 0.01p a word? £50 at a £1 a word?
Nope, they wanted to pay me a pathetic 30p for 500 words!! I mean, 30p? With research, I predict that a 500 word article would take give-or-take 45 mins to an hour, including proof reading etc. So, that’s 30p for an hours work?
What exactly would 30p get me? It wouldn’t even buy me a Mars Bar, so it sure as hell wouldn’t pay the Electricity that it cost me to write the article!
For the record, £5 for 500 words is not enough for that kind of work either.
I’m not even sure which I find worse: the fact that clients think that they can get away with charging this rubbish amounts, or the fact that they are. The reason that they are getting away with it, is because some writers (and yes, some based in the UK) are actually accepting these kinds of payments.
Honestly people, unless you are completely illiterate (which I doubt you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be taking the jobs in the first place, since you wouldn’t be able to the advert), you are worth more than that.
Sadly, until people stop taking these jobs, I don’t think clients will stop trying to do it. It’s also important to remember that this definitely does not include all clients. I have worked for some absolutely fantastic clients who are more than happy to pay for what my writing is worth, and I’m permanently grateful for them.
However, those periods in between great clients are riddled with the really bad ones, and I for one think that this needs to change.