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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Freelance Limbo: Do You Know How You'll Go?

A couple of weeks ago I posted about an offer of several assignments from a (potential) client new to me. Want to know the rest of the story? 

My potential client assigned me four blog posts, with specific topics, and gave me a word count of 500 words for each; she then asked what I would charge for them. Deadline was four days. I expected each to take several hours, and emailed to tell her I'd be happy to do them for $200/each. 

That was too high for her; she countered with $50/each, for a total of $200. I offered to go as low as $150/post, but said that that's as low as I'm willing to go for original content. 

She never responded. 

So, I'm out of a $200 assignment, for 2,000 words--of original content. For $0.10/word? Well, I'm okay with ditching that bullet.  

In the meantime, I accepted three new assignments. One is for 700 words, $1,050, and will require some background reporting and three interviews. The second is for 2,000 words, pays $1,000 and will require significantly more reporting and legwork-but I'm willing to do it for $0.50/word. (Do I wish this market paid a higher rate? Of course, but I can't always control what a market will pay me.) And the third is a short piece, 350 words, for $650, about $1.85/word. It also has a tight deadline and will require some legwork, but I've already starting to pull the research and line up the experts I'll need. 

(For the record, I don't always get assignments that pay so well per-word. One of my regular clients pays about $0.35/word. Another pays about $0.30/word. But I know how long those assignments will take and can usually make close to my $100/hour rate regardless. And with ghostwriting projects, I'm usually paid per-project, not per-word.)  

So, I can't control how high (or low) a market will go. What I can control is how low I will go. And $0.10/word for original content? That's too low--at least for me, right now. 

My advice? Know how low you will go--and stick to it. Because if you're saying "yes" to poorly-paying work, you have less time to pursue the better-paying markets--and that will hurt you in the long run. 

**Want to know more about how to make more money as a freelancer? Check out Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Editiona freelancing classic that helps both new and experienced writers boost their bottom line. 
My newest  book,Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second Edition, shows writers how to break into the ghostwriting/content marketing field. And if you're brand-new to freelancing, I recommend Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets

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