Secrets of Low Paying Writing Assignments

Top Secret

 

 

 

 

 

Article by Wendy McCance

After receiving an email the other day, I realized that I have a little known secret about writing assignments that I would like to share with you.

This is a portion of an email I received:

Hi Wendy,

I have a post opp that pays $30 and requires one follow link. Would you be interested in taking on this writing assignment?  It will require a post with a minimum of 300 words and your keywords would be: (explanation was provided about the company and keywords to use)

The email was straightforward and provided all of the information I needed. But, here’s the secret, the person who emailed me seriously under cut the amount they were able to pay me for the assignment.

I wrote back explaining that of course I would need to mention that the writing assignment was a sponsored post and that my fee as listed on the pricing guide on my website would be $75.00 to write a 300 word article.

This is the response I received:

No problem Wendy, we haven’t worked together before so I just need to make a note of your rates.  This client isn’t paying that much, but I will let her know in case she changes her mind.

After investigating this person’s site, I found out that they offer a Blogger for Hire page.  Basically the page states, “Get added exposure by hiring additional bloggers.  I have a blogger network composed of an elite group of family friendly bloggers.

 

Now  you might think that there is nothing wrong with being offered $30.00.  I mean, after all it is money in your pocket.  If I had accepted the offer, I would have to research the company and their product and then would write the post.  Not only would I be making a very low amount for the amount of time it would take to do the work, but the company would get valuable exposure on my blog.  Just to supply their own post and have it run on my blog costs $65.00 for a 3oo word article (and that’s when they are supplying the article themself).

 

When you begin to consider taking on writing assignments, it’s important to figure out what you feel is a reasonable amount to charge.  Then, you need to stick with that amount.  Can you imagine if word got out that you did an article for such a low fee?  People wouldn’t take you seriously when you told them how much you charge.  Bartering would begin and you would lose out on an awful lot.

 

There is nothing wrong with sticking to a price you deem as fair.  Sure you might not get the $30.00 job, but in this case for example, this person found me and was impressed enough with my site to offer me an assignment.  I had never had any contact with them.  Who’s to say they won’t offer up another assignment down the road for the price I stated.

 

I look at my pricing chart the way a store owner looks at the prices they have placed on their merchandise.  The store owner must stick with the prices they stated.  If there was any bartering, they would end up overrun with lowball offers and eventually lose their business.

 

The key is to feel confident with the price structure you have set up.  My prices, for instance are rather low compared to many writers I know.  I base my prices on my experience and what I find to be a fair hourly rate (when it is all broken down).

 

What about you?  Have you been in this type of situation?  How did you handle it?  Do you stick to the prices you have set up?  Do you even have a price structure?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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25 thoughts on “Secrets of Low Paying Writing Assignments

  1. Great post, Wendy! It is so nice of you to post your rates to help newbie freelance writers to become more confident and to figure out their own rates more easily.

    I have not posted rates on my site – well, i am not a writer per se, i’m a marketer, but still – even if i were to write only blog posts, i am not sure if i would be comfortable posting a flat rate per blog post.

    It depends on so many things – e.g. the length, or the topic, the needed research, my experience in the niche… I can write fairly quickly excellent content on any marketing related topic, i can write good content somewhat quickly about travel, and i would need awfully long time for research to write good content on let’s say rental properties (or something). How can i give one price? Maybe it’s a good compromise to give a “starting from” rate.

    I am compromising sometimes with prices – but only if i choose so; and for sentimental reasons. For example, i have a long term client who is very dear to me – the client, the project, everything. And i have been working with that client for 4 years now. And i LOVE working with that client. And today, i charge them like 2, maybe 3 times less than what i would charge a new client… The workload is fairly small so it doesn’t matter that much now.

    Maybe because i am a marketer, but i always prefer to talk about the value, and only then about the rpice. But then again, if we do that – we risk wasting our time with clients who wouldn’t have contacted us if they knew our prices are not $5 per article as someone mentioned before me 😀

    Great post – sending you some social media love 😉

    • Hi Diana,
      I love that you think of the customer first. You are obviously a person who really cares about their clients. When I price out projects, I have two prices set up based on the length of the article. If there is research involved, there is an additional fee per. hour of research. If the topic is out of my range, too technical for example, I decline taking on that assignment. Wishing you continued success!

  2. Wendy,

    Webmasters who lowball writers are bottomfeeders.

    They prey on desperation. They’d be appalled if someone approached THEIR business — say a medical practice, and said:

    I need a checkup, but I’m not willing to pay you more than $20 for your services.

    A freelance writer is paying taxes, overhead and putting food on their table.

    Something to think about.

  3. Thank you so much for this article! Having prices posted is helpful for those of us starting out as you mentioned above. Cheers!

  4. Hi Wendy,
    Even though there are plenty of writers who disagree with posting a price chart, I actually feel that it helps prequalify potential clients, especially the ones who expect to pay $5.
    I guess I’m trying to find that sweet spot in pricing.. sure, I want to get paid $1,000 a page, but that’s not realistic — much like the companies that want to hire professional writers for $20.

    • Hi Craig, I don’t know how much experience you have, but I am a fairly new writer and I haven’t had problems charging the amounts I have listed.

      The only companies that seem to pay extremely low prices are the companies that troll the internet. If you connect with a typical brick and mortar co. you shouldn’t have an issue.

      I decided to publish my price chart because I wished someone had done that for me when I was trying to figure out my rates. It would have been nice to see what prices are acceptable.

      Wishing you all the best.

  5. Thanks for sharing this experience Wendy. It’s good to see how you handled this, and of course, they could come back to you at your rates.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I agree, they might come back at some point with an offer at my price point. Either way, I was flattered that they thought of me and things were left on a good note.

  6. Fairness ultimately gets you more than being unfair, albeit though more slowly, you get a better reputation, and the fair wealth lasts longer and better than unfair wealth if you know what I mean. Let me clarify simply: Honesty is always the best policy if you want to ultimately and genuinely prosper.

    • I agree. Another way to put it is to think of a relationship. People will only treat you as well as you treat yourself. If you don’t show self-respect, how can you expect others to respect you?

      • Yes, that was part of my point. but consider, cheating may get you “lots” in the short, ignorant run, but in the long run, for long-term winning, honesty is the best policy. I am not saying anything about “superiority of character” or anything, I am talking practical business sense and good judgment overall.

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