There are a lot of opinions out there about what freelance writers do. One of the big ones I’ve heard lately is that business writers are selling their soul and writing crap just to fill their bank accounts.
In other words, we’re not ‘real writers’ like novelists. Business writers are just paid copywriting hacks.
Writing for businesses also ruins our writing chops for any ‘meaningful’ personal writing we aspire to, such as poetry, essays, or novel writing.
I used to think like this. For many years, I was a reporter who thought advertising writers were part of the Dark Side of the Force.
By contrast, I was finding facts, revealing truths, enlightening readers with vital news and information they needed. Good stuff!
Then I happened into my first business writing gig, ghosting blog posts for a startup’s CEO, and decided to give it a try. Suddenly, I remembered how my first career as a songwriter went wrong, all because of a similar misconception I had about ‘selling out.’
Here’s what happened…
Are you one of those freelance writers who can’t seem to win no matter how hard you try? All the freelance writing jobs you touch seem to turn to merde. Things may start out well, but then something often goes wrong.
You don’t get paid. Your client drops you. All your prospects just want to know how little you’d be willing to do a gig for. And you’re always struggling to book more freelance writing jobs.
If this is you, listen up.
I’m going to tell you exactly why that’s happening, and how to fix it.
How do I know what’s up? I recently added a free, 1-on-1 consulting perk for all Freelance Writers Den members who’ve been in the Den a year or more. That turned out to be…500 writers!
So I’ve been talking with many, many writers who’ve been working on their careers a long time, and learning what keeps them broke, and why it’s so hard for many to find and keep freelance writing jobs that pay well.
Turns out, it’s mostly themselves. Let me spotlight the major mindset problems that lead you to choose crummy clients — or screw up better gigs — over and over. See if you recognize yourself in any of these archetypes of the low-paid freelancer:
Data on how much freelance writers make can be tough to pin down. But it’s something every writer wants to know. I tackled this topic three years ago when I published this post. And it’s a topic that never gets old. Check out the updated resources. And be sure to ask yourself the two questions at the end to determine your earning potential. -Carol
It’s one of the most-asked questions I get: “Can you tell me how much freelance writers make?”
Let’s face it — we’ve all got mouths to feed. So it’s important to get a sense of whether freelance writing can yield you a real, bill-paying level of income. It’s a good question to ask.
There are two steps to figuring out the answer to this question.
The first is to find survey data on what freelancers make. That gives you a sense of what’s possible, and what’s typical.
The second step is a bit harder, so let’s start with data.
Ask any writer about their worst writing job — and they’ve got a story to tell.
If you’re a freelance writer for any length of time, some gig will go sideways on you. That’s just how it is.
The key is not to see that worst-case experience as an indicator of your skills, or a referendum on your future potential as a writer.
It’s just…business. Things go wrong. Misunderstandings happen. Everybody has a bad day.
Because so many writers seem to be devastated when they bomb at a gig, I thought it might be useful to collect worst-client stories and let writers compare notes. I thought we could collect them in the comments on this post.
So I’m having a contest! Details are below. But first, I thought I’d kick this off by sharing my own worst writing job stories.
Are you worried about ageism in freelancing? It’s a concern I hear from a lot of writers.
It’s not uncommon for writers to finally embark on their dream career after retiring or being laid off from a longtime job, or after several different corporate jobs. I also hear from journalists who’ve taken 10-20 years off to raise kids, and now they want to start getting assignments again.
But you worry that you’re “too old.” It’s too late for you. You’re obsolete. No one’s going to hire you.
If ageism in freelancing is your worry, I want to tell you it’s all lies.
I’ve been freelancing since late 2005, have owned an AARP card for several years now, and I’ve never been offered more lucrative projects than I’m seeing right now.
>p>Want to know how to beat ageism in freelancing?