It’s the single question freelance writers ask me the most: Where is the good pay?
For instance, I recently received this email from Jessica:
I’m a fairly new freelance writer. I’ve had a few decent-wage gigs since I started writing for a living roughly a year ago, but since then things haven’t been looking too hot.
The question for me really, is: How do you locate the clients willing to offer acceptable pay? I don’t have as much experience as I’d like to by any means, but I am very confident in my writing ability and know that the samples I DO have are worth a second glance, if not a third.
It’s hard to find decent writers and I think that gives me some edge, but what happens when the employers don’t want decent writers? Online bid sites have been hindering rather than helping me. Any advice on how to get my name out there and get into those higher-paying markets?
If, like Jessica, you’ve been searching and searching for good online writing gigs, and all you’re finding is freebie and $20-an-article gigs, one thing is certain.
You’re searching in the wrong place
If you’ve been answering online job ads month after month and getting only insultingly low offers, or bidding on freelance sites and getting starvation wages, why are you still doing it? You’ve proven the good jobs aren’t to be found there. You need to try other forms of marketing.
It’s really that simple. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, as the old saying goes, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.
To earn more, you’ll have to shake up your marketing. Look under some new rocks.
In a sense, good-paying writing jobs are not hiding. You are hiding from the good-paying jobs.
I can tell you there is great pay out there, and in the past year, I’ve seen a real boom. Rates are rising at many websites.
There is a catch, though — you have to go out and find these gigs.
Where? Definitely not on a job ad where 1,000 writers are all going to send in their resume.
How to locate better clients
To find a great client, first you have to know who they are.
Right now, imagine your ideal client. Is it a magazine editor? An online editor? A successful company?
Close your eyes and think about it. Got them pictured in your head? Good.
Now, where does the person who hires writers at that market hang out? Who do they talk to? What do they read? What blogs might they comment on?
Most of all, what do they need? Think about how you could solve these prospects’ problems.
Next, think about where they would look for writers.
To connect with better clients, all you have to do is be there.
Is that more work, figuring all that out? Yes, it is. But the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is a great deal larger, too.
How to deal with low-pay offers
What happens when “decent” — I’d say “great” — writers find employers who don’t care about writing quality and want to pay squat? They move on.
If I’m quoted a laughably low rate, I’ll often say, “I’m sorry you’re not able to afford professional rates right now. Feel free to give me a call in the future if your budget changes.”
Sometimes, they do.
Now, everybody’s definition of low pay is different.
When I started freelancing in 2005, for me it was $50 an article or post. Now, it’s $400.
But know what your floor is, and don’t go below it.
Don’t waste your energy trying to convince low-paying prospects that they should pay you 10 times what they’re offering. It’s not going to happen.
Instead, devote all your energy to marketing your writing business until you connect with the clients who will pay you what you’re worth. Become an unstoppable force and don’t give up until you find the clients you want, and have all the work you need.