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With the newly re-launched writers' markets directory here at All Freelance Writing, I have the ability to create and share specialized markets with you that will automatically update when markets are added, removed, or changed in the database.

For example, if you're looking for freelance writing assignments in magazines or higher-competition online publications, this is an updated list of markets that pay $1000 (and more) for some types of assignments.

Remember to check back occasionally, as this list of freelance writing markets will automatically update as I add new markets to the broader database.

Adirondack Life

Adirondack Life is a regional magazine serving readers in areas surrounding the Adirondack Mountains. The magazine accepts freelance submissions for the following departments: Special Places, Watercraft, Barkeater, Kitchen, Profile, Historic Preservation, North Country, Sporting Scene, Home, Wilderness, Wildlife, Working, and Yesteryears. At the time of inclusion, Adirondack Life pays $.30 per published word (around 30 days after publication). Departments run from 1000-1800 words and features are 1500-3500 words.

Air & Space (Smithsonian)

The Smithsonian's Air & Space Magazine accepts freelance submissions for book reviews and the following departments: Soundings (300-1000 words), Above & Beyond (1500 words), Flights & Fancy (800-1000 words), Reviews & Previews (200-450 words), and feature articles (averaging 2500 words). This is a paying market, though rates vary widely and aren't disclosed in the guidelines.

Backpacker

Backpacker magazine covers hiking, backpacking, North American destinations, and advice for improving the backcountry experience. All articles and photos must appear to Leave No Trace's ecologically friendly practices. Destination features run 1500-5000 words. They also accept personality, technique, and gear features as well as freelance-friendly departments (Life List: 300-400 words; Done in a Day: 500 words, Weekend; Skills; and Gear). They also publish web-only content from freelancers based on each month's theme. They pay on acceptance and buy all rights. Payments run $.40 - over $1.00 per word.

British Columbia Magazine

British Columbia Magazine is a Canadian regional magazine covering the province of BC. The magazine works with freelance writers both on spec and on assignment. Freelancers can sent queries for the following departments: Due West, Echoes, Destination, Outdoor Advisor, and Wild FilePay is $.50 per word for first worldwide print rights.

Central Coast Farm & Ranch

Central Coast Farm & Ranch is a quarterly magazine covering the agricultural community in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in California. They cover local food, agriculture, edible gardening, agri-tourism, and more. Pay is $.50 - $1.00 per word for features, and $350 for departments.

CICADA

CICADA is a YA/teen literary magazine that accepts fiction, poetry, comics, and essays. Fiction (up to 9000 words) pays up to $.10 / word; nonfiction (up to 5000 words) pays up to $.25 / word; poems pay up to $3.00 per line with a $25 minimum payment.

Clarkesworld Magazine

This magazine is devoted to science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They purchase both fiction and nonfiction writing. Payment for nonfiction is 10 cents per word up to their 2500 word limit. Payment for fiction (1000-16,000 words) is 10 cents per word for the first 5000 words (and 8 cents per word over that limit).

Earth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal covers environmental issues such as wildlife conservation,land conversation,public policy, climate and energy, and more. Contributors are paid $.25 per word for print stories (around $750-1000 for an in-depth 4000-word feature). Online reports pay $50-100 and are a good way for new writers to break into the market.

Gray's Sporting Journal

Gray's Sporting Journal accepts freelance submissions on sporting topics such as shooting / hunting and angling / fishing. They publish seven times per year, with four themed issues covering fly fishing, upland bird hunting, big game hunting, and their "Expeditions and Guides Annual." They're open to a wide range of word counts, but prefer shorter to too long (12,000 is okay if necessary, but 3000 is preferable, and 1500 words preferable even to that). In addition to articles and yarns (750-1500 word campfire tales -- can be factual or fiction), they also accept poetry up to 1000 words. They pay $600-1250 for features, $600 average for yarns, and $100 for poems.

High Country News

High Country News is a nonprofit news magazine covering the Western U.S. They pay $.50 - 1.50 per word, with a kill fee of 25%. They accept in-depth news and analyses from 800-1200 words, features of 2800+ words, and shorter 800-1500 word reviews, criticism, and short essays.

Model Railroad Hobbyist

Model Railroad Hobbyist publishes articles and videos "on all aspects of model railroading and on prototype (real) railroading as a subject for modeling." Articles typically run around 3000 words with 10 photos and a short video clip (payments being $230 for these). $200-600 per feature is typical, though they've paid over $1000 for longer articles as well (such as through their website where length isn't an issue).

Northern Virginia Magazine

Northern Virginia Magazine looks for profiles and interviews with prominent and influential individuals in the region. They also accept submissions on topics such as regional getaways, art, fashion, and education. Pay varies from $50 - $1000 per story depending on research and complexity. Half the fee is paid on submission and half upon publication. They do not reimburse expenses.

Sierra

Sierra is a bimonthly national magazine from the Sierra Club. They accept freelance submissions for both features and departments on conservation and other environmental issues. Features range from 2000-4000 words with payments starting at $1.00 / word (and going to $1.50 / word for well-known writers). Departments run 250-1000 words and pay $250-1000 unless otherwise noted in the guidelines.

Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance accepts both magazine articles and online contributions for K-12 educators "interested in social justice and anti-bias topics." Features run 800-1600 words. Why I Teach pieces run 600 words or less. Story Corner features student-facing short stories and nonfiction. Short articles for the website should run 500-700 words. They pay $1.00 per word for magazine contributions and $100 for short online articles.

The Sun Magazine

The Sun publishes essays, fiction, and poetry on political and cultural issues. Payment for nonfiction is $300-2000. Payment for fiction is $300-2000. Payment for poetry is $100-250. They purchase one-time rights.

If you're looking for more freelance writing opportunities for your pitch list, you can search or browse the full collection of writers' markets.

If you're an owner or editor of a publication paying freelance writers (on an ongoing basis -- not one-off gigs, which you can find here on the freelance writing job board instead), you can submit your market for consideration.

This is a 2018 update of a market list originally published on August 31, 2010.

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How would you like to earn $100 per blog post? You can earn that and more writing online if you know where to look. While I often point out that the best gigs are rarely advertised, that doesn't mean you can't find some public gems out there for newer freelance writers -- websites and blogs that pay writers $100 and more.

That's where this list comes in. Updated in May 2018, it features online writers' markets where you can earn $100 per post or article. Some even pay significantly more than that, so check them out even if you aren't just getting started.

Why These Markets Were Chosen

My requirements for inclusion in this list were simple:

  • It had to be an online writer's market (blog, website, web version of a magazine, etc.).
  • Guidelines, or at least payment info, had to be available publicly online (and not just from third party reports).
  • The $100 mark had to fall within the market's pay range for at least one type of writing (for example, some might start at $100, and others might pay "up to" $100).
Share This List

Tell your readers or fellow writers about this updated list of freelance blogging markets and other online markets that pay writers $100 per article and more. Click any of the links below to spread the word on Twitter.

Websites & Blogs Paying $100 per Article

Explore these paying blogs and other online markets to see if any are a good fit for you. And don't forget to keep an eye on the writer's market directory where I periodically add new listings.

NOTE: As of May 2018, the writer's market directory was moved to a new system on the backend of the site. This allows posts like this one to be automatically updated as new markets meeting the pay requirements are added to the broader directory. So check back periodically for new and updated markets.

Backpacker Magazine

Backpacker magazine pays anywhere from $.40 to more than $1.00 per word for articles, depending on their complexity. Features range from 1500 - 5000 words, and departments range from 100 - 1200 words. Topics include things like backpacking destinations, gear, and nature. Freelancers can also be assigned web-only content.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Beneath Ceaseless Skies seeks short stories of up to 14,000 words. They publish "literary adventure fantasy" with second-world settings. They pay 6 cents per word.

BigGreyHorse.com

Big Grey Horse Media accepts contributions from Texas freelance writers for travel writing pieces and destination reviews (restaurants, hotels, bars, etc.). Articles should be 600-1000 words and pay $125-200.

Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor is a daily newspaper covering US and international news. The paper accepts freelance news submissions. In general freelance writers submit only on spec when new to the publication, and writers grant the newspaper 90 day exclusive rights. Pay for a typical story is $250.

Clarkesworld Magazine

This magazine is devoted to science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They purchase both fiction and nonfiction writing. Payment for nonfiction is 10 cents per word up to their 2500 word limit. Payment for fiction (1000-16,000 words) is 10 cents per word for the first 5000 words (and 8 cents per word over that limit).

Coastal Review Online

Coastal Review Online is published by the North Carolina Coastal Federation. They accept freelance submissions of 800-2000 words. Pay varies from $75-200, and they pay within 10 days of acceptance.

Cooking Detective

CookingDetective.com is a cooking, recipe, and food blog. They pay $120-160 for "ultimate guide" articles of 3000-4000 words, and $75 for articles of 2000+ words.

Cosmopolitan.com

Cosmopolitan.com, tied to Cosmopolitan magazine, is looking for online contributors to submit essays about "a memorable, crazy, hilarious, or touching college experience." These should be up to 800 words and can focus on friends, dating, partying, classes, working, internships, and more. Pay is $100 for a published essay.

Daily Science Fiction

Daily Science Fiction publishes original short works of speculative fiction. They pay 8 cents per word for first worldwide rights and nonexclusive reprint rights. They accept stories, including flash fiction, from 100-1500 words.

Earth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal covers environmental issues such as wildlife conservation,land conversation,public policy, climate and energy, and more. Contributors are paid $.25 per word for print stories (around $750-1000 for an in-depth 4000-word feature). Online reports pay $50-100 and are a good way for new writers to break into the market.

Income Diary

IncomeDiary accepts online submissions about web development, web and blog design, SEO, driving traffic, social media, content creation, and making money online. Payments are up to $200 per article.

iWorkWell.com

iWorkWell accepts contributions from HR professionals / consultants / academics and employment or labor attorneys with HR expertise. They're looking for instructional articles related to HR professionals. They accept both edit offers for existing content on the site (up to $75 depending on the level of improvements) as well as new contributions paying anywhere from $115 - 195 per article. Articles are generally 1500 - 3500 words.

Knitty.com

Knitty.com accepts freelance submissions of knitting articles / tutorials / patterns. Pay attention to the writer's guidelines for notes on when to submit season-specific tutorials. Payments are $150-200 per submission.

Linode.com

Linode hires freelance technical writers to write tutorials about Linux, Linode, and cloud infrastructure. They pay up to $300.

Listverse

Listverse publishes list-based posts covering topics ranging from the bizarre to entertainment to science. They pay $100 per accepted post via Paypal. Posts must include at least ten list items.

Metro Parent

This parenting magazine for southeast Michigan also publishes online (including some online-only articles). For the print magazine, pay starts at $50 for short 600-word "Kids 101" submissions to $200+ for 1200-2500 word features. They also accept 50-word blurbs and pay $25 for those. For MetroParent.com, they pay $40+ for general and breaking posts of 600-800 words or resource round-ups. They also accept freelance submissions for their ancillary magazines -- Fun Guide, Big Book of Schools, and Pink + Blue.

Midwest Living

This lifestyle magazine focuses on the Midwest region of the U.S. They often test new freelancers with local scouting assignments or 300-600 word articles for their website. Pay varies, but they state a first-time writer working with them could generally earn around $150 for one of these scouting or online content assignments.

Model Railroad Hobbyist

Model Railroad Hobbyist publishes articles and videos "on all aspects of model railroading and on prototype (real) railroading as a subject for modeling." Articles typically run around 3000 words with 10 photos and a short video clip (payments being $230 for these). $200-600 per feature is typical, though they've paid over $1000 for longer articles as well (such as through their website where length isn't an issue).

Nevada Magazine

Nevada Magazine is the state of Nevada's official tourism magazine. They accept stories in the 500-1500 word range, and payments are up to $250. Payments for stories on their website, NevadaMagazine.com, are $100-200. They pay on publication and they don't pay expenses.

Photoshop Tutorials

PhotoshopTutorials.ws accepts Photoshop design tutorials and quick-tips. You must submit a picture of your final Photoshop project (and can do so for consideration before writing the tutorial itself). The site pays $50 for quick-tips and $150-300 for full tutorials.

Pseudopod

Pseudopod is an "audio magazine" in the horror genre. Writers can submit their stories to have them read and recorded by voice actors. They pay $20 for flash fiction reprints and $100 for short story reprints, or $.06 per word for original fiction.

Sitepoint

SitePoint.com accepts tutorials covering HTML and CSS. Pay is $150-200 per tutorial of average length, and $300 or more for articles and tutorials that are longer. They're also open to content covering Sass, developer tools, open source, performance, browser stats and trends, and task runners.

Slick WP

Slick WP accepts posts that help readers get the most out of the WordPress platform and the Genesis Theme Framework. Articles and tutorials should be 1250-2000 words long. Pay is $100 per published post.

Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is a magazine that publishes speculative fiction as well as poetry, interviews and reviews. The pay is $0.08/word for fiction and stories must be less than 10,000 words, though below 5,000 is preferred.

The Introspectionist

The Introspectionist is a "digital magazine for the intelligent woman." Different themes are covered every month through a series of thought-provoking articles. Topics include family issues, dating, health and beauty, and other current topics of interest (such as an upcoming issue on social networking). Pay is $25 for departments (100 to 500 words), $100 for features up to 2000 words, and $200 for features up to 5000 words. Poetry and fiction pay $25.

The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool accepts freelance contributions from financial writers / analysts, paying $100 per article.

TheTravelWritersLife.com

This site doesn't publish traditional travel pieces for the general public, but rather focuses on content that teaches people how to get paid to travel (travel writing, photography, etc.). They pay $50-75 for articles they request for the website, $100-150 for interviews and personal stories, and $150-200 for articles with specific advice on how readers can earn money while traveling.

Transitions Abroad

TransitionsAbroad.com accepts freelance contractions for its Web magazine. Examples of topics covered include working abroad, teaching English abroad, studying abroad, and cultural immersion travel. They pay on acceptance, and payments range from $50 to $150 for articles in the 1250-2000+ word range.

Tutorial Board

TutorialBoard accepts submissions of tutorials related to Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and other design software. Tutorials must include downloadable .psd files. Pay is up to $150 per tutorial.

Webloggerz.com

Web Loggerz accepts articles, screencasts, and infographics from freelance contributors. Content should be related to the WordPress platform. Guidelines note this is a paying market (at the time of inclusion, the owner confirmed they pay $30-100 per contribution).

Zift

Zift is looking for parenting guest bloggers, particularly parenting & technology bloggers or parents who can speak to technology topics, and paying $100 per accepted post.

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Over the past couple of months we've talked a lot about freelance writer sites -- 5 great freelance writer sites as inspiration, what your freelance writer site should include, why I think you should include rates on your freelance site, and more. Today let's look at another feature you might be considering adding to yours -- an email list.

Now some marketers will tell you it's always a good idea to build an email list for any kind of business. But is it actually necessary when it comes to freelance writing services?

Well, it depends.

Why Freelance Writers Don't Need Email Marketing Lists

When it comes to adding an email list to my own freelance writer website, I've batted the idea around for years. And I've opted against it for two reasons:

  1. In my own case it's never been necessary. I get plenty of inquiries without it.
  2. It's an extra commitment I'd have to make (when again, I don't really need to right now).

And those are precisely the reasons you don't necessarily need an email list either.

First there's the issue of supply and demand. You aren't selling products. You're selling services that rely on your time. And you only have so many available billable hours.

That's one of the perks of freelance writing.

As long as you're charging professional rates, you don't need that many clients to keep your schedule full.

If you were selling products, it makes total sense to build a list so you can maximize sales. But with freelancing, you need to reach far fewer people to reach your sales goals. Building a list of thousands of subscribers sounds great. But it takes work. And you don't need thousands of prospects to keep yourself fully-booked.

This alone means freelancers don't really need email lists. They're about two main things: relationships and scale. There are plenty of ways to build relationships though. And freelancing isn't a game of scale.

The other issue is the time commitment. 

One thing I frequently remind newer freelancers of is this -- it doesn't matter if a marketing tactic works; it matters if it works better than your other options.

Just as you have a limited number of billable hours, you also have a limited amount of time to devote to marketing your freelance writing services. So you want to get the most out of that time by focusing on the most effective tactics and tools available to you.

Think about how you already market your services. What works? What doesn't? Are you already filling your billable hours? Or do you need to add a new tactic or change things up?

If you do need to attract more clients, an email list might work. But will it work better than all other options available to you?

That depends what you're already doing. And who your target market is. And what kinds of services you're selling. And how you intend to use that email list (such as simply for direct promotions versus using it as a thought leadership tool to position yourself in a competitive market).

Managing an email list requires not only time, but consistency. 

So before deciding whether or not an email list is a smart move for your business, ask yourself the following:

  • How do you plan to use the email list?
  • How often do you plan to send emails?
  • How long will that content be (how long will it take you to write the content or copy)?
  • How will you build the email list, and how much time can you devote to that?

Think about the time investment, not just in setting up a list and getting a form added to your freelance writer website, but also the ongoing time commitment.

Then think about other promotional tools and tactics available to you. Then ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Which of those marketing tactics, including managing an email list, is likely to bring in the most paying work?
  • How long will it likely take to see a return on your time investment for each marketing tactic you're considering?
  • Would investing more time in an already-successful marketing tactic potentially yield better, or faster, results?

It can easily turn out that managing a new email marketing list will require a bigger time investment than other tactics that could bring about similar, or better, returns.

Combine this with the fact that freelancing isn't a matter of scale like so many businesses are, and email lists simply aren't a necessity for many writers. And doing it just because people like to promote email marketing as a must-have for everyone could leave you wasting time on something you don't ultimately stick with.

Finally, there's the issue of conversions.

What do you want visitors of your professional site to do? Do you want to convert them into subscribers so maybe they'll buy something later? Or do you want to convert them into clients by getting them to contact you directly right now?

You can't count on converting site visitors in multiple ways on any given visit. So what do you want your site's copy focused on -- promoting your email list or promoting your services?

Every page should have a goal. So for every page you'll have to choose.

Splitting your visitors' attention between multiple calls-to-action could hurt more than it helps (this is something I've seen with my own blogs that offer both email sign-ups and sales-directed CTAs -- it's a balance you'll need to figure out for your own market).

Frankly, one of the biggest issues I've seen in reviewing freelancers' websites is the lack of CTAs to begin with. Check your own site, and start with adding or improving ones directed at making sales before directing visitors toward other actions.

When Email Lists Make More Sense

While I'd consider email lists far from a necessity for most freelance writers, there are cases where they can make sense in your marketing mix.

For example, you might not maintain a public list where you try to attract sign-ups, but you might keep a more private email list of past clients you've worked with for the sake of traditional relationship marketing and staying fresh on the mind of previous and current clients. Because relationships are so vital in freelancing, this kind of list might work very well for you.

You also might not sell only writing services. For example, if you also offer consulting of some kind, then thought leadership and promoting your authority status in your specialty area becomes more important. In that case, having some kind of ongoing publication can be a good idea, such as a newsletter or blog (where you make posts available via email).

Or perhaps you sell a product to freelance prospects -- a lower price point buy-in to acquaint them with your expertise and style. In this case you have a product to sell, and an email list could be a good way to promote those sales. Examples might be an e-book or a course.

And then, of course, there's the case where your current marketing isn't working and you do have reason to believe email marketing could be a more effective use of your time than other options available to you.

In any of those cases, adding an email list sign-up to your freelance writer website might make sense.

As with any kind of marketing tactic, don't follow generic marketing advice that doesn't account for the realities of running a freelance business. What works for other kinds of companies isn't always the most effective use of time for freelance writers.

Evaluate your options. Figure out what you are, and aren't, comfortable trying. Decide if you're willing to invest the time long-term. And only then can you decide if adding email marketing to your mix is the right decision for your business.

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All Indie Writers by Jennifer Mattern - 3M ago

Recently I sent out newsletters to subscribers inviting them to apply for an upcoming freelance writing experiment where I'll work with a writer one-on-one for a few months to improve or revitalize their career.

Today I was pouring over those applications, and the stories these writers shared, as I tried to narrow down my options. And I noticed a trend through most of these applications as writers told me about their common challenge -- a lack of confidence.

That might have been a lack of confidence in pitching. Or following up with prospects. Or asking for more than beginner-level rates even when they had nearly five years of experience behind them. Or networking more. Or simply taking a leap to try something new.

Confidence is one of those topics I don't think we can talk about enough.

I consider it incredibly important for newer freelancers in particular to know that they aren't alone if they deal with fears and doubts and struggles with confidence.

What was refreshing about these writers though was they've already pushed past the first hurdle. They've engaged in honest self-reflection, they've admitted what their issue is, and they asked for help where they needed it.

  • Maybe you're in a similar place.
  • Maybe you're still neck-deep in doubts and fears and impostor syndrome and you can't bring yourself to ask for help.
  • Or maybe you struggle with these things, but you're still in denial about what's holding you back.

That's all natural. And as long as you keep working towards the acknowledgement and ability to seek help or work on the underlying issues like these other writers have, you will be okay.

Lori Widmer asked me to write a post for this year's Writer's Worth Month (in May) over at her Words on the Page blog. More specifically she asked me to talk about the role fear has played in my freelance writing career. So I'll wait until that post to share some of my own story with you (though you'll certainly find plenty of it tucked away here in the archives too).

If you want to be a fly on the wall hearing two writers talk about fear and confidence about writing (fiction and freelance), listen to this podcast I recorded with Princess Jones.

Episode 19: Fear and Confidence Issues for Writers (with Princess Jones) - SoundCloud
(3788 secs long)Play in SoundCloud

Until then, that's really all I want you to know: We all have a story. And you aren't alone.

Our struggles might look different, but they can be as debilitating. And they can all be overcome in their own ways. If you feel like a lack of confidence is holding you back in business, take some time for the kind of honest self-reflection your colleagues did when sending me their applications.

Think about the specific ways your career has suffered because of issues of confidence. Then, if you can't bring yourself to push past it just yet, look for ways to work around it. If you're afraid to cold call clients, turn to email instead. If you're lacking the confidence to pitch, focus on inbound marketing. If surrounding yourself with colleagues intimidates you, focus your time and energy on networking with potential clients rather than other writers.

There is no single perfect career plan for freelancers. The beauty of a freelance writing career is that we get to tailor it to our own preferences, as long as those choices drive us in the right direction. That doesn't only mean focusing our strategy on our strengths, but also around our weaknesses.

If the road you're on is blocked... take a detour.

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Every week I curate ads for the freelance writing job board here at All Freelance Writing. That means digging through a lot of garbage to find a few gems. And one type of ad I sometimes see deserves a bit of attention -- those with pay based on location.

What do I mean exactly?

These are the ads that either outright say your pay as a freelance writer will depend on your location, or they list specific rates for one group of writers and another set of rates for writers in a different geographic area.

Now, you might think this only happens internationally -- such as a US company paying US-based freelance writers more than, say, a writer in Asia for the same work. But I've more often seen this stated regionally.

For example, a company based in NYC, or LA, or some other large city where the cost of living is high will offer higher pay for local writers than they offer for writers in more rural or suburban areas of the country (even though the work is the same and all of those writers work remotely).

What's Wrong with Freelance Pay Based on Location?

On the surface, this might not sound like a bad thing. It's just an urban company understanding local writers struggle with a higher cost of living, and they want to support those local freelancers. Right?

That might be the intention in some cases. But it's a largely illogical way to determine pay rates, and it has the potential to be destructive.

Let's pretend we're talking about a NYC client looking to hire US-based writers to create content for their blog. They offer $150 per post for local writers and $100 per post for writers based in lower cost of living areas, attributing the difference to cost of living.

The Issue of Value

Tell me something.

What's the difference in the value of each blog post in the above scenario? Assuming the writers have equal talent and credentials making them good fits for this gig, why is a post from Writer A worth more than a similar post from Writer B?

It isn't. Not in the sense of the client's business.

And freelancing is not an employer-employee proposition. Your location should only ever be factored into your rates if you choose to do that (and we'll get to why you shouldn't in many cases shortly).

As a freelancer, the value you provide should affect the rate you earn (among other things).

Further Reading: 47 Things to Consider When Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates

If the value of your work is $150 per post to that client, then that's what you should be paid, as long as that rates fits your own target. You can be paid less if you're less experienced, if your writing isn't as strong, if you don't bring specialized knowledge to a gig... but all else equal, you should not be paid less simply because of where you live.

Clients Don't Know Your Cost of Living

Another issue with pay based on location citing cost of living as the reason is clients don't actually know your cost of living.

Tell me. Do you think you'd have a higher cost of living if you're a 20-something living in NYC, single, no kids, living with your parents or a couple of roommates... or if you're a 20-something, married, with two kids, and a homeowner a couple of hours outside that city?

Why should Writer A be paid more than Writer B just because a client makes stupid assumptions about each writer's situation? (And for the record, most assumptions are stupid, and often wrong.)

Writer A may or may not need as much as Writer B to support themselves. But the client assumes an increase in value (which doesn't exist) because they're also assuming a cost of living they know little to nothing about.

Should a freelance writer in the suburbs automatically be paid less than one who does choose to rent in the city instead? Of course not. It has nothing to do with value and everything to do with cost of living assumptions which are irrelevant anyway.

Your Situation Isn't Static

Let's say you're that suburban or rural Writer B clients assume are worth less because you have a lower cost of living. That lower cost of living isn't necessarily permanent.

What if you're in the suburbs now, but you're planning a move to a higher cost of living area? Would the value of your work suddenly change after a move? No. And why shouldn't you earn what your work is actually worth so you can set more aside and make that move you want to make sooner rather than later? (You should.)

Creating Unfair Competition

Now put on your business owner hat for a moment. If you can get the same value out of the work of two different freelancers, but you can pay one 33% less than the other (increasing your profits or decreasing your cost for other benefits you're seeking), who are you going to hire?

Business owners don't pay more just because they can. Again, we're assuming all other things are equal between these two freelance writers vying for the same gig.

So here's a buyer acting as though they care about local freelance writers by offering to pay them more. But then they immediately put them at a disadvantage by making them less cost-competitive than other applicants for the very same gig.

That helps no one. It means the lower cost of living writers don't get paid what their work as been deemed to be worth. It means the higher cost of living writer has less of a chance of landing the gig because it becomes more expensive to hire them. And the client puts themselves at risk of not choosing the best freelancer for the job because suddenly cost becomes a significant deciding factor where it shouldn't.

There's no need for any of that.

Location as a Factor in Setting Your Own Freelance Writing Rates

There's no good reason for any client to advertise a gig with pay based on location rather than skills, credentials, and value. But what about when you set your own freelance writing rates?

This is something I see more with freelancers working in international markets.

Let's say you're a freelance writer in India for example, but you mostly work with UK clients. You might be inclined to set low rates because you perhaps have a lower cost of living. You figure it's a selling advantage that will attract more clients because it's cheaper for them to work with you.

That might be true. But let me ask you:

  • Assuming your writing is equal to, or better than, those local UK writers, does your work offer less value just because of where you live? (And while I'm well aware of the stereotype and know not all overseas writers write fluently in English, I know more than a few whose English is better than most Americans and Brits I know.)
  • If you could be paid a fair market rate for what your work is worth, rather than what you think your location entitles you to, would you be happier hitting your income goals while having to take on far fewer projects?
  • If a client's primary concern is cost-cutting, are those the kinds of clients you really want to cater to in the first place?

If you're okay being paid less than you're worth, working harder than you have to, and catering to clients who don't respect the value you bring to the table, by all means do whatever you want. It's your career.

But you don't have to put up with any of that.

Think back to what I said using the US regional example too. Is your situation static? Or would you maybe like to move overseas someday? Do you want to travel more and embrace the digital nomad lifestyle? Will charging those lower rates help you do that?

Probably not.

More likely, you'll end up stuck in a rut of working with low-paying clients. And if you do ultimately decide to change your living situation, you'll have to start over in a new market targeting better clients who pay you more.

Having a low cost of living isn't something any freelance writer should be punished for. It's a benefit. Yes. Those in higher cost of living areas should be able to earn a living wage. But the benefit of a low cost of living is that you can earn as much freelancing and squirrel more away -- as an emergency fund, to travel, for retirement, or whatever you please. If you wanted location to influence your pay, you'd have settled for an ordinary day job with a local company.

And remember, undercharging can hurt your overall professional reputation. I talked about this when I explained why you should publish your freelance writing rates on your business website.

Low rates tells prospects you don't value your work as highly. And that... wait for it... leads to more stupid assumptions. They might assume your English isn't strong. Or they might think you're a beginner when you really have 10 years of experience. Or they might assume you simply can't write and will need your hand held more than most (potentially costing you gigs in the first place).

Know what they won't assume? Your value suddenly increases just because you later decide to move to a higher cost of living area.

To sum this up, the only time your cost of living or location should affect the rates you charge is when you need to charge enough to cover those costs and earn a livable wage. Anything beyond that is based on your actual income needs, your experience and credentials, and frankly what you want to earn.

Don't let clients assign you lower worth based on where you live. And don't treat yourself that shabbily either.

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Every year I try to share my business and writing goals with you here on the blog. And every quarter I post updates about what's going well (and what's not). My hope is that it will inspire some of you to focus more on planning and reflection in your own freelance writing businesses.

It's that time again.

If nothing else, know this:

Sometimes things go according to plan. Sometimes they don't. You learn. You adapt. You grow. You change. And as long as it's for the better, you're going to be just fine, no matter how disappointing short-term progress might feel. And you are not alone. You are never alone. From beginners to experienced pros alike, we all have ups and downs. And things are usually a mixed bag.

Now, to the updates...

First Quarter Summary

If you've been following the blog over the last year, it's not exactly a secret that I've been struggling with some things. What they are is irrelevant. But it's been a difficult, depressing, hell of a time. And I thought the start of 2018 would be a positive thing, leaving certain things behind.

Instead it was filled with more pain, more struggles, and an apathy unlike anything I've ever felt.

So, it's not been a great quarter. I find it difficult to care about much at all other than client projects (deadlines and someone else relying on me still do that thankfully).

Still, all wasn't lost. I got off to a good start early in January at least. And I've been withdrawn a bit lately working on some bigger things both for the sake of progress and distraction.

I'd give this quarter... a 6 out of 10? Sure, let's go with that.

Freelance Writing

Here were the main goals for the freelance writing side of my business:

  • Have client work be no more than half my working hours by the end of the first quarter.
  • Get my professional site back up to snuff.
  • Hit 80%+ my highest year's income just from client work (despite the more limited hours).

Here's what happened towards those goals:

  • I'm pretty close to the first goal. It shifts a bit week-to-week depending on new clients and any one-off work I take on.
  • I'm about 40% of the way through my site fixes as of today. The blog's on a regular schedule. Rates were adjusted. Some issues were fixed. I mostly just need to work on more copy updates. Most of it's scheduled in this week and next, so it won't be much longer.
  • Tough to tell on the last goal as it's an annual one. With me cutting client hours more later this year (if I stay on-plan), it's not as simple as estimating month-to-month. But it's certainly doable. On the plus side I'm in talks for a few big projects that should be a lot of fun (and pay well), so if even half of those pan out, it'll get me well on-track.
Web Publishing & Blogging

Here were the goals for the blogging and other web publishing I do:

  • Get to spending half my working hours on my site by year's end.
  • Finish All Freelance Writing improvements to polish off the rebranding effort.
  • Launch FreelanceWritingPros.com.
  • Finish a site split from my old small business blog (BizAmmo.com).
  • Launch / re-launch a few other blogs this year (NakedPR.com, my genealogy blog by the spring, two new "quiet" sites, and a spin-off blog related to All Freelance Writing).

Here's where things stand:

  • Again, the working hours fluctuate a bit. Earlier in the year I was close. Now I'm a little less than half, mostly because I took a week off from my sites. But it's getting there, especially since I don't need to hit the goal until the end of the year.
  • Not much progress at all on the back-end and design things for this site. I need to light a fire under me on that. Once this post goes up I'll go schedule some of these tasks in. If it's not in Todoist or my bullet journal, it just doesn't get done. (The bullet journals have been absolute lifesavers for the record. Without them, I'd probably have let that apathy overrun everything. Committing to things in pen and then not doing them makes me rather grumpy it seems, so I've taken to committing more to pen.)
  • The Freelance Writing Pros launch was delayed. I spent the better part of a month-and-a-half sick around the time I should have been finishing the launch. And I'm struggling to work that in around everything else already planned. But again, at least there's progress. A good bit of the content is ready. I mostly need to update the copy (since I'm launching it solo and it was originally a project with a partner). And I may develop a short course.
  • I did get the first launch done -- the site split from BizAmmo. You can see the new site at KissMyBiz.com. I've been wanting to do something with that older site for years, so I'm thrilled about this at least.
  • The genealogy blog re-launched but is still in desperate need of design changes. The others I haven't yet. Once FWP launches I'll work on the spin-off. Then NakedPR's resurrection. I may drop the "quiet" sites or go with others. These ones A) remind me of what's had me feeling so awfully lately so I don't much want to spend time on them, and B) aren't niches I care enough about to stay interested.
Indie Publishing / Creative Writing

Finally, here were my goals for the indie publishing and more creative side of my business:

  • Publish at least 6 short nonfiction e-books (some through All Freelance Writing) this year.
  • Get at least one poem published (in print or in a reputable online journal or magazine).
  • Get a horror story published.
  • Release one nonfiction book in print.
  • Release at least one novel (preferably in print).
  • Earn a bare minimum of $10k from e-book sales.

Here's the progress, or lack thereof:

  • I haven't put out any of the e-books yet. One is nearly finished, but it keeps getting longer on every revision round, so it's less "short" than I'd originally planned. I have a second in the works for this site as well. So you'll get a minimum of two second quarter. A short one will release when Freelance Writing Pros launches as well. So I'm a bit behind schedule but not enough that it's worrying me.
  • I've been a bit slack about poetry. Again, it's a reminder of things I try not to remember. But I don't want to let anyone or anything ruin it for me either when it's taken over 15 years to get back into writing it at all. I've only submitted one so far. I promised myself I'd do weekly submissions, but I broke that promise almost as soon as I made it. Given that it's National Poetry Month (and I'm doing a poem-a-day personal challenge for that), it seems as good a time as any to start keeping that promise to myself.
  • I haven't submitted any horror stories yet. But I'm currently revising one that I'm submitting at the end of this month for an HWA anthology. While it would be awesome to have a story chosen for it, I'm certainly not getting hopes up. I'm just going to do my best, submit, take what comes (or doesn't), and keep submitting until I get the right story in the right hands.
  • The nonfiction print book I haven't done much with yet. The thing is though, I wrote one years ago that I didn't publish. So I'm thinking my goal here will be to do extensive revisions of that (some updates are needed though most is evergreen). So it's doable by year's end for sure.
  • As for finally publishing a novel (of which I've written several), this is an area where I've been pretty happy with my progress. A lot of what I've done while keeping quieter and withdrawing has been throwing myself into a murder mystery I'd written that was in desperate need of revisions. They turned into much heavier revisions than expected -- I wrote out two characters (including the intended killer), and I'm working on improving character development for the rest. I'm still having doubts about the murder method, so another key element might change. In spite of that, I feel pretty good about how things are coming together. I don't have a great feel on timing yet because I don't know how many more revision rounds I'll need. But with a lot of hard work and a little luck, I think there's a good chance of hitting this goal as of now.
  • Finally, the $10k income goal... I guess it would help if I actually released a new e-book, huh? I'll have to get on that. I'm not worried about this goal. If I publish even half the planned e-books, this will be an easy target for me to hit, and if anything I probably set much too low of a goal. So this goal might change mid-year.

And, that is that. As awful as I feel about this first quarter, going through the list here actually helped me realize I wasn't as off-course as I thought. That is something to celebrate. And even if you aren't quite where you hoped to be after the first quarter, I hope you found some progress worth celebrating as well. Don't give up on your goals. Use this opportunity (and every quarter) to evaluate your progress and tweak your plans as necessary. There's still plenty of time to make something amazing of this year.

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If you blog on your professional site, chances are you're hoping to land more writing gigs from your blog. And you're not alone. The marketing benefits of blogging aren't exactly a secret.

That said, I often see freelancers start a professional blog only to give it up after a few months.

Part of the problem seems to be a matter of instant gratification -- we're so used to it (especially online) that if something doesn't provide near-immediate results, we can find it easy to walk away and try something else. It's human nature I suppose -- walking away from something as soon as it's no longer all fun and new and living up to our unrealistic expectations.

That's rarely smart. It holds us back from better things (which we only find when we put the work in).

Plus, it's a downright foolish way to run a business. 

Rather than hanging up your blogging boots because you aren't seeing those immediate results you were hoping for, why not work to improve your blog instead? You'll build something stronger and more valuable from a marketing perspective. And you can bring in enough prospects to keep you busy, even without traditional pitching if that doesn't suit you (it certainly isn't how I prefer to land gigs).

The first step? Be realistic about what a blog can do. 

For example, you can't expect to write a handful of posts and have dozens of prospects beating down a path to your door immediately as a result.

Blogging is a cumulative marketing tool. And while every post is a promotional opportunity in its own right, the longer you stick with it the harder your collective blog will work for you. But if you want to get there, you need to take it on a post-by-post basis and make the most of everything you write.

You can improve your freelance writer blog and its ability to attract and convert prospects with five simple steps.

1. Have a goal for every post.

Remember that your professional blog is about clients and prospects -- not you. So while it's okay to occasionally post promotions or news, a blog that brings in freelance writing clients should be focused more on helpful content, giving your target clients something they want to read.

One of the best, and easiest, ways to do this is to make sure every post addresses either:

  • a problem;
  • an opportunity.

These are two sides of the same coin.

A problem is simply a negative situation your target clients are facing -- something getting between them and their goals. Your blog posts should help them overcome those problems.

An opportunity is a chance for your readers to see a benefit they currently aren't realizing. And your blog posts will help them take advantage of those circumstances.

When you give each post on your professional blog a goal that addresses one of these two things, you turn them into resources. You also get to showcase your expertise in a way that makes you not only look more authoritative, but also more trustworthy -- exactly the kind of writer clients are happy to pay good money to work with.

This often involves teaching your readers something in each post. It might also mean offering tips or advice. Or it can even mean writing informative "explainer" posts to help prospects understand blogging / copywriting / research / etc. fundamentals or certain project types.

2. Speak to your prospects.

It's not enough to teach or explain or solve a problem though. If you want your blog posts to help you land freelance writing gigs, it helps to put a bit of yourself into them.

What I mean by that is write like you speak (at least to some degree). Write as if you're speaking directly to your prospects -- to that one individual reader in the moment.

Why?

It's about building trust by giving potential clients a glimpse of what you might be like to interact with one-on-one if they decide to work with you.

Not used to writing in this style? Here's an easy way to give it a try:

Pretend the problem or opportunity your post tackles came to you in the form of a prospect's question via email. Write as if you were responding to that email. It can help you get the POV and tone down quickly in the way you would actually speak to clients. Then you can expand upon that and format the post in revisions.

3. Include a call-to-action (CTA).

Now let's say you've written an amazing blog post. It solves a very real problem your freelance writing prospects face. It's written in a style that speaks to them and that they find appealing.

Does that mean your reader is going to be left thinking about hiring you?

No.

Leave readers hanging after giving them the content they came for in the moment, and they might just close the page and move on to the next thing they wanted to do, or read, or look up.

If you want prospects to hire you after reading a blog post, tell them what you want them to do.

Ask them to contact you. Offer to give them a quote on a service related to that post (ideally every post will be related to a specific service you offer). Tell them you're the writer to carry out the solution you proposed in your article.

Close your posts by prompting your reader to take action. That's how you go from having a casual reader or passerby and end up with a warm lead ready to reach out and hire you.

4. Optimize your post.

Maybe you have the perfect post. It solves a problem or helps the reader explore a rewarding opportunity. Your style is right-on for your target market. You have a CTA that you're confident will drive conversions.

So what?

How valuable is that post if you don't get eyes on it?

No. Scratch that.

How valuable is that post if you don't the the right eyes on it?

That's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. And it's one of the places where I often see freelancers stall. But if you write posts, and you don't get that post in front of people looking to hire writers like you, then why are you wasting your time?

A professional blog isn't an exercise in ego. It's a tool. And one of the best ways to use that tool is to target every post to a different keyword phrase potential clients might use when searching for a writer. This way, when they search Google looking for a copywriter / blogger / whatever-kind-of-writer-you-are in their industry, there you'll be.

When you optimize your posts and get them ranking well in Google, they won't provide immediate traffic. Those rankings can take time. But once you do earn them, they'll continually bring in new leads.

Now multiply that by a post per week for a year.

Sometimes ranking for a single keyword phrase will bring in more leads than you could even take on (what happened with my site for years). And sometimes you'll target more keywords that only bring in a lead or two per month (and yes, some will flop).

But when you have a dozen or so posts all bringing in a lead or two each month for pro-level projects (not piddly one-off gigs), that can also work out to more leads than you can take on. And that not only leaves you in a comfortable place, but it gives you the ability to be even more choosy about the projects you want to take on and the people you want to work with.

Optimize your posts for search engines. Every one of them.

5. Promote your post.

If you can get your professional blog posts ranking well in search results, that's great. But like I said earlier, it can also take time. And this is the other place where I see writers give up too soon on their business blogs.

Sometimes optimizing posts is all a freelancer does, expecting leads to start flowing in. And in time they might. But that isn't the only kind of promotion you can (or should) do.

Again, you have to get your blog posts in front of the eyes of potential clients if you want that blog to be an effective marketing tool. So after you've written and published a helpful, informative, appealing, high-converting blog post, get out there and actively promote it.

If your social media profiles are focused on your professional network (with potential clients, not colleagues), promote your post there.

You can have an email subscription option available to put your posts in your prospects' inboxes (just convince them to subscribe on your site).

If you can do so tastefully, you could even use a particular blog post as a reason to reconnect with a former client (share something you think they'd love), or you could do similar by including custom content recommendations in email pitches to new potential clients.

Your blog goes hand-in-hand with your overall network and visibility. The more you put into building a network and connecting with potential clients, the more prospects you can get each post in front of. And the better your blog, the more it can do to help you expand that network and, ultimately, convert those prospects into paying clients. But don't think of it as a Catch-22 where you need one to build the other. Think of them as two tools at their best when you build them concurrently.

It can sound like a lot to think about -- what each post should revolve around, having a direct call-to-action for every one, optimizing your content, and actively promoting it for the quickest returns. But once you put together a system that works for you, and you get in the habit of sticking to it on a regular basis, it'll start to feel like second nature.

That's the gist of what each blog post on your professional blog needs to do. Are yours?

Do you have any additional steps you include to land more writing gigs from your blog? Tell me about them in the comments.

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(Note: Parts of this post were originally published in 2013 -- hence why you'll find some older comments below. The outdated content has been updated, and I've greatly expanded upon this topic as an intro to my series on freelance writer blogs for 2018.)

We've been talking recently about freelance writer websites and how they can help you attract prospects and convert them into clients. Today let's focus on a particular element of professional sites -- freelance writer blogs.

Now, I'm not talking about freelance writing blogs, where you write about freelance writing itself, and where your content is for other writers. The vast majority of freelancers don't need those, and they aren't an efficient tool for landing gigs.

I'm talking about professional blogs written for clients.

Freelance Writer Blogs: The Basics

Your freelance writer blog is a blog on your professional site where you help, teach, or inform your target prospects.

It's a tool that can turn prospects from one-time visitors to your business site into subscribers or at least regular visitors because you're giving them specialized content that's relevant to their business.

That, in turn, keeps your name in front of prospects on a regular basis. And when they're looking to hire someone in your specialty area, you'll be the freelancer who comes to mind.

You have a couple of options when launching a freelance writer blog:

  1. You can launch a standalone blog, separate from your professional site (either on its own domain or a subdomain).
  2. You can integrate your freelance writer blog into your larger website.

My preference leans strongly toward the latter -- making your client-facing blog a part of your professional site itself.

The only good reason I can think of for keeping it separate would be if your professional site wasn't in a content management system (like WordPress) that could accommodate a blog. But at that point, I'd sooner have the whole site redesigned on a blog-friendly CMS than host them separately and potentially create a marketing and SEO mess to clean up later.

What exactly is a blog? 

If you're familiar with blogging, pardon me while I go very basic here for a moment. But occasionally I hear from freelancers who don't have blogs (or even professional sites) because they launched their careers when they were neither common nor necessary.

Now, however, if they want to compete effectively for newer types of gigs (think blogging, web copy, or even writing for digital magazines), a website and blog can be essential.

If you happen to be one of these folks, and the idea of blogging is totally new to you, don't fret. Blogs are simple, and you're well-equipped to manage one.

A blog is nothing but online content where both of the following are true:

  • Content is published in reverse chronological order (so your newest posts would be the first thing people see when they visit the blog itself).
  • There is a social element to the content. Your readers have the ability to interact with it, and you, as opposed to something like an article appearing in print.

That's it. Really.

"Blogs" do not indicate a certain type of content.

Any content meeting those two requirements can technically be on a blog. That could mean:

  • casual or personal posts;
  • more formal feature articles like you might find in print publications;
  • interviews;
  • reviews;
  • lists;
  • tutorials;
  • videos;
  • and pretty much any kind of content you can come up with.

If you can write, you can manage a professional blog -- even if you need some technical guidance to set it up initially.

What Should a Freelance Writer Blog Include?

We'll get into the reasons you should consider having a freelance writer blog shortly. But for now let's assume you've decided to include one on your professional site.

What would that blog even include?

I already gave you some basic content types you could focus on. But let's look at a few specifics based on posts from three of the five freelance writer websites I highlighted as good examples for your own.

1. Share news about your business or services that might affect clients.

This is my least favorite way to use a professional blog simply because it revolves heavily around you rather than your prospects or clients. But this is one type of post you can include in your broader mix.

Yolander Prinzel had good reason to publish a post like this last fall when a hurricane passed through her area. This isn't a traditional blog post by any means. It's only a few sentences. It's going to do nothing for SEO. It's not trying to sell visitors on anything.

So why include it?

Customer service.

We sometimes get so caught up in getting blogging advice from marketers that we forget blogs have value well beyond increasing subscribers and sales. There are plenty of PR benefits. And there are also customer service oriented posts like Yolander's "Delays Due to Hurricane Irma."

In this case the post reassures existing clients (some of whom might have known she was in the storm's path, but mostly letting them know it won't affect their deadlines). More important, it's a notice to prospects who might have reached out so they didn't expect an immediate response while she was addressing bigger issues.

Other types of business-related news you might feature include:

  • Announcements of breaks if you won't be checking emails for a while (such as an extended vacation or long medical leave);
  • Sales and promotions that you'll offer for only a limited time;
  • Announcements of new services you'll start offering.

I wouldn't make these frequent. But if it's something you want subscribed prospects to know about it, go ahead and include it in your professional blog.

2. Publish tutorials to teach clients how to do what you do.

I know how counter-intuitive it sounds to teach your clients and prospects how to do what you want them to hire you to do instead. But it works.

Look. I come from a PR background. Persuasion is a big part of the job. It was essential in my non-profit PR days. It was essential in music PR. And it is just as essential in freelance writing.

I learned early on in the freelance game that the best clients were those willing to learn. 

If you've ever seen a prospect tell a writer their gig should be "easy," or you've ever seen them describe their open job as "only X words" as if it's a justification for their low pay, you know what I mean.

When clients are ignorant about the value you bring to the table, they're a nightmare to work with. 

Now that's not always the case of course. But if you're targeting relatively new and untouched markets like I was early on, you have two options: put up with their assumptions and demeaning BS, or educate them.

I chose the latter. I spent a lot of time early on making a name for myself within my narrow market by being the one who could explain PR writing beyond "you'll get some backlinks" (what most generic writers focused on at the time). I could teach them about true media relations, the reputational value of press releases, thought leadership and industry presence, and how that PR writing involved much more than one project type.

When you teach prospects, you build trust.

You also build an appreciation for the work you do, and that's reflected in how much you can earn.

Press releases were the primary service those folks were interested in at the time. So I didn't just answer questions about them. I went so far as offering a guide prospects could use to write their own DIY releases without hiring me.

Why?

  • I sold the guide, so it was a way to monetize the time I was spending answering questions, and a way to monetize people who couldn't afford to hire me anyway.
  • The guide cemented my reputation with those prospects even more as someone who stood out as an actual PR expert and not just another generic content writer.
  • I knew that when prospects did write their own releases many would would either A) realize how hard it can be to do well and hire me before they even finished their first, or B) they'd not see the coverage they were hoping for and they'd come to a pro for help the next time.

Know what happened? 

That guide (which brought in thousands of dollars in direct sales and only took me a weekend to create) ended up bringing in well into five figures worth of press release writing gigs in just the year-and-a-half I sold it. Many of those clients continued working with me for years. Some still do (one has been with me for all of their press releases since 2007).

Eventually I got tired of updating the e-book (which also touched on the distribution side a bit, which frequently changes). So I left it up but made it a free download. It still occasionally brings in clients, and I'm actually planning to condense that freebie to focus only on writing and re-release a paid, more in-depth, option later this year as part of a resource series.

When you take the time to teach your prospects, you not only demonstrate your knowledge of your subject matter (whether that's a project type or industry). You build greater respect for the value you offer when prospects have at least a basic understanding of what your work entails. And that can not only lead to more gigs... it can lead to better-paying gigs.

You don't have to go all-out with an e-book (though mine was originally about 20 pages, so they don't have to be long). You can do similar with your freelance writer blog.

Cathy Miller does a great job with this kind of content on her professional blog, Simply Stated Business. She focuses more on tips than full-fledged tutorials, but whether she's covering style or the importance of word choice in business writing, she's essentially giving prospects a glimpse into the complexities of what she does. But if you want to check out one of her project-specific guides, read "How to Bullet-Proof Your Technical Presentation."

3. Use your blog to show the value of your services.

Another kind of post you might include on your freelance writer blog is one directly designed to promote one of your services.

This doesn't mean it should be a salesy in-your-face kind of post. Take a soft sell approach (something else my PR background makes me a big fan of). Like tutorials, it comes down to educating clients. But think of these posts as more of a gentle nudge, pushing someone towards an interest in your services by exposing them to the benefits of a certain project type.

In essence, these blogs posts are almost like mini white papers.

What does a white paper do? 

  • You identify a problem or opportunity.
  • You make a case for the importance of solving that problem or taking advantage of that opportunity -- think statistics.
  • You offer a general solution for that problem.
  • Then you promote your own service as a specific solution.

You can do that with blog posts too. 

  • Choose a project type you want to promote.
  • Choose a market segment who could benefit from that project most.
  • Identify their problem or opportunity (what benefit will they get out of your project?).
  • Convince the reader that project type is the solution to their problem.
  • End with a call-to-action (CTA) that basically says "Oh, you like that idea? Well, it just so happens I can help with that when you're ready. Let's talk."

Simple, right? You're selling the type of writing you do -- not selling yourself. So if you're the type of writer who's uncomfortable with pushy direct sales, this might be the perfect kind of soft sell promotion for you.

These kinds of blog posts don't have to follow the exact structure I mentioned. They just need to convince prospects they need a certain type of writing you happen to specialize in.

Want to see an example? 

Here's a post from Alex Sayers that explains the promotional benefits of guides and e-books specifically to IT suppliers.

3 Reasons Freelance Writers Should Have a Blog

Look. I'm not going to say every freelance writer should have a professional blog. You do you.

But I will say the vast majority of freelancers would likely benefit from a professional blog if they put some serious thought into content strategy, quality posts, and getting the right eyes on that content.

Let me try to make the case with some of the biggest benefits of having your own freelance writer blog that focuses on prospects.

1. A blog can make it easier to attract prospects via SEO.

A decade or two ago, you could probably get away without having a blog on your professional website. It wouldn't have affected your search engine rankings as much as now as long as the rest of your professional site featured high quality, well-targeted copy (and you built plenty of backlinks).

That isn't enough anymore.

Google factors in "freshness" these days. I'm not going to pretend to understand every little element of every ranking factor Google uses. They change all the time. But what I've seen from my own professional blog as well as those I manage for clients is that sites that are kept fresh (with more frequent updates) tend to rank better than static sites (with no, or rare, new content).

Blogs are an easy way to add fresh content to an otherwise-static business website. 

In particular, I've seen my homepage perform much better for my main target keyword phrases when I include a dynamic (changing) list of the most recent blog posts right on the homepage (rather than only having them available on a separate "Blog" page). I've mentioned this here before, but with my own site I've noticed every time I stop updating the blog for a while, I drop in the rankings. And if I start posting again, my site ranks better again within a couple of weeks. It really does matter.

This is a good time for a reminder: most of the high-paying freelance writing jobs out there aren't publicly advertised. Those prospects often find their writers through referrals, through pitches they receive, and by searching for writers who would be a good fit.

When prospects search for a writer like you, are you showing up in results? 

If not, you need to work on your search engine optimization. And featuring fresh content not only helps you do that for your main page, but every blog post is an opportunity to target another longtail keyword phrase (longer search queries than just a few words).

2. A blog helps you demonstrate authority in your specialty area.

Blogs aren't just about traffic. They also offer you a great deal of freedom in what you write. That means you can write about any industry issue that might affect clients, share opinions, interview industry insiders, educate your client base about something they care about -- all things that can turn you and your blog into a go-to source for authoritative information.

Why does that matter?

Authority (or expertise) matters for a few reasons:

  • When you're considered an authority in your specialty area, you can command higher rates.
  • When your blog shows readers that you know what you're talking about, you have a better chance of getting them to click on the sales-centric links on your site, giving you a much warmer lead.
  • When you're seen as an authority in your specialty area, it opens doors to additional revenue streams such as e-courses, e-books, books, coaching, and consulting services. These can be nice add-ons to your writing services and can help tide you over if you ever have a slow period.

To be clear, yapping about a niche or industry on a blog won't make you an expert or authority. You need to build experience and expertise first. Then you blog about it because you'll have something of value to say -- something not every Joe Schmo can weigh in on in the same way.

Can you demonstrate authority in other ways?

Absolutely. But it all comes down to control and analytics (just like with your professional website).

You want to retain control over how your content promotes your business, and you need to be able to track data that can tell you what works and what needs to improve.

By all means, publish elsewhere if it will help you reach your target market. Just don't do that in lieu of having your own blog.

Own your content first. And let everything else be a supplement. You'll find you can get a lot of mileage out of your blog content (through social media posts, combining them into longer guides, or creating related multimedia content for example).

3. Blogging helps you build your professional network.

No, I'm not talking about networking with other writers. That's not what your business blog is for. Your blog tied to your professional website will instead help you build a network of prospects, clients, sources, and other industry insiders.

Why?

Blogging helps you build a community.

Your blog posts will invite discussion, and even debate. You'll meet people you otherwise might never have come across. And those connections matter.

You never know when one of your regular blog readers will need a writer like you in their corner.

It's also possible your readers will hear from someone else who needs a referral. Guess who they're going to think of -- the freelance writers in their own network who they've come to trust and respect. You want to be one of those writers.

That's not to say blogging should be your only networking tool. But it can be a valuable one.

Other Reasons Freelancers Should Consider Blogging

Freelance writer blogs can be incredible promotional tools if you let them.

There are precious few things that will give you as much bang for your buck, and over time your blog can bring in a steady stream of client offers when you make it a part of your writer platform.

The thing is, blogs aren't only about the networking and marketing benefits mentioned above. There are other reasons you should consider adding a blog to your professional site. (Whether or not these apply to you might depend on where you currently are in your career.)

  • Blog posts act like extra portfolio pieces, whether you include them in your portfolio or not -- especially helpful to newer freelancers and freelance bloggers.
  • If you write for the web, your blog will teach you a lot about what your clients do (and what they expect of you). For example, you'll learn about search engine optimization, content strategy, social media marketing, and content management systems (like WordPress) -- all things you might be expected to know on your next gig.
  • Fresh blog posts give you something to promote via social media to keep your network interested in your site. You can't keep tweeting about your writing services. You won't land many clients that way. But link to helpful content on your blog instead, and you might have an easier time building your readership -- which is full of prospects.
  • Blogs offer a great amount of freedom, which makes them ideal tools in personal branding which is important if you as an individual are the name and face of your business.
  • Blogging keeps you writing. If you're new or going through a slow time, it's easy to get discouraged. Managing your own blog gives you something to always push forward on.
  • Blogging can force you to stay on top of news and issues that are important in your industry or specialty area, so you're never out of touch with what's important to your clients.
  • Your blog serves as your social hub of sorts -- it's what all of your other social media profiles link back to, giving you consistency in audience and branding.
  • Blogs can help you land media coverage or coverage on other industry blogs -- this goes back demonstrating authority or expertise, which makes you a prime interview source.
  • Every single blog post you write gives you another opportunity to put a call to action in front of your prospects.
  • A blog helps you put feelers out and better understand how your target market feels about certain issues, events, and even working with freelancers. That's a benefit of the two-way conversations blogs encourage.
  • Blogs can help you push past writer's block by letting you explore something different for a short time, or by letting you explore things in a different way.
  • Blogs are fairly easy to manage in the grand scheme of running a business, and they don't have to take too much of your time.

That's right. Blogs don't have to take a huge amount of time. They don't have to take any time away from client work. I've heard that argument against launching a blog so many times. But it's a myth.

Yes, You Have Time to Blog

Can blogs take a lot of time to manage? They sure can.

This blog can take a lot of time to manage for example. And it took even more time when I ran it as a group blog. But this was never a client-facing blog tied to a professional website. This was a blog run as a publication combined with a broader collection of resources -- a business model in its own right. That's a completely different animal. And I think that's where the confusion comes in -- false assumptions about business blogging because we're so used to seeing blogs run as independent publications these days.

When it comes to a professional blog, you only have to sink in as much time as you're able to. That might mean a few posts per week. It might mean just one or two posts per month. Either is okay. And you don't have to force yourself to follow any other blogger's schedule. You just need to find one that suits you.

Blogging: Putting Time in up Front

Most of that time will be put in up front to set up your blog. If you already have a website, that can be a pretty fast process (especially if you built your site on an easily adaptable content management system with a built-in blogging feature -- I always recommend self-hosted WordPress for this).

Even if you're starting a new professional site and blog from scratch, installation is a breeze. Many hosting companies have one-click installations for WordPress. It doesn't get any easier than that. Even if you install the platform manually, WordPress offers instructions for a 5-minute install. If you're already familiar with WordPress, it probably won't even take you that long.

After that, you'll get your basic settings in order (like choosing your permalink settings or setting a static page as your homepage so your blog looks like an internal feature of your professional site). I covered some of these basic settings in the first post in my WordPress for Writers series.

Choose a theme (your design template) from the WordPress repository or a premium theme provider...

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In my review of David Rodeck's professional website, one of the things I suggested was to publish his freelance writing rates (or, at the very least, remove the Rates page that really only had payment terms).

I've long advocated making your rates public. I've never had a newer writer I worked with tell me they regret adding rates to their site after I've prompted them to do so (quite the opposite). And I've never heard a good reason not to that doesn't have a simple solution.

Yet this is a perennial issue and question in the freelance writing community. So I want to go into more detail about why I think it's important for most freelance writers to make their rates public in some form.

This is a topic I covered here back in 2010. So rather than tackle it yet again in a separate post, I'm drastically updating and expanding upon my original arguments below (why you'll see some old feedback in the comments). While I'll touch on the points made in the original post, what you'll find below is mostly new.

The Client Perspective

A while back I asked another freelance writer who designed her logo because every time I saw it, it stood out. I loved it. Every now and then I need new logo work done, so I figured I'd take a look at the designer's site to see if they'd be a good match. One problem though -- they didn't list their rates.

As a buyer, I hate that. And I've been a frequent buyer of freelance services.

  • I've hired freelance designers.
  • I've hired freelance developers.
  • I've hired freelance sub-contractors.
  • I've hired freelance consultants.
  • I've hired at least a couple dozen freelance writers for my own sites over the years.
  • I've hired even more writers on behalf of clients who ran large sites when I worked in an editorial capacity.

And what I can tell you as someone who's hired quite a few freelance professionals is this: If you don't have some kind of rate information on your website, you aren't getting hired.

Why? Well, simply:

  • No, I don't want to take time out of my day to request a custom quote with absolutely no expectations going in.
  • No, I don't want you emailing me to pitch your services later just because you've heard from me once to ask for said quote.
  • And no, I definitely do not want to give you my phone number so you can call me to do the same thing.

And when I would contact people who didn't go out of their way to make my life easier as a buyer, these things are exactly what happened.

My time was wasted (and not only because rates were sometimes out of my, or a client's, budget -- you're just as unlikely to get hired if I'm looking for a pro and your rates scream "amateur"). I'd turn someone down only to get repeated emails from them later, pitching me on services or offering to renegotiate because it turns out they really needed a gig after all. And I'd get phone calls (less often, but enough to be obnoxious) wanting to reconnect and talk about other projects (when I'd never hired them in the first place).

I'm sorry, but I don't have patience for that crap when you don't respect my time enough to give me the info I need up front or when your aim is to prompt me to contact you so you can add me to your marketing list when the reality is you aren't a good fit.

When I visit a freelancer's site because I'm interested in hiring them, I expect to find some very specific things:

  • A list of the services they provide
  • At least a general range of what they charge
  • Some examples of past work in a portfolio

I prefer a well-thought-out About page giving me some background that helps me trust you and see if you're a good match for the project. But I'll settle for those three things when necessary.

If you don't give me those things as a prospect, I generally won't waste my time. I'll leave your site. And I won't be left hurting for it.

Know why?

Whatever information you're not giving me to make my life easier as a buyer... you can be damn sure plenty of your competitors are. And unless you are the only person in your specialty area, or unless you are so good that your reputation precedes you (hint: for the vast majority of freelancers, it doesn't -- even if you're known among colleagues), you're not the only potential good fit for that (or any) gig.

Does that mean no clients will hire you if your site stays rate-less? Of course not. But think about purchases you make yourself. How many things would you walk away from if faced with the hassle of having no price information? Don't include it, and you miss out on opportunities you otherwise might jump at. If you need gigs right now, you can't afford to do that. And even if you don't... why not maximize prospects coming to you so you have even more choice in the projects you take on?

The Freelance Perspective

Obviously I've also worked as a freelancer -- both in freelance writing and consulting (mostly PR). And the benefits of publishing my freelance rates publicly have far outweighed keeping them off my site from this perspective as well.

Earlier in my career, I was pretty much the only PR professional offering certain writing services to a specific client base. There were some generic writers trying to compete, but there's a huge difference between working with a pro when you need help with media relations as opposed to hiring a writer with no experience or credentials in that area. So convincing clients I was their best option was easy. But those prospects were also seeing absurdly low rates from unskilled folks. So I'd get quite a lot of inquiries from prospects who were shocked to find out I could easily charge 10 times more than what they were seeing elsewhere.

Hearing from those prospects quickly became a pain in the ass. I was having the same conversations over and over again. Sometimes they'd hire me anyway. But I had a simple policy -- if they were vocally put off by my rates, I'd tell them to hire one of those ridiculously low-priced writers, good luck with it, and if they needed someone to clean up the mess they received, they were welcome to come back later. More did come back than you'd probably think (and a few of my longest client relationships started that way).

I got tired of having these similar conversations. So I put my rates up on my site. 

Know what happened?

The tire-kickers who couldn't afford me quit wasting my time.

Know what else happened?

I saw an increase in total inquiries.

I learned from some of those clients that my higher rates were specifically why they chose me. If someone's advertising rates that amount to $10 per hour, that says something very different to buyers than seeing someone who charges $100+ per hour for the same services. And if you aren't publishing your rate information, prospects have no idea which of those camps you're in.

As a buyer, I wanted someone bright enough to know their own value. If you don't understand the actual value of the work you do (in terms of realistic ROI), how can you be expected to provide it? And what I learned from my own clients is I was far from the only buyer to feel that way.

So putting my rates on my website did nothing but improve my situation. 

  • I wasted less time with people who were never going to hire me.
  • I saw more inquiries from clients who could afford me.
  • It had a positive impact on my overall professional reputation.

Publishing my rates was one of the better decisions I made early in my career. But even that isn't the main reason I feel so strongly about the benefits of this decision.

I also work with newer writers. Sometimes they come to me for one-off advice. Sometimes I help them out here on the site. And while I don't do it often anymore, I used to spend a lot of time working one-on-one with newer writers, helping them either launch or improve their writing careers.

One of the first things I encourage them to do is get public rates on their site. And as I mentioned earlier in this post, I've not once had one of those writers tell me they regretted that choice after trying it.

Instead they saw similar benefits to what I did -- fewer lousy inquiries, suddenly getting better conversions from prospects visiting their site, and in a couple of cases that I'm aware of they were also outright told their rates were what made them stand out among the amateurs advertising to those similar markets (giving themselves away by undercharging).

Freelance writers aren't the only people I suggest this to.

Remember, my own specialty is working with independent and creative professionals. I've worked with a wide variety of small business owners and solopreneurs as a result. And clearly promoting fees has never led people I've helped, coached, or worked for to see less, or less relevant, work in a way that convinced them to remove those rates again later. I've not seen that happen even once.

So this isn't something that comes just from one person's experience. It comes from seeing this simple change pay off over, and over, and over again.

That doesn't mean I haven't heard every argument under the sun though...

Arguments Against Publishing Freelance Writing Rates

I mentioned earlier that I've never heard a good reason for hiding freelance writing fees because there's always a workaround to address concerns. So let's look at a few of the most common arguments I've heard (some of which were shared in the comments of the original version of this post, so you can see some direct back-and-forth there below).

Argument: If I make my rates public, not enough prospects will contact me.

This is one of the sillier arguments.

First, it's not necessarily true. As I mentioned, I'm not the only writer I know who's seen an increase in inquiries after publishing rates.

More important though, what's "enough?" 

A great thing about freelancing is that we don't need a heck of a lot of clients to fill our billable hours each week. You don't need some massive number of prospects contacting you to land the gigs you need in order to reach your income targets.

The number of prospects contacting you to discuss their projects isn't what's important. What's important is reaching the right prospects -- not the time-wasters and tire-kickers who take your time away from the work you really want to be doing without any benefit.

Does that mean it's impossible to take an occasional low-budget prospect and convince them to hire you even after they find your rates shocking? No. Of course this is possible. But why spend time doing this if you can attract better-qualified leads up front, save time on having to sell yourself, and get busy booking those billable hours with less hassle?

Argument: Every project is a special little snowflake that's totally unique, so there's no way I can publish standard rates without getting project specs first.

Bullshit.

If you have even a moderate amount of experience, you have some sense of how long different project types take you. You also have some idea about what clients most often ask you for.

Take a press release for example.

The vast majority of them are a single page. They involve asking the clients a similar set of questions for background regardless of what their unique news angle is. If I need to conduct interviews for quotes, I know how much info I need, and I'm skilled enough to know how to pull the kinds of quotes I want quickly. I know how long that will typically take. I know how long the entire project will typically take. So I have a standard rate for that.

Here's the thing though. A standard, or advertised, rate can have parameters. For example, my base rate for press releases covers up to 400 words. If a client wants a longer release (which might include an extra interview to pull a second quote, which might include helping with addenda, etc.), it's understood up front that they'll pay more.

Publicly sharing your rates on your website does not stop you from customizing quotes based on exact project specs later.

Let's say that again...

Publishing. Your. Rates. Does. Not. Stop. You. From. Negotiating.

It's not just press releases either.

If you're a freelance blogger, yes, blog posts can vary a lot. But you should have an idea of how long it takes you to write a 500 word post versus a 2000 word post. You have some idea of how long it takes you to source images, handle social media promotion, or take on any related tasks a client might request. You also know what your particular clients tend to ask for most often.

There's no good reason you can't publish a base rate, lay out the parameters of what that covers, and note that longer content or add-on services will cost extra. You can list a "starting at" rate for example for lower word count posts. Or you can offer a rate chart covering posts at different lengths (that's what I personally opt to do).

This applies to any freelance writing project you can think of. You know how long an 8-10 page white paper takes you to write on average. You know the extent of interviews you do before writing a case study. At the very least you have some idea of how long it typically takes you to write X words, or Y pages.

That's the kind of information that gives you a base rate. It's kind of like hourly rates and how I have a "get out of bed rate" -- the bare minimum a project has to pay for me to drag my ass out of bed and work on a client's project rather than my own. That's $150 per hour. If a client project won't pay that much, then I have better things to do with my time.

That doesn't, however, mean all of my projects pay $150 per hour. A regular client of mine has projects that pay $200+ per hour routinely. I've done blogging at my "get out of bed rate." But I've also taken on blogging gigs paying $400 per hour.

Publishing a rate, or building policies on a base rate, in no way limits you to it. 

And that's where the unique aspect of every project comes in. Why would one of my blogging gigs pay $150 per hour and another pay $400 per hour?

  • I was more of a subject matter expert in the higher-paying gig's area.
  • I was literally being paid to offer my opinions because of that industry expertise, based on my own experience (as opposed to requiring much third party research).
  • In the higher-paid gig, I'd been working with the client for years, knew them and their audience inside-out, and had been a major part of creating the editorial strategy from the start. (In other words, I was a decision-maker; I had immense freedom to choose what to write about and how to handle any given post or project.)

That's one of the perks of having base rates.

Sure, you might screw up and underestimate the time required for a project once in a while (though you'll learn from those mistakes). But it also means as you get more familiar with a client and their readers' expectations, and that work comes much faster, you aren't penalized for that because your time estimates become lower than they might be for a similar project elsewhere.

The work is faster. But you deserve to be paid more in an hourly sense because that relationship and personalized experience adds to your value.

So yes, projects might all be different. But that doesn't mean they're so different that you can't give prospects an idea of what to expect before making them contact you. Just make sure advertised rates are clearly starting rates, or lay out details of what those rates cover and what will trigger additional fees.

At a bare minimum, you can give a specific example or two. That might mean including rate info alongside a case study for something you did for a client. Or use a hypothetical example where you map out a project's specs and note how much it would cost. You're not over-committing in any way. But you are giving prospects some idea of where their budget needs to be in order to work with someone like you.

Public freelance writing rates are only as restrictive as you choose to make them.

Argument: If I publish my low(ish) rates, it might keep better clients from hiring me.

Yeah. It might.

But the solution isn't hiding your rates in this case. It's raising them.

Look. If you're essentially embarrassed by how low your freelance fees are, there's a reason for that. You know you should be charging more. So why aren't you?

If you're anything like writers I've worked with in the past, I can probably tell you why...

Fear.

It's impostor syndrome rearing its ugly head.

"I'm not worth that much."

"I'm not good enough to be charging as much as so-and-so."

"Clients will feel like I screwed them over with my rates once they see my work."

So you stick with low rates for far too long because you'd rather condemn yourself to a life of playing the quantity game with cheap clients than have a little faith in yourself and see if better clients see more value in you than you currently see in yourself.

You figure if you keep your rates quiet publicly, you can just quote higher if a better client with a potentially-bigger budget comes along. They'll never know what you charged those cheaper clients, right?

That depends. I fell into an accidental niche of writing for directory owners early on. They just happened to be a group of solopreneurs that found me at the time, and they were often adding blogs to those sites then. I could have quietly charged any rate I wanted. They had bigger budgets than you might expect.

One problem though...

These clients tended to run in a fairly small circle. It's how my name got spread around. They hung out in the same communities. They didn't hesitate to ask each other about contractors when they saw us working for a similar site. And it wasn't uncommon for these owners to buy each other out. (One of my oldest clients ended up owning directories from two of my past clients at one point, and for one of those sites I'd been there longer than any of its three owners I'd worked for.)

The point is that you have no idea if your prospects know each other and might talk. And if they go to others in their industry for referrals, they very well might discuss rates.

Obviously this depends on the size of your specialized niche or industry, where and how you're marketing your services, and what kind of price variation we're talking about. But there's no guarantee word won't get around and you won't cause bitterness when someone finds out you're charging their colleague or competitor much less than you quoted them.

Why even risk that when you can always increase your public rates for new prospects and just tell existing clients you're keeping them at their old rate for X months?

Will you get fewer lower-paying prospects contacting you? 

Probably. But if you already know you should be charging more, that isn't a bad thing. You have to weed out the low-payers to make room for better clients.

Will all of your existing clients agree to pay more after their rate grace period expires?

No. But in some cases you'll get a raise you might never have otherwise asked for. As for the rest, see my response to the previous question.

Look. Raising rates isn't a passive thing.

If you're raising those rates significantly, that can involve actively targeting an entirely different market. And you can get there faster by hanging out your shingle and being up front about the kinds of clients you're looking to work with (including in a budgetary sense).

If nothing else, publicly advertising your freelance rates can be a great way to test markets. See what kind of response you get, or if it even makes a difference in the industry or niche you focus on. But don't let the fear or losing lousy pay hold you back from more actively pursuing better markets. Say what you're worth. Ask for it. And don't be afraid or embarrassed to do that.

And as for the inevitable "but what if some low-paying client would be a super-cool project I'd love to take on, and they don't reach out because they can't afford me, and they don't know I'd have worked for them for less..." (Yeah, I've heard this a few times.)

Give me a break.

  • If you have available billable hours to work for less than usual just for some vanity gig or hobby project, you have bigger marketing problems than whether or not you should list your rates on your website.
  • How much benefit are you really getting out of some big name client or some fun little gig that it's worth them devaluing you and what you bring to the table?
  • If you really want to work with a specific client just to slap their name in your portfolio or because you think they'd be a hoot to work with, pitch them directly. There is absolutely nothing to stop you from doing this. (Or better yet, find an equally prestigious or interesting client actually willing and able to pay your rates.)

This idea that you shouldn't do everything you can to attract and appeal to your ideal clients because it might turn off some under-paying folks who you might enjoy playing with on some project is absurd. In business, you need to get your priorities straight. And your priority should be those ideal clients -- not the flukes you'd find so fun you're willing to slash your rates for them.

My [insert profession] doesn't post rates, so I shouldn't either.

This is one of those arguments I addressed in the comments on the original version of this post, so you can see that below.

Normally I hear the mechanic comparison. But a previous reader brought up doctors too. Let me address both.

First, we're talking apples and oranges here.

Industry norms are very different. And you can't compare freelance writing to something like an auto mechanic.

You aren't competing with a doctor or a mechanic who might not have rates listed publicly. You are competing with other freelance writers. And many of them will make this information available to prospects up front.

That's why hiding this information can do you a disservice. I already addressed why that is earlier in this post, so I'll spare you any further on that. But I do want to knock down these two particular examples.

Let's start with doctors. 

Here's the thing. If you (in the U.S.) walk into a doctor's office expecting to pay in-full in-cash for services, you're an exception, not the rule. Typically when it comes to medical services here, we have the insurance company operating as middleman.

Those insurance companies have indeed negotiated rates for specific services up front with medical providers. These rates aren't some big mystery.

Even when it comes to the patient's side of things, a typical patient doesn't need a price list from their doctor. They work through that insurance company. And they do know up front what they should be paying, because their deductibles and co-pays are laid out for them before they ever need to see a doctor.

For example, I had minor surgery several years ago. The total cost? $14k. I had exceptional insurance at that time, so I paid nothing. Not a dime. While I had small co-pays for normal doctor visits, I had none on surgeries. No deductibles. I knew exactly what I'd be responsible for (or not) going..

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