Tag Archives: freelancer

It Might Be a Cliche…


but as a freelancer, you should always have more than one egg in your basket.

You should have more than one basket.

Hell, if you can swing it, you should have more than one chicken farm. Or duck farm, or ostrich…

Whichever egg you prefer, have more than one farm. And more than one bird.

This makes sense to some of you, while others are thinking, “What is she talking about? Why is she going on about chicken, ducks and eggs?”

Remember in yesterday’s post I linked to a post I wrote a while back? Well the subject of that post has done a disservice to its writers yet again, and as bad as the situation already was, it just got worse.There are a lot of scared writers over there right now.

I vacillate between wanting to scream “I told you so!” and feeling sorry for them. Even when you’ve warned people repeatedly that they are on a road with nothing but a big brick wall at the end of it, you still can’t help but feel your heart sink to your stomach when they smack into it head-on. That’s how I feel tonight.

But what gets me — there are still people over there that are adamant that this too, shall pass. They aren’t looking for other work because they like working there too much.

Uh huh.

And you have the ones who insist on being optimistic. This is just a period of adjustment. All companies have to change their models from time to time. It can’t stay this bad forever.

And they’re right. It can still get worse.

Now, admittedly, I didn’t burn that bridge completely, because I want to see the famous final scene. Meaning, I want to know what kind of company they eventually evolve (or devolve) into. But I’ve long ago given up any hope (hope?) that they would be part of my income. But judging from what I read earlier, for some that place is their only income.

Still.

C’mon peeps — it’s time to get real. If you’re gonna make it as a freelancer, you can’t depend on just one client. You need many (MANY) different clients to freelance well. That is the first rule you should learn when you decide to freelance, because if you break it, it will end your freelancing career. And many people are realizing that tonight, as they start to look for B & M jobs.

So, to those who were caught off guard by the happenings of today, I’m truly sorry, and I hope this served as a wake up call for you. Get some chicken, ducks and other birds who lay eggs and cultivate as many as you can. Gets lots of pretty baskets. For now, sadly, it seems like you have all the time in the world to do it.

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Freelancing — a Primer


It was brought to my attention yesterday that not everyone knows what a Content Site (or Content Mill) is, so I’m going to take the time to explain what a content site is, and the general process of working with one.

A content site is a company that hires freelance writers to write content for them. The content might be used on their personal site(s), or sold to another site or private customer. For example, Demand Media hires freelance writers to write content for sites they own (eHow, Cracked.com, etc.) and for partner sites such as Local.com.

Content site pay varies, but most sites pay between $8 and $20 for an article. Most articles are in the 400-500 word range. You can find a variety of things to write about, from medical conditions to legal articles. Some sites also pay on a revenue sharing platform — for every visit to the website your article generates, you get a share of the profits.

Now, for why some in the writing community refer to these sites as “content mills”. There are two reasons: first the pay is lower for a content mill than it would be if you sold articles in the traditional manner (something I’ll go into in another post). Second, the quality of the articles are not always as high as they could be. Part of this is because of the ease of being accepted to write for the site.

Which leads to my next point — to write for a content site, you apply directly to the site. Each site has a different method they use to approve writers, but most require a potential writer to fill out an application and submit a writing sample. There may be a grammar test involved as well. If your writing sample is acceptable, you’re approved to write for the site, and can select articles that interest you. Once you’ve written the article, you submit it to the site for approval. Some sites use editors who review your work, other sites send work directly to the client and they either approve the article, send the article back for revisions, or reject it. This is another area I will go into in a later post.

If your article is accepted, you get paid. Most sites pay via Paypal, though there are a few who direct deposit pay into your bank account.

And there you have it — a brief explanation into content sites. In my next post, I’ll examine the pros and cons of working for content sites. As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email.

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An Open Letter To Freelancers


To My Fellow Freelancers,

I know it’s tough out there. We’re all out there, competing for the same clients, trying to make a decent wage. We all want people to appreciate our craft and it is only fair that we are paid a decent wage for our talent.

So why, praytell, do some of you choose to, for the lack of a better phrase, screw us over?

Now, some of you know exactly what I am talking about, while others are probably clueless. So for you poor, clueless wonders out there (Bless your hearts!), here is some advice from someone who’s been fighting the good fight as a freelancer for many many years.

Piece of Advice #1: $1 for 500 words is not good money. It’s not even money. When you see a proposal or ad for a writer with this kind of rate, you should ignore it and move on. You don’t apply for it, and you DEFINITELY don’t compete with others for the “privilege”. There are better gigs out there.

Piece of Advice #2: Get a portion up front. Yes, I know many potential “clients” don’t like to pay deposits, but I bet they don’t work for free, so why should you? Taking on a project without an upfront payment is, like it or not, WORKING FOR FREE and you need to stop doing it. Now.

Piece of Advice #3: If a client places a bid and the pay range is $20 – $30 per hour, do not, I repeat, DO NOT place a bid for $16, $17, $18, $19 or even $19.99. If they are willing to pay a minimum of $20, LET THEM. They’re supposed to. Our work has value — stop diminishing it.

Piece of Advice #3.5 Did I mention that $1 for 500 words is NOT good money? I did? Well, it deserves to be repeated. Matter of fact, one more time: $1 FOR 500 WORDS IS NOT GOOD MONEY.

Piece of Advice #4: Writing for content mills and just content mills does not make you a freelance writer. Freelancers don’t just write for one place — they write for many places, and many freelancers write in several genres. Saying you’re a freelancer because you write for DMS is like claiming to be a seamstress because you hemmed a pair of pants. The seasoned people are going to ask the same thing, “Okay, so you did that. What else ya got? What else have you done?”

[Note — the above is not meant to sound harsh, but seriously, if you really REALLY want to be taken seriously as a freelance writer, you need to pursue other avenues. Otherwise, you do look like a one-trick pony.]

See, here’s the thing that many of you in the freelancing world do not seem to understand: We will be paid what WE determine is fair. The reason our pay is less than a fry cook at McDonalds is because we have ALLOWED our craft to be devalued. Yeah, we can blame global competition, and it is true it is hard to compete with someone for whom $50 is a week’s wages — but that cannot prevent us from demanding that we be paid what we are worth. And to best way to make our demand is by refusing to work for the pennies clients are offering.

So, please, the next time you’re applying for gigs and you are tempted to agree to create blog posts for $0.005 a post, stop and think: does this seem fair? Is it really worth it? Then walk away.

Or could do like I do: shoot the poster a message such as this:

Hello~

I recently came across your ad on __________. I have to say, I found your payment terms insulting to both me and my craft. Writing is not an easy profession — to become merely proficient takes time and practice, and for you to want to pay me less than a truck stop busboy in return for my experience is laughable. Please reconsider your payment arrangement, or consider going to said truck stop and hiring the bus boy to do your writing for you. Any writer with an ounce of pride in his craft is not going to consider your offer. 

Regards,

A Talented Writer Looking Elsewhere.

I hope you will consider my humble and sincere request.

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