People everywhere are wanting to find ways to work at home, and writing has become an attractive option— and for good reason! Along with freelance writing for blogs and websites, there is also writing for magazines, newspapers (yes, we still have those!), and a huge array of writing services for businesses both large and small. You can even start a blog and write for yourself!
But just how do you decide what to charge? Unless you write purely for the love of it (which some people totally do, but while most writers do love it, they also want to get paid), you'll have to decide at some point what you're worth so you can be sure you're getting what's coming to you.
Here are some tips to help you decide what to charge so you can earn what you're worth.
1. Know Your Value
Know that you deserve honest pay for honest work. You wouldn't expect anyone to mow your lawn, clean your house, or do your taxes for free, right? As a writer, you're providing a service to blog owners, small businesses, and clients, and you should be respected enough to be paid for that service.
Beginning writers tend to undervalue themselves. Even without years of experience, education, clips, and testimonials, if you're good at what you do and can do the job required, you should be paid accordingly.
Just because someone's been writing longer than you doesn't necessarily mean they're a better writer than you. If you need some tips for charging what you're worth – this article has some great strategies.
2. Value Your Time
As business owners, our time is valuable. Working for free means that you're using up time that you could spend seeking or writing for paying clients or working on your own blog or business. Even if you're blog isn't making much of income right now, it won't ever get to that point unless you put work into it. If you're going to work for free, it might as well be for yourself; there's a lot more possible return on investment.
3. Know How Much You Need to Earn
Knowing your numbers will help you balance the offers coming in and decide if the gig is worth your time. Again, time is a huge factor for a writer. There's only so much of it, and if you fill it up with no or low paying jobs, it will be harder for you to make a reasonable income.
Many people just starting out tend to grab the low-hanging fruit and figure that going for those $10- $20 posts are better than nothing, especially when you need to get money coming in. I have seen people who do okay with this model and build themselves up to a halfway decent income.
However, there are a couple of problems with this method. First, you have to put in a ton of hours and do an extreme amount of work to make a respectable income. Second, you spend absolutely all your time writing for these low paying gigs, thus leaving you no time at all to pitch the well-paying writing jobs.
4. Only Seek Out and Respond to Paying Clients
Yes, it might look good for you to write for popular blogs and websites, but is it going to benefit you in the long run? Will it bring more than just a trickle of traffic to your blog or possibly result in other writing jobs?
It's somewhat of a status symbol to be featured on sites that might look good on your portfolio, such as the Huffington Post, but they do nothing for your bank account.
And like I always say, “Exposure won't feed my children!”
I see nothing wrong with guest posting on occasion for free if you so choose. Many writers do this (heck, I've done it myself) again, for the ‘popularity effect' and to say they were featured on such and such website. You may get a few clips to big blogs, hopefully, get in front of a new audience that might follow the one or two links you're allowed in your bio, and actually, make it to your website.
But to regularly write for any business, website, or blog, without pay—although it's a matter of personal choice—isn't going to get you taken seriously as a writer and earning a nice living any time soon, no matter how ‘big' the blogger is. (Newsflash: Bigger bloggers CAN AFFORD to pay you!)
Look at the big picture; if you feel like it would help you even without pay, then go for it, but if you know from the get-go that the gig isn't going to provide enough value to you, you might want to pass.
Earn What You're Worth
Being able to earn what you're worth as a writer means that you have to take an honest, personal assessment of yourself and your skills. You might even have to do some soul searching to figure out, not only where you need to be, but how to value yourself and all that you bring to the table. Even though gigs can seem hard to come by, there really are a tremendous amount of possibilities.
And guess what? There's enough room at the top for all of us.