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Archive for the ‘Money Matters’ Category

Whether you’re already a freelance writer or are interested in becoming one, you likely already know 319196_the_future_2about the feast or famine aspect of this career. Rarely does work come in at a steady pace. Instead, you might be writing for ten hours per day and still barely meeting deadlines for several weeks, followed by a month of listening to crickets chirping away in your home office. Though this disappointing economy certainly doesn’t mean less writing is needed, it does often seem like employers are beginning to spend less on writing than before. This often means you have to search for more work just to pay the bills.

If you have some downtime lately, don’t spend your days freaking out and feverishly calculating your bill to income ratio. Instead, spend your time doing something about your situation. Even if you don’t see results right away, you might find you’ll stress less and feel more productive when you take the fate of your writing business into your own hands.

The first step toward giving your career some new life is updating your resume. Most people don’t tend to do this every month, yet they might lose and gain clients that often. If you have a few older, less impressive, or short-lived gigs, eliminate them from your resume. You should only do this if you can replace them with jobs that are sure to catch the eye of your potential clients. You will need to have at least a few jobs on there to show that you have experience, yet your resume should not be more than a page or two long unless your career has lasted decades.

The next step is sending this resume to as many companies as possible. Check out online job lists everyday, or at least a few predetermined days per week. It is not unheard of for freelancers to spend an hour or more per day scoping out possible jobs. You may choose to spend your first waking hours doing so, as long as you have had enough caffeine to address the right employers in each job you apply for.

Though sticking to a few tried-and-true job lists is great, you might need to step it up. You probably read several websites everyday, whether through your research for articles or your search for the latest celebrity gossip. If you’re like me, it might take you a while to realize that the owners of the website don’t usually write the content; they typically hire freelancers like you. There are a few sites that I used to visit often for research that I now write for, simply because one day, a light bulb went off in my slow, caffeine-deprived brain that made me realize that I was missing out on a major client. Even if you have never seen a help wanted ad for the sites you visit, it doesn’t hurt to contact them with your resume.

346146_web_browserAlong similar lines, you can always post ads advertising your services rather than waiting to apply to jobs to which thousands of other writers have also applied. In fact, I’ve received some of my highest-paying, most loyal clients through ads I randomly placed throughout the Internet. Whether you make a website, post your resume on a job board, or simply place links to your work in your email or forum screen name signature line, you never know who will read your writing. The point is to get out there and market yourself in creative ways if you want your business to stay alive and well.

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Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs , which recently discussed a few money issues when it comes to freelance writing. In this and other blogs, some people have mentioned that it is difficult to pay the bills on small SEO articles that only pay a few bucks each. 296-1226867106mpr81

I see their point, as obviously it is easier to pay the mortgage with higher writing jobs. However, to say it cannot be done is incorrect.

What many people fail to see is that, no matter what your freelance job might be, you have the power to make your dream hourly wage. Whether you are a handyman striking out on your own for the first time, a web designer, a freelance medical transcriptionist, a writer, or anyone who gets paid by the project, you are in control.

In the Beginning…


Last year, when attempting to make the majority of my money from home providing content writing services, I did accept some low-paying jobs. I wrote 500-word SEO articles for $5 each. Obviously, being a college graduate, I couldn’t be satisfied with making $5 per hour. I made more than that at my thankless job as a server at a pizza place, though I wasn’t doing what I wanted at all. After a week of writing about 15 of these per week, I realized I could write two per hour. 5-dollar-bill3So I made $10 per hour, which was not bad when you consider I doubled my previous wage in a week. Additionally, gas prices had gone way up, I had moved a half hour away from my serving job, and the new management at the restaurant bumbled around, firing many of my coworkers/friends there willy-nilly. I had to get out of there, and this was the first step.

A few weeks after I had accepted this new writing job, I noticed my writing skills with these articles had improved, yet again. One day, after waking up a bit later than I had wanted to, I began to write at my 2-article per hour pace (which was beginning to get quite leisurely). Suddenly I realized that the deadline of 2 p.m. was not actually my time, but Central. I got a sinking feeling as I Googled the time difference, which confirmed my suspicions: I had an hour to write five more articles.

Progress



I had never typed so fast in my life. My fingers ached when I was done, but guess what? I made the deadline. I also realized I had just made $25 in one hour. It 33-12130430812yra2sounds like a scam now (“Double your hourly wage in a week, and do it again a week later!”) but I really did go from $5 per hour to $25 per hour in a matter of three weeks. Granted, I didn’t exactly rush like that every single time I wrote, but it did make me want to experiment with my hourly wage a bit more. I found I could comfortably make about $20 per hour, writing four articles each hour in a kind of stream-of-consciousness stupor (this was after I realized they preferred quantity over quality).

Though I don’t typically deal with such jobs now, when I don’t have much work for a day, I do pick up some lower-paying jobs. It is no longer all about the project pay for me, but the hourly. Some people without experience providing content writing services would probably scoff at the chance to write two $10 blogs, but I figure it is an easy $20 in one hour. What else would I be doing in that hour on the days that I have few projects? Myspace, Twitter, the local forums, then back to Myspace again? (I really have to focus on getting more productive in my free time!)

What Are You Worth?


Anyway, the advice stays the same if you do some other job besides writing. If you are a designer and get a logo design job that only pays you $100, but you have a great idea for it that would take you two hours to complete, what’s wrong with that? I don’t think too many people should be turning down $50 per hour in this economy.

Similarly, I have seen offers of $200 for a book editing project. I hesitate before I apply for such jobs. After editing one published book so far, and countless other documents, I know exactly how many pages I can edit per hour. Sure, I could use $200 to do something I love, but if it would take me 30 hours to complete that project, I would be making $5 per hour, once again. I would rather offer my content writing services to companies that appear to pay less, but that provide me with projects I can get done quickly.

In the end, you have to figure out what you’re worth per hour. Are you okay with making $5 per hour, or would you rather just relax and enjoy life? Is the money per hour worth missing a night out with friends, or the time you’d spend reading a good book on a rainy day? You tell me: What are your thoughts on setting your desired hourly wage?

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