Not only is it hard for people to articulate what I do, but they often don’t believe it’s a worthwhile undertaking. I’m a freelance copywriter – a “real job” by most people’s standards once they know what it actually is, but it’s often referred to as “that writing thing you do.” Whatever. I can handle the confusion, but for every person who can’t seem to figure out what I actually do, they are burning up to know how much I make doing it.
Money Matters: Private or Public
I’m not the norm when it comes to money matters. I don’t really care if anyone knows what I make. I know others feel differently, of course. I think my laid-back position comes from the teaching side of my life. The whole world knows what I’m “worth” as a teacher since the rates are posted in cute little tables that have to be approved by the school board. One newspaper in my area even lets the public search an online database of teacher salaries to learn how much of their tax money is spent on administrators and teachers.
So when someone comes to me and asks me how much I make teaching, I can bust out my handy table and show that that with my Master’s degree and eight years of teaching experience I make an impressive $47,917 per year. But they don’t care about that – everyone knows teachers are generally underpaid for what they do. They want to know how much I make writing not because they are judging me, but instead are hoping that I’ll share the golden secret of HOW to make that amount working 3 hours a day. (They often forget I work 3 hours a day, six to seven days a week - without vacations.)
I’ve seen a few blogs where writers disclose how much they make to others in hopes of inspiring new writers to drop the low-paid gigs and move up. A few of us who contribute to this blog played around on a joint blog once trying to reach six figures in a year. Others share their monthly income and project load to inspire others and show their improvement. I don’t normally do that. But I might now. Why?
- I have no shame.
- I really don’t care – the IRS already knows how much I make, or will on the 15th of next month.
- Too many people think making $500 or $1,000 a month is outstanding – which it is if you’re working at less than minimum wage.
- Writers are often discounted by webmasters and other professionals who don’t realize the difference between the pros and those who…aren’t.
- If I make a big post about how much money I make writing, I can just steer people here when they work up the courage to ask me how much “something like that writing thing pays.”
- I’m a bit proud of myself, really. I work only in the evenings after a very full day of other responsibilities and have done rather well for myself.
- Hell, maybe someone out there can see how much a WAHM can actually make when she markets her skill as a real service-oriented business.
Skip the drum roll.
In 2009, I made a net profit of $55,482.33.
Not bad for a little “part-time writing thing.”