Freelance Writer Challenge – Make More Money

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on August 3, 2009 in Freelance Writing Business
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How Much Are Your Words Worth

Do you sometimes feel like your rates are too low? Are you afraid to increase them? When you earn a living as a freelance writer, you get to set your rates. You decide how much you'll earn. But sometimes writers lack confidence. They worry that clients won't think they're worth what they want to charge. Not true (unless you're insane and you think you're going to start earning a 7 figure income right off the bat).

It's time to forget about those insecurities, those cheap writing ads you see everywhere, and that crazy notion that earning more money freelance writing is just too hard. Today I challenge you to make a change and start making more money!

The Challenge

Today I want you to step outside of your element, put your foot down, and say "I'm worth more than this!" I want you to take your normal rate, and I want you to increase it. If you're charging $.10 per word or less, I want you to double it! If you're charging significantly more (let's say $.50 per word), then increase it by a smaller increment but one that's still a significant change.

I don't want you to start emailing all of your existing clients to tell them you're raising your rates. I don't want you to update your rates on your website. That's not the point of this challenge. This challenge is about getting you to take a chance.

Start by looking for a new market, job ad, or even a site or company you'd like to write for that isn't advertising. Normally I don't advocate pitching if you can avoid it, but today is special. I want you to find a new prospective client to pitch a project idea to. Pitch them with your increased rate (and obviously don't bring your older / existing rates to their attention - if this works out for you, you should continue doing it until all of your work is coming in at the higher rate).


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You might be surprised to get a "yes" for a project you otherwise may have felt unqualified for. It happened for me and several colleagues of mine. When I was ready to pitch my first independent Web writing client for a specific article, I knew what they were paying my colleagues. I raised it $.10 per word (to $.35 per word), because that's what my time was worth to me then (and it was a relatively simple piece that took little more than an hour or so). I pitched my rate. They accepted. They didn't question it. They didn't try to talk me down. They said "yes," I wrote the article, and they paid me. Now that my time is constantly in demand, I have even more flexibility in what I charge. You can get there too. But you have to take that first step in deciding what you're worth and asking for it.

So go ahead. Get out of your comfort zone for once, and you may find you quite like it there.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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5 Comments

  1. Jennifer Mattern August 4, 2009 Reply

    It’s a very common misconception that you have to charge less if you write online. Don’t let those folks fool you. You can earn just as much writing online as you can in print (if not more, since sometimes the process is much easier than that of print work).

    That misconception stems from online ads. People advertise lower paying jobs, and they don’t advertise higher pay as often. They don’t want a rush of writers applying – they don’t have the time. So they turn to referrals or they search for writers on their own. That’s why visibility online, and a network, are vital. But just like you can pitch a magazine, you can pitch businesses. I don’t even mean exclusively online businesses. Just take a look at some big corporations located in your own local area. Visit their websites. Then ask yourself “is their copy effective?” “Could I offer something better?” “Would they benefit from more consumer-oriented content on their site?” “Do they have a blog, or could they use one?” “Might they need help with editing projects?” “Could they use some new user guides or manuals?”

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a mid-sized to large company out there which couldn’t use a freelance writer’s help with SOMETHING. In many cases they don’t even know they need you until you send them a proposal. For writers who don’t have higher paying jobs coming directly to them yet, this is the perfect way to break into a new market – something that simply taking on advertised gigs probably won’t do.

    So go take a look at a few of those companies, and ask yourself those questions. See what ideas you come up with. :)

  2. Kathryn Lang August 4, 2009 Reply

    It is so important that freelance writers continually look to upgrade. The more skills that are acquired, the more experience and the more expertise then the more you should get paid.

    I have to confess that I RARELY ask for that much for online writing. I have been brave enough to pitch $.10 per word – which I thought was daring online. But I am beginning to send out one query each day to new employers or potential publications and I intend to keep that doubling idea in mind!

    Thanks for the motivation.

  3. Mitch September 6, 2009 Reply

    I actually did find something paying me more than what I was making, but it’s a different online site. Your idea is intriguing, and something I need to explore more. Actually, this Wednesday I’ll be meeting with a financial organization in person to see what I might be able to do for them. And trust me, I won’t be going cheap on it either.

    • Jennifer Mattern September 7, 2009 Reply

      Congrats on the meeting Mitch (and on sticking up for what you’re worth). Do come back to let us know how it turns out! :)

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