Secrets of Low Paying Writing Assignments


Article by Wendy McCance

After receiving an email the other day, I realized that I have a little known secret about writing assignments that I would like to share with you.

This is a portion of an email I received:

Hi Wendy,

I have a post opp that pays $30 and requires one follow link. Would you be interested in taking on this writing assignment?  It will require a post with a minimum of 300 words and your keywords would be: (explanation was provided about the company and keywords to use)

The email was straightforward and provided all of the information I needed. But, here’s the secret, the person who emailed me seriously under cut the amount they were able to pay me for the assignment.

I wrote back explaining that of course I would need to mention that the writing assignment was a sponsored post and that my fee as listed on the pricing guide on my website would be $75.00 to write a 300 word article.

This is the response I received:

No problem Wendy, we haven’t worked together before so I just need to make a note of your rates.  This client isn’t paying that much, but I will let her know in case she changes her mind.

After investigating this person’s site, I found out that they offer a Blogger for Hire page.  Basically the page states, “Get added exposure by hiring additional bloggers.  I have a blogger network composed of an elite group of family friendly bloggers.

 

Now  you might think that there is nothing wrong with being offered $30.00.  I mean, after all it is money in your pocket.  If I had accepted the offer, I would have to research the company and their product and then would write the post.  Not only would I be making a very low amount for the amount of time it would take to do the work, but the company would get valuable exposure on my blog.  Just to supply their own post and have it run on my blog costs $65.00 for a 3oo word article (and that’s when they are supplying the article themself).

 

When you begin to consider taking on writing assignments, it’s important to figure out what you feel is a reasonable amount to charge.  Then, you need to stick with that amount.  Can you imagine if word got out that you did an article for such a low fee?  People wouldn’t take you seriously when you told them how much you charge.  Bartering would begin and you would lose out on an awful lot.

 

There is nothing wrong with sticking to a price you deem as fair.  Sure you might not get the $30.00 job, but in this case for example, this person found me and was impressed enough with my site to offer me an assignment.  I had never had any contact with them.  Who’s to say they won’t offer up another assignment down the road for the price I stated.

 

I look at my pricing chart the way a store owner looks at the prices they have placed on their merchandise.  The store owner must stick with the prices they stated.  If there was any bartering, they would end up overrun with lowball offers and eventually lose their business.

 

The key is to feel confident with the price structure you have set up.  My prices, for instance are rather low compared to many writers I know.  I base my prices on my experience and what I find to be a fair hourly rate (when it is all broken down).

 

What about you?  Have you been in this type of situation?  How did you handle it?  Do you stick to the prices you have set up?  Do you even have a price structure?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

If you like this article and want to read more like them, go to: http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com

The Truth About Having a Career as a Writer


Article by Wendy McCance

Can you really make a good living as a writer?  Is it a struggle or can assignments be found easily?  Can you honestly get paid a decent wage for writing an article?  These are just a few of the questions you might be asking yourself when deciding if writing for a living is for you.

I am in several writing groups on LinkedIn and I have read about the struggles writers are facing while trying to carve out their career.  Yes, you can have a career as a writer and make a good living.  No, it’s not for the faint of heart.  Below I have tackled some of the biggest questions people have as they try their hand at writing for a living.

1.  Is it hard to find opportunities as a writer?

Yes and no.  It depends on what you are willing to do.  There are always job postings for companies looking to bring on a writer.  The companies that are most often looking to hire a writer fall under the marketing/advertising field.

If you want to work as a freelance writer, you can find several opportunities. Companies like Aquent are temp agencies for writers.  There are many companies looking for temporary writers and an abundance of temp agencies that you can work with.  Here is a terrific list of places to check out.

Another option is to write for magazines and newspapers.  Here is an enormous list of magazines taking submissions.

You can also write to individual companies to see if they are interested in using a freelance writer.  I have personally found the most work by writing daily emails to companies in my local area.  I have noticed that companies generally like to work with someone who is in the area and easily accessible.

2.  Are you stuck writing articles that don’t interest you?

No.  You can target whatever markets interest you the most.  Love food and wine?  Reach out to restaurants, wineries and magazines that are heavily based on those topics.  Think about what you would like to write about and then get creative.  There are many opportunities in every field you can think of.

3.  Will you be stuck working hard writing for pennies?

Not if you refuse to do so.  Ask for what you think you are worth.  If you are having trouble figuring out what to charge, check out my price list as a guide. You can also use the Writers Digest.  The book offers several pages of low, medium and high fees writers use when pricing out assignments.  Here is the link to the FREE pricing guide.

4.  Are online sites a good place to find writing assignments?

Personally, I don’t use them.  Never have and never will.  I won’t work for such a small amount of money.  I have also heard too many stories of getting the run around once you submit your work.  It just seems to be a huge hassle and not very profitable.  That being said, there are many people who swear by those sites and have had decent experiences with them.

5.  How long does it take before you make a decent living?

It depends on how hard you are willing to work.  I prospect for business several times a week.  I probably contact close to 100 people each week.  It might sound like an exaggeration, but trust me, I want steady work and it takes continuous discipline to keep a decent income.  As time goes by, you will get repeat business which makes life much easier.

I must mention that I got ill several months back and had to stop prospecting for a few months.  It didn’t take long for me to see my opportunities dry up. Once I stopped prospecting, the assignments slowed way down.  You can seriously tell quickly how much effort you are putting in to keep up a certain wage.  Thankfully that experience is now far behind me.

6.  Do you need a college degree to work as a writer?

Not necessarily.  A degree is preferred if you want to be hired to work within a company instead of as a freelance writer.  A degree is also needed for technical writers.  If you will be working as a freelance writer and have knowledge about what you will be writing, a degree most likely won’t be necessary.  In all the years I have been writing, I have never come across a time when a company asked if I had a degree.  The companies I have worked for could care less.  They based their decision to hire me on the clips I provided.

7.  How do you get clips of your work before you get those first few jobs?

I personally think having a blog is the most powerful tool you can have.  You can demonstrate your ability to write, show off what topics you are well versed in and a company can see how the public reacts to the articles you have posted.

Another way to gather clips is to look for opportunities to guest post on other websites.  Many times you can get paid or at least be given a byline.  Here is a list of places to guest post.  Several of these sites pay very well.  I must add, these sites are looking for a well written article about a topic they discuss on their site.  You shouldn’t need to worry about showing clips of past work.

8.  Will you feel lonely working as a freelance writer?

You might.  It truly depends on how much you need to be around other people.  If you feel like you will get depressed easily, you might want to consider a job working in an office.  Writing can be lonely work simply because it is a solitary endeavor.  Another way to avoid feelings of isolation is to get out of the house and join a networking group or writing club.

Have I answered the questions you had?  Is there still something you are wondering about?  I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.  Just write your questions in the comment section below.

Start a Writing Career With Information You Can Use


Article by Wendy McCance

I started my day by unsubscribing to a few writing advice sites.  I was getting tired of getting bombarded almost daily with what sounded like a good topic, only to read through and discover a badly hidden call to action.  It seems that some of these writer sites will email me way too many times a week and provide no information unless you sign up for a course.

Back when I began writing, these were the sites I looked up to.  I wanted to be one of the “popular writers who blogged” who seemed to know all of the other popular writers who blogged.  These were the people who I thought had figured out how to make unlimited incomes and knew all the ins and outs to becoming a freelance writer. I’m sure they are just that, but I didn’t like the idea of making most of my money by selling the information I had learned.

It took a ton of reading and picking through many sites to get at the good information that would really help me achieve a life as a writer.  It didn’t take long before I was worn out from the pop-up’s, the signing up for emails to get a free information packet full of writing advice and the onslaught of courses offered to me straight to my email box.

Sadly, I found very little solid information in the “free” packets and the longer I looked at some of these sites, the more frustrated I got.  There was that same regurgitated information with a bright bow and shiny new title.  Although the titles were always compelling, I would get to the end of an article without the answers that were supposedly going to be provided.

 

If , for instance, I was looking to find out how much freelance writers were charging, I wanted to know actual numbers and not a wishy-washy answer like, how much do you want to make and charge what you feel you are worth.

Here is a list of the actual fees I charge: http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com/pricing-chart/

 

If I wanted writing advice on how to write an email to a person seeking a writing assignment, I wanted an actual template, not a sign up form where I could pay for a course.

Here is an article with a template like the one I use: 
http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com/using-linkedin-to-find-freelance-writing-assignments/

 

If I was searching for a way to set up my business and find clients without using an online content mill, I wanted some good advice, not just a general piece on how I should just write to a company that interests me.  I wanted a little more hand-holding so that my confidence was up when I took a chance and wrote to them.

Here is a free 3 week course I put together to help you take you step by step: 
http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com/jump-start-writing-career/

 

If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, type in the word writer or writing in the search bar and I guarantee you will find several topics to choose from.  If you still don’t have the answer you are looking for, ask it in the comment section.  I will either guide you to an article about it, answer it (if the answer is short) or I will write an article about it (I have done this many times).

I hope you enjoy this blog and get all of your writing advice questions answered.  I will never make you sign up just to get a free guide, you won’t deal with pop-ups, and I won’t charge you a fee just to help you get off the ground in your own career.

A Clever Way to Make Money Blogging Even With a Free WordPress Site


Article by Wendy McCance

In all of the years I have worked as a freelance writer and social media manager, I have seen an ebb and flow to business. Sometimes I will go months focused on writing. Writing blog articles and press releases and website content. Other times, I will get a flurry of clients who want to work with me to get their social media platforms up and running. For whatever reason, I tend to get the same type of work in a given period of time and then, randomly, my work shifts in another direction.

Recently, I have seen my social media work decline and at the same time, I am getting more opportunities to do some writing. The big difference is that recently the writing I am doing is for myself. I have been sending out queries to sites where I want to see my own work published; and not as a ghostwriter, but with my name attached to the article. I am finally getting serious about writing for myself instead of just for clients.

As I have been looking into where I can get my articles published, I came across something I had never thought of. Reprints of articles already published can not only get your name out there, but it can also provide another means to more income.

I just got my first reprint accepted to Funds for Writers. It is from an article I posted on this blog. One of the selling features was that I could prove how popular the article had been on my site and how many people wanted to see an article like the one I had written. Here is the article if you want to take a look: http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com/how-to-find-writing-jobs-when-you-are-new-to-freelance-writing/

Smart Tip: Being able to demonstrate the strength of an article is a great asset when looking to get an article reprinted.

Because my article was accepted, I will get my work published on a site that was named one of the top 100 best writing sites by Writers Digest. I will get a bio and links to my social media platforms and I will also get paid for an article I already had sitting around. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing!

So, here’s the thing I want to share with you, you can make a lot of money from the articles you have already written. Looking for websites and magazines that are willing to reprint an article you already wrote is amazing when you consider that it’s extra income, you get more recognition because of your bio and you didn’t have to do any additional work.

When you agree to have an article reprinted, you need to be aware of what you are signing. You might agree to give up your right to ever resell the same work in the future. A publication might want an exclusivity provision that precludes you from reprinting the story in any media during a particular time frame; a publication may even prohibit you from reprinting an article in any competing publications. Know what you are signing before you agree. The best deal is a contract where you can sell a reprint again. It’s incredible to think that you could make money on the same article more than once.

Good news! If you have a blog, you are in a terrific situation. How many articles have you written over the years? Do you have an article on relationships or health or finances or business? The list goes on and on. I have been focusing on writing tips and social media articles and so far I have sold one reprint and while looking around, was given an opportunity to write an article from scratch for Writers Weekly (which thrilled me!).

So that’s it. Another way to make money as a freelance writer. I love when I can share these lesser known ways of making a living as a writer. I hope you have tremendous luck if you decide to try this out. Let me know in the comments below if you have ever had your articles reprinted, what you have experienced along the way or if you think you might try this out. I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Here are a few sites to help you get started if you want to know where to get an article reprinted:

Funds For Writers

Writers Weekly

All Indie Writers