When working with writers in the past, many of them (myself included) made the mistake of charging very little when first starting out. In my own case, I looked at the market and started writing on Fiverr for $5 per 1000 word article. After a few weeks of that, I realized it was a big mistake and moved my price to $5 per 500 word article. Of course, with Fiverr taking their $1 cut of each sale, I was still only making $4 per article. I foolishly believed that I was building up my reputation and getting the experience I needed before I could raise my prices.
After a few months, I started using ‘gig extras’ on Fiverr to charge more, and made additional gigs where I was charging $5 for 250 or 100 words. That was a little better, but I wasn’t getting many orders on those gigs (people don’t come to Fiverr for high-quality content, remember!). For about the first year of freelance writing, I made the mistake of trying to start with low prices, and work my way up. This is a terrible idea, and while it might seem to make sense at first, it actually doesn’t work at all, and I’ll tell you why. The following are some of the reasons why I (and many others) think this is a good idea, followed by an explanation of why it is a mistake.
I’m Building a Reputation as a Writer
There are two main points I’d like to make about this. First, while building a reputation can be very valuable, you’re not building the type of reputation you want. You are building a reputation as a cheap writer. If a client who is looking for a high-quality writer sees you’re writing for $.01 per word, they will assume you aren’t that great. Even if you have many positive reviews on a site like Fiverr, they will look at this as positive reviews from low quality sources. Your positive reputation on sites like Fiverr, and many content mills, isn’t worth anything outside of those sites.
Secondly, the Internet is a HUGE place. Your reputation isn’t going to help you much most of the time. Even if you’ve built a strong reputation in one area, it won’t transfer well to other niches. In most cases, your reputation as a writer isn’t nearly as valuable as most people believe.
I’m Building a Client List and will raise My Prices Later
Clients who are looking to pay $5 or $10 per article will never pay you $25+. That is simply out of their reach. They are using the articles you are writing for general content, or worse, article directory marketing, which won’t earn them too much money. If they aren’t making money off of your articles, they can’t pay you a lot to write them. When you approach a client asking them to double (or more) your pay rate, you’ll lose the client (and the reputation you’ve built with them).
I Need the Cash now – I’ll find Higher Paying Clients Later
This is a huge one, and I completely understand it. The temptation to turn out a dozen easy articles per day at $10 each is strong. The main problem is, however, that you’ll never have enough time to market yourself to the higher paying markets. The people who are looking for cheap writers will keep you extremely busy, and you’ll find yourself stuck writing for less than you’re worth until you force yourself out of it.
I’m not good enough for $25-50 per Article
Confidence is another thing many writers are lacking. Many writers look at the fact that writing an article isn’t too difficult for them, and assume that means it is not very valuable. The fact is, however, that writing high-quality content is an important skill which most people in the world don’t have. Look at your writing skills honestly, and if you are in the top 10% of people you know, you can easily make $25-$50 (or much more) per article.
In addition, look at me! As you can see by reading through my site, I’m not the best writer in the world. I’m not bad, I’m better than most. When I’m writing for clients, I take a little extra time to read through for grammar, spelling and formatting problems, but no, I’m not perfect! Despite this, I can still make $25+ per article without a problem. *(Honesty disclaimer here. I still have some clients I write for at $12.50 per article, but they are so easy to work with I can’t justify dropping them. I can hammer out 4-5 articles per hour for them, so it is still well worth my time)* I haven’t accepted new clients at that rate in quite some time.
I Don’t Have any other Skills
Many people believe that since they don’t know a lot about Internet Marketing or other ways to make money online, they have to write for others in order to make some cash. I love freelance writing, and it is a great way to get up-front money fast. If you’re a good writer though, you should be building up other income streams as well! Remember, if someone is paying you $25 per article, they are going to be making A LOT more from that article! Taking some time to learn how to create websites, engage in article marketing and other things is essential for any writer.
I have quite a few posts up on this site that can help you get started, and an excellent guide which will walk you through setting up a niche authority site so you can have secondary incomes other than freelance writing! Check out my extremely detailed guide on creating authority niche sites HERE if you are interested.
There are Other Writers Offering Content for Less than $.01 per Word
There are two groups of people who write for $.01 per word or less. Those who can’t write well (especially those who have English as a second, or third language), and those who haven’t realized that they are good writers. The first group doesn’t need to raise their prices. They are offering a lower quality product, and therefore a lower price is justified. For good writers, however, it is important to learn that you’re not competing for the same jobs as those low quality writers! I wrote a post all about it HERE, if you are interested in learning more about competing with cheap writers.
I’m sure there are many other reasons people have for writing at low rates. Please let me know why you accept work at $.02 per word (or less), or why you did in the past. We can all help each other drive our prices up even more!