By Rhonda Campbell
Not all freelance writing jobs are created equal. High rates for freelance writing jobs start at $100 per hour and go up. Average rates per hour, and these are for lower paying projects, start at $60 to $70 per hour.
Oddly, if you look at most jobs posted at writing job boards, you’ll see clients who demand quick turnarounds, top quality, thorough research, self-editing from writers and bulk work. Many of these clients want all of this for less than $15 an hour when you factor in editing and publishing at content management systems.
Signs that your freelance writing gig isn’t good
As a freelance writer, you’d be hard pressed to convince demanding clients that their pay rates are low. They simply wouldn’t believe you. Why? Many entrepreneurs who hire freelance writers do not know average, low and high rates that writers are regularly paid. Some may be familiar with rates paid for quality freelance writing jobs and just hope that you’re a writer they can take advantage of.
The following advice is shared based on personal experiences that I have had as a freelance writer. The advice is also shared based on personal experiences that other professionals working freelance writing jobs have shared with me, editors and other writers. Signs of a bad freelance writing gig are:
1) Freelance writing jobs that pay below average or below your experience levels are a definite sign of a bad gig. Do yourself a favor, and familiarize yourself with average, low and high paying rates. The Editorial Freelancers Association post rates for editors. Writers Market post rates for writers. Writers Guild of America provides contractual, payment and other resources for writers, namely script writers.
There are other organizations and websites that list pay rates for quality freelance writing jobs. Do your homework. You might be surprised to find that you have been attracted to gigs that pay on the low end. If this is a fact, it might be time to strengthen your writing experience, background or training. You definitely want to get out of the belief that you are only worth pennies.
2) You get paid absolutely nothing if an editor pushes your work back. Consider writing a kill fee into your contract, especially if you work on a project that chews up lots of your time.
3) A client doesn’t pay you enough to afford to work solely for her. Yet, this client wants you to write 20 or more pieces of web content, press releases, blog posts and video scripts each week, allowing you to only take on more work if you log over 40 hours a week.
4) You’re asked to edit a piece. Cool enough. But, the client hasn’t even read through what you sent her. The client simply wants more keywords or wants the keywords placed in the content differently. You do two rewrites only to hear a week later that the client wants you to do a complete rewrite on 10 or more pieces of content you’ve submitted (the very same content this very same client asked you to only change keywords in earlier). If you don’t do the third round of edits, the client says she won’t pay you. This is a no brainer. This is a bad freelance writing job.
5) Turnaround time for freelance writing jobs is so tight that there is no way that you can work at top levels. You may want to step away from these gigs if you ask the clients for more time and they say “no”.
6) Clients want you to market writing you do for them at your social media sites, blogs, etc. Unless you’re also getting paid to market for a client, don’t accept this extra work as part of your “must dos” as a freelance writer.
7) Freelance writing jobs that require one to two hours of research work and another 30 minutes of editing on top of the actual writing but that only pay low rates (none of the rates considering the research and editing time).
8) Frequently delayed or no payments. This one needs no explanation.
9) Muddied or unclear directions from clients. Examples of this could be new clients not providing samples of what they want, not answering your questions clearly or constantly changing directions that they give you.
It’s up to you to ensure that you get good freelance writing jobs. As a tenth tip, make sure that you get a good contract. It’s a good idea to include the number of edits you will do on a project before you must be paid. Don’t be scared to add or discuss new protections that you want included in a writing contract. Clients are protecting themselves. You should protect yourself as well.
Here’s to hoping that you heed the above advice and start landing better freelance writing jobs, the types of freelance writing jobs that earn you an attractive income. As you start looking for signs of bad freelance writing jobs, you could also steer clear of a bad experience. The last thing that you need is to waste your time on a gig that ends up paying pennies, damaging your reputation or not paying you at all.