Let's Talk About Acceptable Rates for Freelance Writers:
Please bear with me because this blog might come off as kind of a rant, but I think it could be valuable for others in the freelance writing space - and for anyone hoping to hire me as a freelance writer or editor via this site. It's also helpful for me to get it off my chest, so thank you for reading!
Recently, I have been getting lots of opportunities or job offers that pay atrociously and ultimately are not worth my time, which is especially disappointing after working hard to fill out an application or pursue the contract.
Often, information about pay is not transparent, which is another huge problem in the job market overall.
After you apply for a legitimate-sounding opportunity, some places ask for huge, unpaid trial assignments, and others promise to pay you by views. Others still offer cheap content to their clients at your expense.
None of it is acceptable.
My Rate for Freelance Writing and Editing
I charge $0.05 per word and $25 per hour for my freelance writing and editing services because I value my degree, my experience, and my time.
Sometimes, I am flexible with my clients (especially if I know I am really helping someone out or writing well within my interests), and occasionally I get paid by assignment instead of word/hour, but setting these standards keeps me safe from clients and companies that may not value my time or wish to exploit my services.
I could be doing anything - writing my novel (which I am currently procrastinating), cleaning my house, spending time with my boyfriend or my cat (pictured for cat tax purposes), cooking an interesting meal, working out, reading, binging Netflix, working for someone who will pay me more, or any number of things that add value and joy to my life.
If I am going to share my time, talents, and experiences, I want to be compensated fairly for it. The more experience I gain and the better I get at my job, the more I am going to charge.
And there are always people and companies that will be fair and pay well for good work.
Companies to Avoid
So far, I have had bad experiences with the following companies, and I want to warn others, so they don't waste their time:
Urban Writers - the company is super aggressive with its marketing, especially on LinkedIn. Once they receive your application and a writing sample, they invite you to an automated "interview," which is really a sales pitch. After all this, they ask you to write 5,000 words unpaid before you can get started at a rate of $0.01 per word, which wouldn't be super worthwhile even without the unpaid trial.
iWriter - iWriter is a well-organized platform where you can pull from a queue of requests and work with different clients. The topics can be really interesting, so it was disappointing to see that the average 1,000 to 2,000-word article paid $3 to $5. Worse still, clients may not accept your work after you write it, so there's no guarantee you will get paid at all. In iWriter's defense, they make all of this pretty plain on their Writer FAQ, which reads:
"iWriters get paid 65% of the price of each article. These amounts vary based on your writer 'level'... and the length of the article...For example, a writer may earn $2.15 for a 500 word article."
It's my own fault for not doing my research about iWriter before signing up, but I still chose to delete my account after the fact because the writing just seemed like a waste of time for the rates they were offering. Clients get a good deal, the company gets a good deal, but writers certainly do not.
CBR (Comic Book Resources) - this one was disappointing, too, because the parent company runs a lot of reputable niche websites that deal with film, TV, pop culture, etc. - all of which I really want to be writing about. I applied on LinkedIn and worked hard on the application, but when they wanted to move forward, they told me their rate was $5 to $10 per article, and cents on the dollar for every 1,000 views. I didn't move forward because this rate is not acceptable and even the best SEO cannot guarantee thousands of views.
Maybe these companies could be valuable for someone who is starting out with no training or experience, but I would urge anyone taking themselves seriously and trying to make a living as a freelancer to steer clear.
What You Should Look For
To minimize the time you waste on false leads (it will inevitably happen), look for reputable companies that include their rates in job posts. In the application, the company may even ask about your rate. This is a good sign.
Most places wanting to hire writers will ask you for a trial assignment. This is totally normal, but you should be paid at your agreed-upon rate for all the work you do.
You should also be paid for any training or additional tasks the hiring manager asks of you.
One of my favorite new clients did everything right in the hiring process and working with them has been great. They are extremely friendly, organized, and always pay on time.
You don't want to get stuck in a content mill and waste your time writing for literal pennies, so be smart about which jobs you accept. You may have more time, and some money might feel better than none, but you can use your extra time to find opportunities that pay appropriately, ultimately making more money and taking better care of yourself in the long run.
Chances are, you are going to get excited for some opportunities that will turn out to be duds, but staying alert will help you protect yourself. It's frustrating when someone wastes your time, but that doesn't mean you should invest more to make an unfair job worthwhile.
Instead, say 'no thank you,' stay loyal to yourself, and move on to bigger and brighter things.
If you need anyone to commiserate with, you can always contact me via my contact form or email me at loganrosereadsandwrites at gmail dot com.
I'm always open to chat and help you with your writing projects - for a fair rate, of course.