Friday, March 19, 2010

The Truth About Earning More as a Freelance Writer

Last year I decided I wanted to make more money so I did something drastic. I decided to let most (if not all) of my lower paying clients go. I was spending a lot of time on these projects and I needed to make more, so I decided to invest more time prospecting for better pay. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make, but it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

The natural tendency of many writers just starting out is to take a “bird in the hand beats two in the bush” approach to building a list of clients. In many cases work may be steady and abundant, but the rates are too low. As a result, you spend more time working just to make ends meet. This can quickly lead to low quality, mistakes and burnout.

As tempting as it was to keep working as usual for steady pay, I needed to take steps toward my income goal. That meant scaling back so that I’d have more time and energy to put into finding better opportunities. I don’t live above my means, so although things were a little tight for a short while, I rode it out. I think the sacrifice was worth it.

Yesterday I came across a blog post written by Yuwanda Black addressing an email she’d received from a writer seeking advice to help her break free of low-paying work. Yuwanda’s answer:

“To break free of low-paying gigs and start making more money as a writer is simple – stop accepting low-paying gigs and start charging more for your services. “I know, I know,” you’re probably thinking, “It’s not that easy; I still have to pay my bills and those low-paying gigs are what’s doing it right now…My response is, sacrifice short-term in order to gain long-term.”

This is exactly what emerging freelancers need to hear. If you’re looking to make a change in your business – whether it’s to earn more money, create information products for sale, write a novel, etc. – you may need to make some sacrifices in order to reach your goal.


Lori said...

Doesn't that sound like the hardest thing to do? But it works - really. I dropped a psychologically horrible gig not long ago. Almost instantly work appeared - better paying work - and I never missed that gig. It was one that offered steady monthly income, but I was so stressed and overworked from it, I didn't care.

I know what it's like to be desperate for income. You think that the low-paying stuff is at least something. But the truth is the "something" it becomes is a trap. You can't move forward because you're stuck in the "paycheck moment." When you live for a steady check, you kill your earnings potential.

Kimberly Ben said...

It was a little scary, Lori, but I had analyzed my situation enough to realize that their were certain projects that were holding me back. I wanted more freedom and say so about who I work with so I felt I had no choice. It does feel good.:)

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