Freelancers working for pennies seems to be on the rise...and it needs to stop.

by AFed
29 replies
I've noticed something, and I'm sure many of you have noticed it, too.

A lot of freelancers, especially the newer ones, are working for literally just pennies.

I'm talking about the ones who charge rates like $0.02 per word or $10 for 100 words of content.

It's ridiculous and it needs to stop.

Freelancers, why are you selling yourselves so short?

Think about it: Why would you charge such low rates for work that you spend quality time on?

Even more: Why would you charge pennies for content that could end up putting hundreds and even thousands of dollars into your client's pocket?

Let me guess: You don't think your work is good enough, OR you're simply trying to build your portfolio and make some kind of money in the meantime, right?

I see it all the time.

Freelancers who sell themselves so short because they lack confidence in their writing capabilities; OR they're just trying to get any client they can, so that they can build their portfolio.

If you're reading this and you're doing this for these exact reasons, stop it. Stop it right now.

Rather than charging stupidly low rates because you think your work isn't worth more than a few cents, it's time to reevaluate yourself.

Pull yourself together--slap yourself in the face if you have to--and really tell yourself, "I can do this. I am worth more."

And if you're struggling to build your portfolio, rather than settling on rates that won't even buy you a decent meal, start by defining the niche you want to write for instead.

Trust me. You're going to find a lot more work this way.

What would I recommend as a decent rate (especially for newer freelancers?)

$0.25 per word. (And the blood of the cheapskate clients has begun to boil...)

Depending on your writing skills, you can do a little more or a little less, but don't go down any further than $0.15 per word (just don't).

Remember: Your clients aren't just paying for content--they're paying for your TIME.

They're paying for the time it's going to take you to craft their work and perform any research you might have to put in, in order to meet their approval.

They're also paying for any revisions they might ask for (and trust me when I say this: about 9 out of 10 times, your clients will ask you to make some kind adjustment to the work you send them).

"What if no one wants to pay the rate you're suggesting?"

That's fine.

You don't want to work for those people.

The people who want high-quality work from you, but don't want to make a good investment in the work you're producing for them, aren't the kind of clients you want to waste your time on.

I mean that.

Stick to your guns, define your writing niche, and I promise you, you'll find good-paying work with clients who will respect you and your time.

It'll come soon enough.

Thanks for reading, Warriors, and good luck out there.
#freelancers #pennies #riseand #stop #working
  • Profile picture of the author markGustaff
    Good share, thanks. It was intereseing to read your thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
    I offered Ghostwriting service over at KBoards at $0.06 per word and got massively attacked for my price. Mine you I wanted to charge a whole lot more, but thought it would not have gone over well.

    Gorgeous Lucky Bitch,
    Shana Jahsinta Walters.
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    • Profile picture of the author AFed
      If you're getting massively attacked over $0.06 per word, you need to search for work elsewhere.

      As I mentioned in this post: You don't want to work for people who want you to work for pennies.

      Those kind of people want you to work for dirt-cheap rates and then take advantage of you as much as possible.

      Keep searching for quality clients. They are out there.

      (I'm a freelancer and I charge $0.40 per word. I find clients who are willing to pay this all the time)
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by AFed View Post

    I've noticed something, and I'm sure many of you have noticed it, too.

    A lot of freelancers, especially the newer ones, are working for literally just pennies.

    I'm talking about the ones who charge rates like $0.02 per word or $10 for 100 words of content.

    It's ridiculous and it needs to stop.

    Freelancers, why are you selling yourselves so short?

    Think about it: Why would you charge such low rates for work that you spend quality time on?

    Even more: Why would you charge pennies for content that could end up putting hundreds and even thousands of dollars into your client's pocket?

    Let me guess: You don't think your work is good enough, OR you're simply trying to build your portfolio and make some kind of money in the meantime, right?

    I see it all the time.

    Freelancers who sell themselves so short because they lack confidence in their writing capabilities; OR they're just trying to get any client they can, so that they can build their portfolio.

    If you're reading this and you're doing this for these exact reasons, stop it. Stop it right now.

    Rather than charging stupidly low rates because you think your work isn't worth more than a few cents, it's time to reevaluate yourself.

    Pull yourself together--slap yourself in the face if you have to--and really tell yourself, "I can do this. I am worth more."

    And if you're struggling to build your portfolio, rather than settling on rates that won't even buy you a decent meal, start by defining the niche you want to write for instead.

    Trust me. You're going to find a lot more work this way.

    What would I recommend as a decent rate (especially for newer freelancers?)

    $0.25 per word. (And the blood of the cheapskate clients has begun to boil...)

    Depending on your writing skills, you can do a little more or a little less, but don't go down any further than $0.15 per word (just don't).

    Remember: Your clients aren't just paying for content--they're paying for your TIME.

    They're paying for the time it's going to take you to craft their work and perform any research you might have to put in, in order to meet their approval.

    They're also paying for any revisions they might ask for (and trust me when I say this: about 9 out of 10 times, your clients will ask you to make some kind adjustment to the work you send them).

    "What if no one wants to pay the rate you're suggesting?"

    That's fine.

    You don't want to work for those people.

    The people who want high-quality work from you, but don't want to make a good investment in the work you're producing for them, aren't the kind of clients you want to waste your time on.

    I mean that.

    Stick to your guns, define your writing niche, and I promise you, you'll find good-paying work with clients who will respect you and your time.

    It'll come soon enough.

    Thanks for reading, Warriors, and good luck out there.
    Yes. I'll pay you to write your content. Tell me how much content you want and I'll tell you what I will pay, only thing is I get a byline.

    Let's turn freelancing upside down, how YOU going to compete with me Now?

    So, at say, the lowest of the low freelancers, a penny a word, I'll give YOU 10 bux for a 1000 word article, fair enough?

    Out of the box (mind?) thinking.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author AFed
      I'm sorry, I'm not quite understanding your proposal (if that's what you're doing).

      Please clearly explain what you're trying to offer...
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      • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
        Originally Posted by AFed View Post

        I'm sorry, I'm not quite understanding your proposal (if that's what you're doing).

        Please clearly explain what you're trying to offer...
        I will pay someone 10 dollars and will deliver to them 1,000 words of content.

        What is difficult to understand about that? So, I will pay one cent a word to get my content posted on your website. Maybe more. It is the opposite of freelancing, I'll call it FreeBallin

        GordonJ
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        • Profile picture of the author AFed
          No need to be snarky, my dear.

          I had a little difficulty understanding what you were proposing because one, I've never heard of anything like that before; and two, your message was messy.
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  • Profile picture of the author neshaword
    I hear you AFed. Have to admit that I used to walk down the same road just like you. This situation was one of the most confusing and annoying things for me to encounter in freelancing. However, there are some questions you need to ask yourself? Who are we to judge the freelance industry? There's a market for low-paid freelancers, just as there's a market for top-paid freelancers. You decide which category is the most suitable for you.

    It all comes down to that what you pay is what you will eventually get. Meaning, some clients will be willing to pay $100 for a single page of no more than 400 or 500 words. At the same time, other clients will have difficulties offering more than a dollar or two for the same quantity. And, there will be people to gladly accept both. My friendly advice is that you should focus on your own situation and work. The world of freelancing will take care of itself. You find yourself your rightful place and pay no attention to what's going on around you.

    Good luck and many new projects to my fellow freelancer,
    N
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

      I hear you AFed. Have to admit that I used to walk down the same road just like you. This situation was one of the most confusing and annoying things for me to encounter in freelancing. However, there are some questions you need to ask yourself? Who are we to judge the freelance industry? There's a market for low-paid freelancers, just as there's a market for top-paid freelancers. You decide which category is the most suitable for you.

      It all comes down to that what you pay is what you will eventually get. Meaning, some clients will be willing to pay $100 for a single page of no more than 400 or 500 words. At the same time, other clients will have difficulties offering more than a dollar or two for the same quantity. And, there will be people to gladly accept both. My friendly advice is that you should focus on your own situation and work. The world of freelancing will take care of itself. You find yourself your rightful place and pay no attention to what's going on around you.

      Good luck and many new projects to my fellow freelancer,
      N
      That's fine. Let us also add, do not complain, whine or moan about it.

      You have created your results. Live with it.

      Ron
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      • Profile picture of the author neshaword
        Maybe I should have mentioned that we're talking about the tough industry. It is ridiculous to believe that the low prices could possibly harm it. It has always been like this, not only in the freelance world, but in every industry and business field. Everyone finds what eventually is looking for in both terms of price and quality. Cheers!
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    • Profile picture of the author AFed
      Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

      . My friendly advice is that you should focus on your own situation and work.
      Thank you (and I genuinely mean that), but no.

      While yes, there are some writers who are okay with working for extremely low rates, some writers are only charging these low rates because they feel like they can't charge more (those are the people that this message is directed to).

      Some of the reasons they feel like this, are because they come across cheapskates who make them believe that no one will pay anything more than these low rates.

      These aren't low-budget clients, but low-quality clients.

      These are clients who like to make writers (especially the rookies) feel like their work--and time--isn't worth more than just a few dollars per every few-hundred words.

      I want writers to know that there is higher-paying work out there for them.

      And by all means, if low-budget clients are your target market (and you're happy with that), then stay there. You know what you're doing.

      My whole point here is to help writers realize that they aren't limited to low-budget clients, and they're definitely not limited to low-quality clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Freelancers working for pennies seems to be on the rise...and it needs to stop.
    You must be new around here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
    Freelancers working for pennies will never die. They are here to stay and fortunately, the A-players have devised ways to cope up with them.

    It's similar to the government always trying to tax the wealthy, yet the "Trump" find ways to fool them.The A players will always find a ladder to high paying jobs, even if the whole south Asia dumps her IT experts all over the internet.

    I remember interacting with an Indie guy who bid so low on a project, I was astounded upside down. Well, I managed to ask him 'Why'? Why so low man?

    And he said, as desperate as it sounded "I have a full-time working team here. If I don't get gigs, I won't be able to pay them. So, even if I am bidding ridiculously cheap, I am at least putting my team on work instead of watching them play cards."

    That's a sad reality, my friend.

    Thanks
    -J
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    • Profile picture of the author Veritas123
      Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

      Freelancers working for pennies will never die. They are here to stay and fortunately, the A-players have devised ways to cope up with them.

      It's similar to the government always trying to tax the wealthy, yet the "Trump" find ways to fool them.The A players will always find a ladder to high paying jobs, even if the whole south Asia dumps her IT experts all over the internet.

      I remember interacting with an Indie guy who bid so low on a project, I was astounded upside down. Well, I managed to ask him 'Why'? Why so low man?

      And he said, as desperate as it sounded "I have a full-time working team here. If I don't get gigs, I won't be able to pay them. So, even if I am bidding ridiculously cheap, I am at least putting my team on work instead of watching them play cards."

      That's a sad reality, my friend.

      Thanks
      -J
      Oh god that happens to me all the time, Freelancers from India bid so low at projects, its quite annoying sometimes, I mean, how can you bid 30 dollars for designing a website? Those are at least 10 hours of hard work, how can you possibly do it for so little money?

      I also agree that this kind of Freelancers cant be stopped, I mean, you can try to change the systems in the bidding systems, but they will always find the way of doing low bids. I also believe that employees are also to blame for this situation, I mean if anyone hired those guys, they woudlnt do that.
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        Your total daily expenses are $10. $30 for 10 hours, in such a case, is a ton of money.

        So, don't compete with them. Position yourself in such a way as to avoid any and all comparisons with them.

        Originally Posted by Veritas123 View Post

        Oh god that happens to me all the time, Freelancers from India bid so low at projects, its quite annoying sometimes, I mean, how can you bid 30 dollars for designing a website? Those are at least 10 hours of hard work, how can you possibly do it for so little money?

        I also agree that this kind of Freelancers cant be stopped, I mean, you can try to change the systems in the bidding systems, but they will always find the way of doing low bids. I also believe that employees are also to blame for this situation, I mean if anyone hired those guys, they woudlnt do that.
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      • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
        Originally Posted by Veritas123 View Post

        Oh god that happens to me all the time, Freelancers from India bid so low at projects, its quite annoying sometimes, I mean, how can you bid 30 dollars for designing a website? Those are at least 10 hours of hard work, how can you possibly do it for so little money?
        It is very simple....

        The cost of living varies greatly from country to country....

        You can have a much higher quality of life on $30,000 USD per year in India than you can in San Francisco, CA.

        Last I read, a dollar in India is like ten dollars in the USA.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingpro53
    It will not change. There are many people who live out of the US who charge less money then
    Americans. they pay less rent also.
    Many of these guys write grammarly poorly with mistakes. But some are quite good.
    This is the world we live in.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris-
    Freelancing is a VERY competitive area, for some types of work.

    I've had people to 5 hours work for me, for one cent, just to get some positive feedback . . . if you think that's a "bad idea" then you are thinking like an employee, and learning to think like an entrepreneur might make you more money

    If something's changing, yes some people will find negatives. But there's almost always an up-side . . . since freelancers are working cheap, great . . . that's a great way to make more money by being the one hiring them rather than the one doing the job

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author AMarketingKing
    You are never going to get any conversions if you have such a high rate, only if you offer some sort of added value or prestige that'll be good
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  • Profile picture of the author jazbo
    People will always be attracted to low prices. Usually the writing is supplied at low prices by people with poor English skills, who deliver poor content.

    It doesn't work, doesn't convert, but it becomes "normal" so they keep on ordering it.

    It's the same with linkbuilding. People pay peanuts, it doesn't work, but they keep throwing more peanuts at it.

    The most vital thing is to find someone who delivers, and who you build a relationship with.
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  • Profile picture of the author lynnswayze
    The thing I see with content writers (blog posts, articles) is that these new ones don't understand how their content plays into a bigger marketing strategy.

    They aren't thinking, "Oh, this content will start the funnel that begins to sell cold traffic on my client's way of thinking." They're just writing. So they don't connect their content to any end result value and thus charge so little.

    I also agree that many of these low rate writers are in foreign countries where these paltry sums actually pay the bills.

    Also, many six and seven figure entrepreneurs promote this mindset. "Oh, just go on Fiverr and hire someone to do this job for $15" is a phrase I've heard too often from people I otherwise respected.

    The trick about pricing is that we only pay for what we value. If we really value solving a problem, we'll spend money. If we don't, we'll pay little. This means that the individual hiring you at low rates probably doesn't value other people (e.g., you the writer) much either.

    It's just such a bad strategy all around. There's no way to turn a $5 client into a $5000 client. Freelancers feel they have to "work their way up" dollar by dollar. Some never climb out of the low rate pit. Those who advertise low rates turn away good clients who might have otherwise worked with them, if they hadn't signaled their inexperience and low quality with low rates.

    It's unfortunate all around.
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  • I think its good because all the clients that want "deals" are pushed aside from the ball game.

    I think you are leaving a lot of money on the table. You could easily create a info product for freelancers on how to increase their prices and put more money in your pocket.

    Clients that are willing to pay a certain amount are smart enough to not do business with low priced writers.
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    • Profile picture of the author crisiswriting
      Originally Posted by The Copywriting Engineer View Post

      I think its good because all the clients that want "deals" are pushed aside from the ball game.

      I think you are leaving a lot of money on the table. You could easily create a info product for freelancers on how to increase their prices and put more money in your pocket.

      Clients that are willing to pay a certain amount are smart enough to not do business with low priced writers.
      Agree! If you are spying over high-quality clients - a high-quality rate is a MUST. They know that to pay for.

      Having your services targeted for that 20 % of quality clients can return great income. And feedback!
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Freelancers working for pennies seems to be on the rise...and it needs to stop.

    You're preaching to people that are broke.

    Eat today. Don't eat today.

    Decisions, decisions...
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      And to people who can make $10 a day working 8 hours in a factory or write a 4 articles and make twice as much.

      And, instead of moving self into a different market, the OP is fighting it. That's what I do not understand.

      There are different markets in the world of writing; you don't like one, move to the another one. Can't move to another one? Learn new skills or accept your situation. It's easier to change yourself than to change the world. Why is it so hard for people to understand that? Why, Yukon? Why?

      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      You're preaching to people that are broke.

      Eat today. Don't eat today.

      Decisions, decisions...
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  • Profile picture of the author kandabrewer
    You get what you pay for.

    There are always going to be people who charge low rates because there will always be 1) people who are just starting in the field, 2) people who value quantity over quality, and 3) people who live abroad in a country that has a low cost of living.

    So... You want to hire 1) a newbie with no experience? 2) Someone who does lousy work? Or 3) do you want to pay someone in country A pennies to write copy targetting people in country/culture B?

    Unless you're one of the types listed above, don't worry! The people who hire them either won't be in business very long or will eventually realize they have to pay good money for quality, professional services.

    You get what you pay for. You get what you pay for. You get what you pay for.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Amen Kanda.

    I ain't worried about the kids getting pennies. They're not on my level and they're certainly NOT my competition.

    And if you're serious about this business, you shouldn't be worried about them either. They'll continue to undervalue themselves until they burn out (and some other poor schmuck steps into their place), or they'll come to their senses and understand they provide something valuable and raise their rates accordingly.
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    • Profile picture of the author crisiswriting
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Amen Kanda.

      I ain't worried about the kids getting pennies. They're not on my level and they're certainly NOT my competition.

      And if you're serious about this business, you shouldn't be worried about them either. They'll continue to undervalue themselves until they burn out (and some other poor schmuck steps into their place), or they'll come to their senses and understand they provide something valuable and raise their rates accordingly.
      Agree! Companies that will find your work totally worth than hundreds of dollars will do business with you again and again.

      I think that only those skeezy-snake oil salesmen are ready to work with cheap copywriters...Someone who can tie great CTAs and make me a great deal of money - for pennies.

      As Angie said: " If you're serious about the business, you shouldn't be worried about them either."

      Target your services for high-end clients!
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  • Profile picture of the author Joyce Birmingham
    Someone said you get what you paid for. Competition is fierce but if your work is good quality then someone will appreciate paying a decent amount to you.
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