Am I being unreasonable?

47 replies
I've just messaged a client on elance saying that I want either more money, or I don't want to do the work I agreed to last night.

I've just had a look at the project again and he wants me to write several articles on garage doors. I.e the mechanical aspects, best types, colours etc. He wants 7x 500 word articles in fact. By the end of the day. He's paying $3 an article, which after elance fees works out at like $2.80.

Am I being unreasonable, or is this just a bit too specialised for a blog/article writer?
#unreasonable
  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    He is asking too much for what he's willing to pay.

    However, you said you just looked over the project "again". Did you have the specifics before you agreed to take the job? If so, then I'd say stick to your agreement on this one -- but learn something for next time.

    If he added requirements after you agreed; then that's a different story.

    Rose
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      Keep your word brother. It's all you have.

      Rick
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    • Profile picture of the author fatafat
      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      The fact that you would even consider writing so cheaply blows my mind.

      How can you ever expect to make a living?

      Likewise...

      How can you ever expect to communicate the value you bring to a person's business (and their bottom line) - IF your perceived value is so low?

      Something to think about.

      I know a lot of article writers think $10 is pushing the boundaries of what people will pay.

      However...

      People will pay whatever you ask - when (and only when) you can fully articulate what your work will help them achieve.

      In other words...

      "Without me, you're leaving hundreds, thousands... even millions of dollars on the table."

      Play a bigger game.

      And leave the bottom feeding clients to people who don't know their worth.

      Mark
      Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

      He is asking too much for what he's willing to pay.

      However, you said you just looked over the project "again". Did you have the specifics before you agreed to take the job? If so, then I'd say stick to your agreement on this one -- but learn something for next time.

      If he added requirements after you agreed; then that's a different story.

      Rose
      True advice, you need to research your expertise and self evaluate your rates before going into the market, if you are an expert yet desperate then its easy for the market to exploit you easily...
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyTorrents
    You are not being unreasonable if he did not mention how much he is willing to pay for the project before you agreed to do it.

    But if he clearly stated how much he can afford to pay for articles and you accept the project anyways; that is a different story.

    A lot of people don't realize that they need to pay more if they want quality.
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  • Profile picture of the author Murphysmurfy
    You already agreed to it.

    It's your fault, not his.

    It would take me 2 hours to do the articles, just suck it up and raise your price on the next job.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheMadHatter
    I would just tell him it is not your specialty or the post didn't have enough info for you to realize that "additional research is needed" to produce the articles. If he would like you to write them still you will need some extra money for the time. It was not your fault the post didn't have full details of what he needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    The fact that you would even consider writing so cheaply blows my mind.

    How can you ever expect to make a living?

    Likewise...

    How can you ever expect to communicate the value you bring to a person's business (and their bottom line) - IF your perceived value is so low?

    Something to think about.

    I know a lot of article writers think $10 is pushing the boundaries of what people will pay.

    However...

    People will pay whatever you ask - when (and only when) you can fully articulate what your work will help them achieve.

    In other words...

    "Without me, you're leaving hundreds, thousands... even millions of dollars on the table."

    Play a bigger game.

    And leave the bottom feeding clients to people who don't know their worth.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author 06blawton
      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      The fact that you would even consider writing so cheaply blows my mind.

      How can you ever expect to make a living?

      Likewise...

      How can you ever expect to communicate the value you bring to a person's business (and their bottom line) - IF your perceived value is so low?

      Something to think about.

      I know a lot of article writers think $10 is pushing the boundaries of what people will pay.

      However...

      People will pay whatever you ask - when (and only when) you can fully articulate what your work will help them achieve.

      In other words...

      "Without me, you're leaving hundreds, thousands... even millions of dollars on the table."

      Play a bigger game.

      And leave the bottom feeding clients to people who don't know their worth.

      Mark
      I was offering such little money so that I could build up my portfolio. I'm starting advertising higher rates now that my portfolio has grown a little.


      Thanks for the advice man. I fully agree.
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  • Profile picture of the author mounds
    Yes and no.

    It's unreasonable for you to write at that rate.

    It's not unreasonable to ask for more money.

    Chances are you're going to get dropped. Look at it this way: you can spend your day writing about garage doors or take an hour to mow your neighbor's grass. Either way, you'll make about $20 for your time. I'd argue that the fringe benefits of mowing grass (exercise, fresh air) outweigh the benefits of hammering away at the keyboard.

    Whether it's too specialized, I could write about anything if you paid me enough. Garage doors seems rather elementary. For $2.80, that's the kind of article that would look something like this...

    "Unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware that garage doors come in all sorts of colors! While some garage owners prefer to paint their doors red, you'd be surprised how many paint theirs blue! The truth is it doesn't really matter... what matters is that you're happy with it!

    When you decide to paint your garage door, you might have some questions. "What color will I choose? Does it match my house? What will my neighbors think?" If you want to come off as quiet and conservative, try egg-shell white! Looking to attract attention? Electric pink is sure to bring out the wild child in you! If you're feeling really crazy, buy several cans of paint and start splashing! After all, it's your garage and no one can tell you what to do with it!

    When it comes to matching the color of your house, follow these steps:

    1. Find a spot on your house that isn't seen very often.

    2. Rip off a piece of siding.

    3. Bring the piece of siding to the hardware store so they can match the color.

    4. Let's get painting!

    The truth is, it's not hard to color match. It just takes a bit of patience and an eye for detail!

    Believe it or not, humans are social animals. We care about what others think! While painting a Star Wars battle scene on your garage door seems like a good idea, you might start a rivalry with your Trekkie neighbor. To avoid petty squabbles, choose neutral colors like white, beige, and cream. On the other hand, you don't want to come off as submissive. An angry red or threatening brown will be sure to scare off would-be burglars. Be careful with black! This might lead people to believe you worship Satan, inspiring the ire of local church groups.

    Whether you paint your garage door white, black, or in between, what matters is that you like the color you choose. There's nothing worse than painting your garage door, staring at it listlessly, pining for what it is not. And remember: there's always turpentine."

    I wrote that in about ten minutes on my lunch break. If you extend the contractions, you'll be able to pad the word count and sell it. I don't mind.

    -Tim
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  • Profile picture of the author Rsherwood
    A good reputation can very quickly be destroyed on the web, bad words can spread like wild fire. Its just one of those things in this case.

    Not the end of the world, we have all done it, just try to spend some more time to assess the situation before agreeing to anything on your next project.

    R.S
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  • Profile picture of the author DevEdge
    If you already had all of the information about the task before you took it on then I would say you should have known about it.

    However, if the full description was delivered after you had agreed then that isn't fair on you.

    Perhaps put this one down to experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author flovin
    Keep your word. Integrity is the most important.
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  • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
    Originally Posted by 06blawton View Post

    I've just messaged a client on elance saying that I want either more money, or I don't want to do the work I agreed to last night.

    I've just had a look at the project again and he wants me to write several articles on garage doors. I.e the mechanical aspects, best types, colours etc. He wants 7x 500 word articles in fact. By the end of the day. He's paying $3 an article, which after elance fees works out at like $2.80.

    Am I being unreasonable, or is this just a bit too specialised for a blog/article writer?
    You are being unreasonable if you agreed to those obligations.

    If not, then you aren't.

    Either way, if he can only afford to pay $3 per article, it's highly unlikely he'll be willing to pay more
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  • Profile picture of the author Marketing Fool
    I mean, did you agree last night to his terms? If so...yeah, you're being unreasonable.
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  • Profile picture of the author aduttonater
    Depends on what you agreed on. If you made the deal sound sweet by offering a low price then you should keep that deal. Even if you figured out that it's going to cost you in the long run. Sometimes taking a small loss, will save your reputation and will teach you a lesson in the long run.
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  • Profile picture of the author prchech
    Keep your word and protect your reputation
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  • Next time be careful before accepting any project. I know friend writing blogs for $2.8 is really a waste of time. You have to bear a lot of pressure and have to websearch a lot to get the real content. In short, these article writing jobs on elance actually suck blood a lot
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  • Profile picture of the author Writer Army
    I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. There is certainly a limit when it comes to the quality that a certain level of pricing will give you. That should just be an expectation that the client has, and it's perfectly understandable for you to ask for more money for more highly researched content. As long as you do it tactfully there should hopefully be no issue.
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    • Profile picture of the author 06blawton
      Originally Posted by Writer Army View Post

      I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. There is certainly a limit when it comes to the quality that a certain level of pricing will give you. That should just be an expectation that the client has, and it's perfectly understandable for you to ask for more money for more highly researched content. As long as you do it tactfully there should hopefully be no issue.

      I just explained my situation to him and said that I didn't mind writing for $3/500 words on topics that I know and understand, but I had no clue about garage doors and the extra reading required for me would put me on an hourly rate way below what I could afford. I apologised for this and stressed that I'm still happy to type til' my fingers bleed on my more knowledgeable topics.
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      • Profile picture of the author Cali16
        I'm a bit confused - you said you "agreed" to the project last night - and then this morning you changed your mind (for all the reasons you stated). Elance has a process for bidding on and accepting a project. Once you click on the "accept" (or "I agree" to the terms, whichever it is) button - you are obligated to do the project per that agreement.

        It is YOUR responsibility to ask any questions and get the specifics of a project BEFORE bidding on it and accepting it. Changing your mind after the fact is unethical (unless the client changed the terms after you accepted the job). Not to mention, you could end up with some very negative feedback - and I guarantee you that others who might hire you in the future often do look at past feedback - so it could cost you future clients. So, if you end up with bad feedback because you did fewer articles than agreed, you'll have only yourself to blame. Not only that, your client could file a dispute with Elance and you would have no leverage - you'd be the one in the wrong. That could have far worse consequences (such as your account being suspended).

        Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you basically decided you didn't want to the work you originally agreed to do. So, if that is correct, then YES, it is unreasonable for you to now change your mind.

        So, if there's a tough lesson to be learned here, it's to make sure you have ALL the information before you bid on (and accept) a project, and that you HONOR your agreement once you've made it. It's not fair to the client for you to change YOUR terms after you've accepted the job. (And $3 per article is slave wages, but sadly, that's very common on sites like Elance because there are so many people who are willing to write for that amount - but if that's the amount you agreed to, you won't get any sympathy from me.)
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        • Profile picture of the author 06blawton
          Originally Posted by Cali16 View Post

          I'm a bit confused - you said you "agreed" to the project last night - and then this morning you changed your mind (for all the reasons you stated). Elance has a process for bidding on and accepting a project. Once you click on the "accept" (or "I agree" to the terms, whichever it is) button - you are obligated to do the project per that agreement.

          It is YOUR responsibility to ask any questions and get the specifics of a project BEFORE bidding on it and accepting it. Changing your mind after the fact is unethical (unless the client changed the terms after you accepted the job). Not to mention, you could end up with some very negative feedback - and I guarantee you that others who might hire you in the future often do look at past feedback - so it could cost you future clients. So, if you end up with bad feedback because you did fewer articles than agreed, you'll have only yourself to blame. Not only that, your client could file a dispute with Elance and you would have no leverage - you'd be the one in the wrong. That could have far worse consequences (such as your account being suspended).

          Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you basically decided you didn't want to the work you originally agreed to do. So, if that is correct, then YES, it is unreasonable for you to now change your mind.

          So, if there's a tough lesson to be learned here, it's to make sure you have ALL the information before you bid on (and accept) a project, and that you HONOR your agreement once you've made it. It's not fair to the client for you to change YOUR terms after you've accepted the job. (And $3 per article is slave wages, but sadly, that's very common on sites like Elance because there are so many people who are willing to write for that amount - but if that's the amount you agreed to, you won't get any sympathy from me.)
          Yes, you're misunderstanding me I'm afraid.

          It's a long term project wherein he inboxes me the work that he'd like doing for that day every day. I replied to him saying that I didn't really feel comfortable doing one of the pieces of work he'd just asked for. He's now replied and is fine with it seen as I was perfectly reasonable and even offered to do a free 'piece' to make up for inconveniencing him. The name of the project is quite simply 'long term project - $3/500 words'

          So yeah, I think you've misunderstood me a bit
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          • Profile picture of the author Cali16
            Originally Posted by 06blawton View Post

            Yes, you're misunderstanding me I'm afraid.

            The name of the project is quite simply 'long term project - $3/500 words'

            So yeah, I think you've misunderstood me a bit
            Actually, I didn't misunderstand you. You agreed UP FRONT to write ongoing articles - without knowing the exact content for those articles - for $3 per 500 words. You agreed to a project without knowing WHAT you'd be writing about (a bit foolish, in my book). And THEN you changed your mind AFTER he sent you the topics. Correct?

            The onus is on you to keep your commitment. And again - lesson for the future - DON'T bid on or accept projects for which you don't know the details (e.g. the specific topics). Lots of buyers post vague "long term" jobs - I've no idea why anyone would bid on them and lock themselves into an agreement that they may later really regret.

            Consider yourself VERY lucky that this person is willing to be flexible. But, I stand by everything I said initially. The "long term" aspect doesn't change anything.
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            • Profile picture of the author hometutor
              Originally Posted by Cali16 View Post


              Consider yourself VERY lucky that this person is willing to be flexible. But, I stand by everything I said initially. The "long term" aspect doesn't change anything.
              This reminds of a similar topic to protect yourself. KEEP ALL CORRESPONDENCES. I had a guy try to change our agreement once then backed down when I forwarded copies of our communication via email.

              Rick
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  • If the quality of your articles are good then you are way under paid. If you are new to elance you may have to suck it up in exchange for a positive review. Positive review can go a long way to getting you more work that you can charge more for.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    Ignore everyone who said you're not being unreasonable.

    Heed the advice of everyone who said you should honor your
    commitment and fulfill the order.

    To that, I would add one more comment. DO NOT succumb
    to the temptation to do a shoddy job because you don't think
    it's worth your time. Do the absolute very best you can.

    The measure of a man's character is the things he does when
    he doesn't have to. Do the job right, walk away feeling good about
    yourself, put the articles in your portfolio and use them as examples
    of why you should be paid more by the next buyer.

    Look at it this way... this buyer is paying you to build your portfolio.

    It's all about attitude.
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    • Profile picture of the author Malcolm Thomas
      Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

      Ignore everyone who said you're not being unreasonable.

      Heed the advice of everyone who said you should honor your
      commitment and fulfill the order.

      To that, I would add one more comment. DO NOT succumb
      to the temptation to do a shoddy job because you don't think
      it's worth your time. Do the absolute very best you can.

      The measure of a man's character is the things he does when
      he doesn't have to. Do the job right, walk away feeling good about
      yourself, put the articles in your portfolio and use them as examples
      of why you should be paid more by the next buyer.

      Look at it this way... this buyer is paying you to build your portfolio.

      It's all about attitude.
      Great solid practical advice that I highly suggest you follow. Chalk this experience up as a lesson learned and try to not make this mistake again in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author 06blawton
    Just to let everyone know what I've done and let you know more about the situation I was in. We are under a current agreement for $3 per 500 word article. He messaged me at what was a reasonable time in the US, however here in the UK I was fast asleep. I replied the next morning explaining that I couldn't do it for that money etc. and said I'd still do 3x500 articles but that was it and I wasn't comfortable writing about them really. I don't know why I said earlier that I agreed on the night. I didn't. I still haven't got a reply. I'll do these to the best of my ability but I know NOTHING about this topic and he has a list of the areas I'm willing to write about. This wasn't one of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author greendolph
    well, i will keep my word first i think , we r working in a "words" 50% virtual where words are precious. maybe you should be more clear about what was asking to be done before closing the deal at the curent price ?! keep up , but ask precisions regarding the demand . cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author Charanjit
    I think you should complete the job and then look at raising the price you charge.
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  • Profile picture of the author DFTskillz
    Originally Posted by 06blawton View Post

    I've just messaged a client on elance saying that I want either more money, or I don't want to do the work I agreed to last night.

    I've just had a look at the project again and he wants me to write several articles on garage doors. I.e the mechanical aspects, best types, colours etc. He wants 7x 500 word articles in fact. By the end of the day. He's paying $3 an article, which after elance fees works out at like $2.80.

    Am I being unreasonable, or is this just a bit too specialised for a blog/article writer?
    Writing unique articles by hand are never usually worth the effort. You would spend around 20 minutes writing the actual article and another 5-10 minutes looking through it for improvements and spelling errors. So 30 minutes for an article and 2 in an hour which works out at $5.60(£3.65) an hour. Since you reside in the UK the minimum wage is £6.31 per hour, although this is not a proper job, even doing this part time isn't at all worth it. You may as well go to job center to find a proper job, even paying income tax is worth this low slave rate.

    What you should be doing instead is looking into money making methods such as email marketing and using other people who would accept these rates to further your own gain!
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    • Profile picture of the author 06blawton
      Originally Posted by DFTskillz View Post

      Writing unique articles by hand are never usually worth the effort. You would spend around 20 minutes writing the actual article and another 5-10 minutes looking through it for improvements and spelling errors. So 30 minutes for an article and 2 in an hour which works out at $5.60(£3.65) an hour. Since you reside in the UK the minimum wage is £6.31 per hour, although this is not a proper job, even doing this part time isn't at all worth it. You may as well go to job center to find a proper job, even paying income tax is worth this low slave rate.

      What you should be doing instead is looking into money making methods such as email marketing and using other people who would accept these rates to further your own gain!
      That's exactly what I'm doing! I'm just writing articles for a bit of 'quick' cash while things get up and running
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonBennet
    If you are giving him good quality works, I don't feel that you are being unreasonable. In fact I feel that you should increase your price so that you will be able to price out those cheapo customers who are looking for $10 worth of values but only willing to pay $1 for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinChapman
    Unfortunately you've agreed to do it now so I'd just get on with it if I were you, just remember for next time that you need to up your prices.

    See it as a lesson learned!
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  • Profile picture of the author johotara
    It was not your fault the post didn't have full details of what he needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author mediamarket
    In the end its your decision, changing your mind it happens.
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  • Profile picture of the author arkina
    It's not unreasonable. That is a ridiculously small amount of money. That being said, for me personally, I would probably just do them and make sure to not make the same mistake again. I, too, make the mistake often of thinking I can just bang something out and it's no biggie, only later to realize I am making about $1-$2 per hour for my work. But if I agree to it I do it because I said I would. Not sure if that is the right thing to do or if it is self sabotage but that's just me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    On a completely different note: even though clients send you requests for articles with lots of specifics -- doesn't mean it's always best to use them all. Not if the articles are for the end user.

    If I were writing about garage doors I'd talk about what a relief it was to have a garage door that lifts easily and quietly, about how nice it makes the house look to get rid of the shabby, tacky garage door and replace it with a new one in a color that coordinates nicely with the house.

    The specifics and mechanics would only be mentioned to support how it helps the customer. I say that because some of the information I received on my first articles was overwhelming -- but the truth is -- it would have been overwhelming to the reader, as well. This obviously isn't the case if you're writing for engineers, etc. But most homeowners want to hear that the garage doors will work well, look great, and last a long time.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author Gordon Mak
    Hello OP, with all of the above, it's whatever you want it to be. If you think you are being unreasonable then you are, if not, then you're not. If you can add value to your client then maybe you wouldn't be arguing about the price - what is certain, is the value of this experience certainly won't be forgotten. Only you know whether this task [event] is congruent with your beliefs - do what you have to do, learn from it, move on and be more wise the next time round. I'm sure that your integrity is much more important and valuable that a Fist full of Dollars! Good Luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Geri Richmond
    Hi,
    I totally agree with Rose. Good advice!
    Geri Richmond
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  • Profile picture of the author muffty
    I think It's very unreasonable of your Client to expect you to write those articles for that very small amount of money!

    Raise your Prices asap and don't ok any more requests until you are Compos Mentis!
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      The pattern I mentioned earlier continues.
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      • Profile picture of the author Doug Wakefield
        I'm going to introduce two concepts for you.

        Concept 1) Learn the specifics BEFORE agreeing to ANYTHING. If you agree to a vague contract, you deserve what you get.

        Concept 2) Price yourself at a price point where you can still make a good living wage while including research. I don't see $3 an article covering that bill. Each article, by nature, should be at a price point that allows you to make a living wage that includes:

        Research time - If you have to learn about the topic in order to write about it, you should be paid for it. This may be a little less of an issue if you are writing a lot of content on one subject, but is very important for those single orders.

        Writing Time - Most writers seem to think this is the only way you get paid. While your money is tied to your ability to string words together, it is only one small part of the entire equation.

        Editing Time - You should never deliver something unpolished to a client. You should also get paid to ensure this.

        Marketing Time - You also need to make enough money to cover the time you need to spend picking up new clients. This is true regardless of whether you are booked or not. If it hasn't happened already, expect to have many (MANY) dry spells.

        Billing Time - You should also make enough money that you are also getting paid to make sure you get paid.

        While, ultimately, your pay is tied directly to your writing, you should ensure that you make enough money writing to cover your need to handle the other tasks important to the writing process.

        Many are pointing out that it is unreasonable for the client to pay that much, but it is fully reasonable to expect to pay that much when someone agrees to take the job over at that price.

        Also, instead of agreeing to a long term contract like you mentioned, break them down. It is very silly to agree to a long term project that has an undefined end point. You should know precisely when the job starts, and how it ends.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketmongoose
    This is a one-sided deal you got here. This is the worst case scenario that a writer would be in to think you are not fond of the things you write for the the number of words he require is no joke.

    But since you agreed to do this, might as well accomplish it and learn from this experience.


    Next time, evaluate yourself and put a price on your work (justifiable of course).
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