You do NOT need to Undersell Yourself as a Writer!

10 replies
There are many webmaster forums where so called "experts" give the advice that anyone in the writing business would be best off offering their services on odesk, freelancer...or my "favorite" fiverr.

It is true that on those places (which I avoid like the plague, by the way) there are many "low quality" writers who write those typical $3 articles, but those "articles" are often not worth more than that. But the astonishing thing here is that even good writers are often finding themselves on those places as if there wouldn't be better alternatives out there. (Hint: Content mills are NOT the better alternative)..possibly because of a lack of information or maybe even desperation. (Because writing an article for $5 or $10 is still better than being broke, right?)


I came across several blog posts where writers are making on occasion up to $5000/month and where people get paid $300 for writing good, well researched blog posts.

What did those people do? Most of them admittedly at one point started at the usual places (content mills etc.) where they got paid maybe $10-$15 or so for their articles but then quickly realized that this is not it.

They contacted established, high-traffic blogs and review sites. They convinced them about the quality of their writing. They got hired as writers and are now getting on avg. $200-$300 for each blog post. Often being active on social media and getting "the word out" about the quality of your writing can help also: Get your name out there!

I just want to post this since I am sooooo sick of reading on multiple webmaster blogs as if Odesk or fiverr would be the only places for writers to find work. Do you seriously believe this? Use your time BETTER and don't waste it on those places, especially if you know you're a good writer. In the same time where you are writing your $5 articles you could contact webmasters and blogs and make writing your real job as opposed to selling "gigs" on fiverr. Just my $0.02
#undersell #writer
  • Profile picture of the author Chriswrighto
    It's true. Online sites are terrible for the high quality writer. The market is flooded with individuals all trying to undercut each other. When one person under cuts is damages the market for the rest of us.

    Although they are a great place to start, you can get clips, experience, etc as long as you are willing to put in the time. I personally never worked for content mills, however I have offered my services cheap in order to build a reputation.

    I would also recommend building your portfolio writing for companies you love, such as your local coffee shop or a charity. As well as searching out guest blogs.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author taxpayment1
    George,

    Thank you for that Inspiring post. So many people always sell themselves short and never really know how much they truly can achieve with what they already maintain. People should never give up on themselves and always keep moving forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author Horny Devil
    Banned
    Good post, but this is where the problem lies . . .

    Originally Posted by GeorgR. View Post

    Use your time BETTER and don't waste it on those places, especially if you know you're a good writer.
    Most writers believe their own hype. They're not really good writers at all, usually lying somewhere in between poor and average. Then there are the mediocre.

    Writing has been portrayed as a viable IM career, and by all outward appearances to many, seems to be one of the easiest IM disciplines to venture into. It's actually one of the hardest.

    What never ceases to amaze me is the sheer number of wannabe writers who believe they have what it takes. Most don't.

    Then there are the masses who extol such sites as Fivrr.

    A truly quality writer will always be in demand and will receive what he/she is worth. If you don't receive what you're worth then you're either not a quality writer, or just plain dumb.

    Of course an exceptional writer never has these problems, as they're far too busy making the very most of their talent on projects of their own . . . and not lining someone else's pockets with the fruits of their labour.
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    • Profile picture of the author djtrillian
      Originally Posted by Horny Devil View Post

      A truly quality writer will always be in demand and will receive what he/she is worth. If you don't receive what you're worth then you're either not a quality writer, or just plain dumb.

      Of course an exceptional writer never has these problems, as they're far too busy making the very most of their talent on projects of their own . . . and not lining someone else's pockets with the fruits of their labour.

      Weeeell, it's not like just being a truly good writer is going to cause the world to beat a path to your door. If you compare it to other creative fields, there are brilliant artists, musicians etc. who never see a dime for their talents and it doesn't mean they were not talented.

      I know I can write, this I know. Do I know how to go out and get a decent paying gig writing? 'haven't got a clue, but I'm curious because it seems to be something of a catch-22 because on the one hand you have people, like yourself, essentially saying that good writing is scarce (which would logically make it valueable) and on the other hand, as the OP laments, it seems no one wants to pay decent money for writing work.

      (BTW - since this is not in the copywriting forum I am assume we're talking about other types of writing and excluding ad copy, which is really a completely different thing.)
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      • Profile picture of the author Horny Devil
        Banned
        Originally Posted by djtrillian View Post

        Weeeell, it's not like just being a truly good writer is going to cause the world to beat a path to your door. If you compare it to other creative fields, there are brilliant artists, musicians etc. who never see a dime for their talents and it doesn't mean they were not talented.
        Yes it is. Word of true talent spreads a lot more quickly than you think. I know of people who've been headhunted because of a few articles they wrote which grabbed the attention so much.

        The whole point is, if you're creative enough to churn out consistent top quality work then you should be creative enough to know exactly where to market yourself.

        Anyone, in any creative field, has to learn where to market themselves. It's not rocket science. If your work is good enough you'll get the business, at a fair price.

        So, by your way of thinking, a brilliant plumber could go without work. That's a ludicrous statement. Word of mouth soon spreads, and the writing industry being what it is, this is quickly picked up by those who are desperate to hire the very best.


        Originally Posted by djtrillian View Post

        I know I can write, this I know. Do I know how to go out and get a decent paying gig writing? 'haven't got a clue, but I'm curious because it seems to be something of a catch-22 because on the one hand you have people, like yourself, essentially saying that good writing is scarce (which would logically make it valueable) and on the other hand, as the OP laments, it seems no one wants to pay decent money for writing work.
        Maybe you fall into the category of those who think they can write. What you think and what a potential employer thinks are two entirely different things.

        Good writing is scarce, and that's because the cream of the crop are so busy with contracts, or writing for themselves, that there are many opportunities for genuine top quality writers.

        I can think of at least 30 high profile, mega traffic blogs where they are literally begging for quality articles. I can also think of hundreds more that consistently require something a little different from really accomplished writers.It's pretty simple - you use the blog links to get traffic to your site. That's really all there is to it. If you're that desperate drop me a PM.

        All I can say is that you haven't done your homework and researched the marketplace thoroughly. Why breed cattle if you've nowhere to sell them.

        Originally Posted by djtrillian View Post

        (BTW - since this is not in the copywriting forum I am assume we're talking about other types of writing and excluding ad copy, which is really a completely different thing.)
        It's about article writing in general, which is as hard a skill to master as the very best copywriting. Imagination, flair, foresight, and uniqueness are skills inherent in both disciplines if you want to be the best.
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        • Profile picture of the author djtrillian
          Originally Posted by Horny Devil View Post


          So, by your way of thinking, a brilliant plumber could go without work. That's a ludicrous statement. Word of mouth soon spreads, and the writing industry being what it is, this is quickly picked up by those who are desperate to hire the very best.
          LOL, my analogy was with creative fields like art and music that are notoriously competitive. Maybe it's not a valid comparison, but dooood a plumber! :-)

          Just to clarify, no I have never even tried to find clients to write for, but my point was that creative people are NOT necessarily talented promoters of their work. Art and business are often lightyears apart. That was the crux of my analogy about other creative fields. It is very inaccurate to make a sweeping statement that IF someone is truly a good writer it then follows they will get all this work, and that if they're not getting tons of work then it can only be because they're just not good enough, that's all I'm saying.

          I'm not 'desperate' but I will send you a PM :-)
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        • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
          Originally Posted by Horny Devil View Post

          Yes it is. Word of true talent spreads a lot more quickly than you think. I know of people who've been headhunted because of a few articles they wrote which grabbed the attention so much.

          The whole point is, if you're creative enough to churn out consistent top quality work then you should be creative enough to know exactly where to market yourself.

          Anyone, in any creative field, has to learn where to market themselves. It's not rocket science. If your work is good enough you'll get the business, at a fair price.

          So, by your way of thinking, a brilliant plumber could go without work. That's a ludicrous statement. Word of mouth soon spreads, and the writing industry being what it is, this is quickly picked up by those who are desperate to hire the very best.




          Maybe you fall into the category of those who think they can write. What you think and what a potential employer thinks are two entirely different things.

          Good writing is scarce, and that's because the cream of the crop are so busy with contracts, or writing for themselves, that there are many opportunities for genuine top quality writers.

          I can think of at least 30 high profile, mega traffic blogs where they are literally begging for quality articles. I can also think of hundreds more that consistently require something a little different from really accomplished writers.It's pretty simple - you use the blog links to get traffic to your site. That's really all there is to it. If you're that desperate drop me a PM.

          All I can say is that you haven't done your homework and researched the marketplace thoroughly. Why breed cattle if you've nowhere to sell them.



          It's about article writing in general, which is as hard a skill to master as the very best copywriting. Imagination, flair, foresight, and uniqueness are skills inherent in both disciplines if you want to be the best.
          I usually agree with you...but I'm going to take a second to explain why I disagree here.

          For freelance writers, the internet is a big place. Wild, savage, and untamed. It's an internet Serengeti where good writers can quickly be consumed by starving to death or drinking from the poisoned watering holes of low paying work.

          I've publicly stated (here and on my blog) that I started out on probably the harshest of these environments, Odesk. Where you can literally go 100 job postings without seeing an offer of above a penny a word.

          Writers who get stuck here often lose their way. The vast majority of clients here have micro budgets where $5 for a 500 word post is a luxury, and where $1 extra counts as a legitimate "bonus" for good work.

          Granted, the majority of the writers here are absolutely crap. BUT there are many decent writers who simply stay in these low paying watering holes, hoping and praying for that angel client that will pay them *gasp* 5 cents per word.

          If you stay in these places, you'll either die, or begin to churn out crap content yourself.

          Good word of mouth here only means that you get more referrals to other, low paying clients. So even if you are doing a great job, you only move from one low paying client to another.

          I really do think the key is understanding how to market yourself well! This includes doing this like you mentioned - like guest posting on high traffic blogs.
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  • You are, of course, right about almost everything here. I'll disagree about avoiding oDesk & eLance, however. I find clients on those sites that pay me $50-120 per post (occasionally more). It is a hassle to weed through the low paying jobs, but once you start to get a feel for what the good jobs look like, it doesn't take much time.

    Thanks for posting!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
    My feeling about this is that as a freelance writer there is no right or wrong way to go about it. The OP is correct that it is possible to make great money for writing content.

    However, when the bills need to be paid and you don't have a good paying gig lined up, go where the work is. I don't personally turn my nose down at any market that provides money in exchange for content. Freelance writing is very volatile. I like to say that it is "feast or famine."

    You could be sitting cozy and making good money one day. The next, your clients disappear and you are scrambling to make up those lost earnings.

    Many freelancers, including myself, do filler work in between the steady gigs. Flexibility is key to survival.

    It's nice if some writers are fortunate to have only highly paid gigs. However, one day they too might find themselves without these clients. So, never feel too cozy.

    I do think that freelance writers should not get stuck at only doing lower paying jobs. This comes down to having the confidence to seek out higher paying clients. However, these clients are harder to find. So, you have to be willing to market your services.

    I'm pretty lazy about the marketing bit. Sure, I love getting $30 - $50 per page.

    But...

    I really don't have the passion for freelance writing that others have. That is why I do filler work. This is my choice. I work both ends of the client spectrum.

    Because of the lack of earnings stability, I highly recommend freelance writers do whatever they can to build a residual income on the side. Mine comes from Kindle and Adsense.
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