By Lori Widmer
I believe that writers have an intrinsic value to bring to the marketplace. Sadly, not many of us are steadfast in that belief. That’s why I’ve spent the last three years dedicating one day in May as Writers Worth Day, a time for writers to realize their worth and to inspire each other to build a career based on realistic earnings goals and expectations.
That includes choosing work that pays wages equal to what you’d receive if you were marketing to a company. If you take a look at some of these job offerings, you’ll see payment that’s far beneath even minimum wage. Worse, there are many of these jobs appearing in any given day on the Internet. Writers are too tempted to throw up their hands and say “I can’t find anything else!” and apply despite knowing better. Don’t press Send yet, kids.
We as writers have to turn this idea on its ear. Just because there are tons of lousy job offers out there does not mean we must apply. In fact, I’d rather you think like this: These are not jobs for writers. In fact, they’re not. Just because it requires writing 50 articles a week doesn’t mean it’s a writing job. Let’s put it into perspective – if you were hired to sort mail for a client, would that make you a postal worker? If you were hired to sell burgers out of a van, would that make you a chef? Put the job into perspective. Any job that pays you less than your own hourly rate, and especially those that pay less than minimum wage, are not writing jobs. They’re scams designed to get you to hand over something for nothing.
As writers, we are business owners. We set our rates for the services we provide. Do other service providers allow dictation of their rates from their clients? Clients do have budgets and often your rates won’t fall within their budgets. Fine, but any client who expects you to drop those rates to suit their needs is out of touch. You’d no sooner do that than they’d increase their writing budget, right?
So today, writers, make the choice to determine your own rates and defend them. That doesn’t mean you should get pulled into arguments with clients over why you deserve to be paid that. Your rate is your rate is your rate – you have no reason to justify to anyone. If they don’t like your rate, they’re free to choose another writer. Don’t let that sway you. Any client who doesn’t value your skills enough to pay your rate isn’t your client.
Writers, when was the last time you turned down a job based on the price?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu