A disturbing trend in today’s freelance market is writers who do not look beyond the first glance at a project. One of the hottest topics circulating at any given time is regarding rates, and how they are “too low”, according to some of the so-called professionals. Unfortunately, many of these individuals fail to take into consideration the overall picture as a whole.
The ability to look at a project and study it from all angles is a gift, and one that not all of us are blessed with naturally. Luckily, learning how to approach things analytically is a trained skill that simply requires a little bit of practice before it becomes a routine that will transform your earnings from mediocre to downright amazing.
At first glance, places like eHow, Pure Content, Demand Studios, and (insert random content mill here) might appear to be low-paying markets. Content sites often pay either residually or they pay up-front fees that many writers who have been in the industry for awhile tend to sneer down their noses at and label with terms such as “low paying”. But once you go beyond the surface scan the math proves there is a veritable gold-mine of wealth just waiting for you to claim.
I owned and operated a ceramic tile and natural stone company specializing in high-end residential projects in Colorado prior to becoming a freelance writer. I am a third generation craftsman and my family has literally done hundreds of millions of dollars of work across the United States over the past 70 years. One thing I was taught early on was to never, ever give a client a bid based purely upon the square footage of a project, because it is impossible to judge a project based upon the square footage alone. There are a wide variety of other factors that can become part of the equation. With remodels in particular it becomes even more critical to look at a project from every angle because it is impossible to judge at first glance what the project will entail. What’s beneath the old surface? Will you have to remove the carpet? Do you have to remove the appliances? Are the floorboards/studs rotten? Will you need to replace the sinks/baseboards/toilets/etc.? Do you have to transport trash off-site, or will the client take care of it? Can you only work at nights?
If I were to walk into a person’s house and give them a price based purely upon the square footage of the project I would be shooting myself in the foot, because it is impossible to know every aspect of the project from simply the “first glance”, regardless of your status as a veteran or newbie. In the same breath it is vitally important to look at content writing more closely, so that you can see the potential beneath it all. Things are never as simple as a “per word” or “per article” rate, as some of the so-called professionals would have you believe.
As you can see from articles like Is it possible to make $100,000 a year writing for a content site?, Driving a Porsche…from your eHow earnings, and Smart Passive Income’s eHow earnings sheet, simple mathematics that any grade school student can perform prove that places like eHow and Demand Studios can actually be extremely lucrative… if you are willing to look beyond the so-called low-paying labels attached to them by many of the “professionals” in the freelance community. No one in their right mind considers 100k a year to be a low-paying salary. In fact, many working professionals with specialized degrees don’t make that kind of money.
The art of making 100k+ a year writing content lies in understanding the market as a whole, and being able to see the entire picture laid out in front of you, rather than limiting yourself to a quick scan. Remember, the math doesn’t lie. If you stick to what you know and write within your niche, those 5/10/15 dollar articles can turn into 40/50/60 dollar per-hour jobs. Rather than limit yourself to the first-glance viewpoint, start looking at projects through a wide-angle lens. I guarantee you will find yourself pleasantly surprised when those paychecks start coming in.
T.W. Anderson is the founder of Complete Writing Solutions. In addition to providing writing services, the organization also consults with freelance writers to help them find their place in the market.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu