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Why I (Still) Publish Low Paying Freelance Writing Jobs

freelance writing jobsWe’ve been running into a rash of bogus freelance writing jobs listings by: http://www.realwritingjobs.com/ Go ahead, take a look so you know what they look like  but don’t you dare sign up… they will charge you money and the gigs you get are, by most reports, not worth it. For the most part, the real jobs there are low pay even though their ads, which are misleading because they don’t spell out pay is required, promise high pay.

If you want to know how to set and increase your fees, I give you some pretty specific suggestions.

That said, why, in my free freelance writing job listings, do I continue to list low paying writing gigs? Simply put, it’s not up to me how much pay you are willing to work for.

I realized this years ago when the article farms or content mills were just getting started. I got on my high horse and announced I wouldn’t publish any jobs that offered less than $10 an article.

It wasn’t long before someone responded telling me how much the $2 and $3 articles had meant to her family. I never knew the whole story, but I gathered she was able to bang these out in a hurry and those payments made a huge positive difference to her and her family. I was humbled. I hope I wrote back and suggested that she begin to submit queries to higher paying magazines.

I realized a several of things from that email:

  1. It’s simply not up to me to decide what jobs you should apply for an which ones you shouldn’t. If writing a bunch of $2 and $3 articles solves a problem for you, go for it. On the other hand, it’s impossible to build a well paying writing job, at least in the United States, at those rates. A surprising number of readers are from outside the U.S.
  2. Low pay is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve run into posts apologizing for not paying more than $250 for an article – not often, but it happens.
  3. The low paying gigs can give  new writers the short handful of credits they need to begin to create a good freelance writing resume. Receiving even a few bucks can boost a new writer’s sense that freelance writing can become a viable career.
  4. Low paying gigs don’t depress the writing market. I see this complaint a lot, but it isn’t true. It’s not that long ago that the web didn’t even exist. There are far more writing jobs today available than ever before. True, it sometimes seems as if the really low paying ones are in the majority, and they probably are. That doesn’t mean, however, that good paying jobs aren’t out there, and I believe there are more of those than ever before. Sure, magazine writing isn’t what it once was, but corporate writing has expanded by leaps and bounds, and not just copy writing – everything corporate. Newspapers are loosing ground all the time, but news is still being covered and there is money out there for it – you just have to be clever and persistent.

If you follow this site with any regularity you know I’m much more likely to encourage you to charge more for your writing than to suggest you take low paying gigs. You’ll also realize I trust you to be the expert on your own life. That includes trusting you to know which jobs you want to apply for and to ignore the rest, even when you’ve bamboozled into clicking on a link that essentially lies to you.

So, do you understand now why I post low paying writing gigs? What do you think?


Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • I’m in the throes of becoming a freelance copywriter. I’ve landed a freelance contract that pays a very nice hourly wage. (Not what Carol Tice is getting paid, however!)

    But when other job opportunities ask my hourly wage (even though I try and encourage them to think ‘pay per project’ instead of hourly) and I quote the price I’m getting from the one job, I never get hired. Sigh.
    Nina Lewis recently posted..WelcomeMy Profile

    • Thanks Nina… great website you’ve got, btw. 😉

  • I love the low paying ones that pay weekly. I have clients where I make $100+ for a 400-500 word article but what do I do when they do have much work for me? I bite the bullet and turn out some of the lower paying ones so I can keep my steady flow of income coming in. Money is money at any amount and it does add up quite nicely when I get the articles I can turn out at a fast rate.

    • Lady, you’re a perfect example of why I continue to post low paying gigs… thanks.

  • I want to write for few bucks too. I hope someday I will be paid more.

    • Hi, impressed with the way you’ve pulled my ads and others in… can you tell me how you do that? Seems a great way to do it. I’m assuming I get a page view when someone clicks because it goes right to my page. Nifty.

  • I think everybody’s gotta start somewhere. And you’re right about talking to a global audience — I find that increasingly one of my biggest referrers on my site is Google Translate! It’s clear that writers around the globe are looking to figure out the freelance writing world and how to earn.
    I actually did a post recently on how to earn more if English isn’t your first language, after having two different people ask me about it in the same week.
    Good pay is definitely relative. I’ve seen comments from people who are appalled that anyone would ever get $500 for an article because they think it’s impossible that an article could ever be worth that much. Since I’m filing a $2,000 article this week I obviously disagree…but just another illustration of how pay is in the eye of the beholder.
    I don’t look on these low-pay job boards any more…and for anyone who’s wondering how to move up, here’s the answer: Just stop looking at them!
    Now you have some free time. You can find other ways to market your writing with that time…ways that will probably lead to better pay.
    Carol Tice recently posted..12 Steps That Make Blogging Clients Think You’re a GeniusMy Profile

    • Yes, I love seeing my site in other languages… and yes, if you don’t like low paying gigs don’t look at them… seems obvious, but…

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