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No One Can Undercut You

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I just dropped a Linkedin discussion thread because it was filled with woe-is-me complaints about how experienced writers were getting undercut by newcomers who were willing to write for $3 an article.

Before I quit I did suggest in a couple of posts that said:

Both statements are true, but the real problem that group pointed to is the fact that each of us really is responsible for our own success, or lack of it. The writer who started the thread was proclaiming loudly that it was someone else’s fault that she was being forced out of the business. While I don’t deny her feelings of desperation, or that she really believes that’s what’s happening, I reject her notions – not her, you understand, but her premise there is someone outside of herself to blame.

If I’d had a chance to have a cup of coffee with her, this is what I would have done and said:

First, I would have just listened, deeply so I was in touch with her fear and pain.

I would have acknowledged her fear and pain and then asked her if she wanted some suggestions. I know that not everyone wants a solution to their problem. I don’t understand that, but it seems to be true.

If she wanted my suggestions I would have done something like this:

  • Determined what kind of writing she wanted to do.
  • Determined where she had been looking for writing gigs.
  • Shared with her the way I would approach the search so she could see there are a variety of possibilites.
  • Emphasized she gets to set her own rates and that she doesn’t have to compromise – at least not much.

No one can undercut you except you. Oh sure, you may bid on a piece of writing and lose the work to someone who is willing to do it for less.

When that happens I figure it’s for the best, and move on to find other writing work. No one can force me to take less. No one keeps me from changing the kind of writing and marketing I’m doing so I earn more.

The only times I’m tempted to worry about what you charge is when I’m feeling less than confident in myself – and that’s something I need to fix.

Self-worth problems are not always easy to fix, but fix them you must if you want to be truly successful and happy at writing or anything else for that matter.

How do you see competition?


{ 12 comments… add one }
  • There are good threads there too of course.

  • I haven’t spent too much time on LinkedIn, but I’m glad I didn’t see this thread. It sounds like they were just looking for a place to complain. I hope at least some of them got it out of their system.

  • Essentially, a grudging admission from the panel I was attending that maybe it was time to stop repeating this rhetoric and focus on the realities of Internet writing opportunities.
    Benjamin Hunting recently posted..PWAC Conference in MontrealMy Profile

  • I’m good Steve. Remember the book What You Think of Me Is None Of My Business? Title says it all.

  • ahhh, here’s another who dropped that thread… good for you Nina.

  • Interesting… I’ve gotten at least two private emails from other folks also dropping that thread. Glad you challenged similar statements at the conference. What sort of feedback did you get?

  • Anne – I dropped the exact same thread on Linkedin for the exact same reasons.

    I also attended the Professional Writer’s Association of Canada’s national meeting this past weekend, and during one of the panel discussions I challenged similar statements that were made. The Internet is a phenomenal opportunity for freelance writers – not their death knell.
    Benjamin Hunting recently posted..PWAC Conference in MontrealMy Profile

  • Nina Lewis

    I think I used to belong to the same thread. I stopped because I was tired of the complaining. I was disappointed because I was hopping to connect with other freelance writers who could share ideas, experiences, and advice.

  • Hi Anne:

    How are you?

    The writer has to stop concentrating on other writers and their work and move on.

    John is correct: do more marketing.


  • Don’t know how I missed that thread in LinkedIn-although I don’t hang out with the writers as much as I do my markets.

    My favorite part, Anne, is where you say, you may bid on a piece of writing and lose the work to someone who is willing to do it for less. When that happens I figure it’s for the best…

    I couldn’t agree more. I sure underpriced my services in the beginning. It was an incredible sense of freedom the first time I walked away from a gig that paid less than my fee.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..5 Business Writing Tips Calculated by MathMy Profile

  • Thanks John… I know it’s easy to get stuck… happens to me from time-to-time, I’ve also gotten pretty good at getting unstuck.

  • Anne, I think I’ve seen that same thread on LinkedIn.

    I definitely agree with your advice. It may be that the writer needs to either upgrade her skill set, do more marketing, or consider switching to one or more new niches that pay better.
    John Soares recently posted..How Multitasking Hurts Your ProductivityMy Profile

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