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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

So. how much are we worth?
Approched by a company to write 2-3 times/month

 8:04 am on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Impressed with some articles I've written on similar topics, mostly of a technical nature, I've been approached by a company overseas asking me if I'd be interested in writing 2-3 times per month about updates to their product.

This morning, I received a sample of what I was to rewrite and it basically has to be completely rewritten from scratch. The grammar is horrible and the technical details are also off.

I'm considering taking up this freelance job, but when asked how much I expect for the job, I'm really at a loss. I'm a native anglophone with an MSc from a well-known North American university and have years of experience and expertise in this field.

I'm under the impression that this company is not interested in hiring somebody from India who churns out 1000-word rubbish for $5.

What am *I* worth for writing 1000-1500 word articles?

* meta desc. typo: "Approched" missing a letter



 11:30 am on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Personally I think all this going rate/what's it worth stuff is too generalised.

you need to work out how much time it would take you and how much money you want to earn (based on the costs of your lifestyle) for that time ... if they really like your work they will pay, if they don't want to pay that amount, then it isn't worth your while anyway ... it doesn't matter what other people get paid.


 11:39 am on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can get reasonable non-tech articles written by a native English speaker for about $10/article.

I know professional reporters in my niche that won't write an article for <$1000, perhaps more. They write for newspapers and magazines. They are subject matter experts, but also know how to write.

I know some of the bloggers in my niche have gone mainstream and are writing for the online sites of big media. They get paid in the range of $300-$500 per article. They admit to being underpaid, they're building their career.


 8:29 pm on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't underestimate your work and your effort. How much takes you to write an article? You can ask for 10$ / hour.


 9:10 pm on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

$10/hour? It's illegal in my country to pay that little :).


 11:26 pm on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with wheel. I included my education in my OP for a reason. I was originally thinking $90-$150 per write-up, but after thinking about it, $50-$75 might be more competitive. This is a company that originates from a country probably produces $100 Nike shoes at a cost of $1.50-a-pair (or less).

As I said before, the piece they sent me has to be completely rewritten while making it catchy to an English-language audience.


 1:21 am on Dec 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Your time is valued at your labor and experience/expertise vs what you actually make while doing other things. One can take ordinary labor rates and make estimates, then again, you don't hire a comic book artist to do the blueprints for a high rise building. One also needs to look at current market rates for QUALITY work. Webmasters are a notoriously cheap set of buyers... their margins are so thin they want Rembrandt for street artist prices. Whatever you decide, you'll be stuck with that price for at least a year... so keep that in mind before signing any contract.


 1:39 am on Dec 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tangor's points are bang on.

what you actually make while doing other things.

That's what happens with higher priced, more experienced people. You want me to do what? But I can make more money in my pajamas at home. And I can make even more money than that if I'm not in my pajamas. You have to offer more than what I'm making doing other stuff.

But the luxury of that only comes after time. In the meantime you have to balance not playing the pricing game (which is a losing game longterm) and doing whatever it takes to bring in the bacon.


 1:44 am on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

wheel and tangor have it on the nose,
1. Don't sell yourself short. If they want YOU, they WANT you.
2. if they have a choice and you're cold-calling, or if you're just starting out in a new career and are the unknown then that's a different matter.

Think of other market areas, and how you feel towards the buying or purchasing of an item. Prepared to pay a little more because you really really want that one? Or, are you prepared to wait or haggle to get the best price knowing there’s a possibility that you may miss out on that one because another buyer comes on the scene.
Turn it around, would you sell your precious much loved item for less to the first buyer, or are you stubborn and will only sell for the asking price (if not more).
And then there's buying and selling amongst your friends, just how much do you like them! And how much do you want their friendship afterwards!

Whether its pajamas or pyjamas, the relationship must be fair. With respect, each must listen to the other. Are you a just slave or are you a liberated person?
Take the Nike example; will your $1.50 return fulfil your needs? Are you entrepreneurial enough to seek a bigger stake in your client’s profits? After all your efforts are going to make your client richer. You have to decide in the end.

One last comment about selling yourself short; If you end up doing that, it depreciates the value of everyone else’s work. Next time you may get less.

You must also be consistent, you either have value or not. Offering a cheap price just to get a foot in the door does not work, in fact I would say it would have a negative effect, your client will become nervous about asking you to do things because they cannot 'grow' that gut feeling they need to price a job in advance of you seeing it.

My first answer to their enquiry would be "how much is it worth?” that way you know what sort of ball park you and they are playing in, and then go with your gut. Approaching it from the other way around, i.e. tendering the lowest price will leave you feeling like a slave, unappreciated and totally used when you find out they were actually prepared to pay you double your asking price ~ had you just asked!


 7:45 pm on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

What value do you bring to the client?

You have to figure out how much money they will be able to make off of YOUR services to them. Then you figure out a reasonable percentage to charge.

If they will be able to make / save a lot of money from your services, then you can charge them more.

Think about a landlord for a building with a storefront in it.

what he charges in rent has little relationship to what he or she may have paid for the building, or how much it cost them to go to university when they were younger.

What they charge for rent is based mostly on what they expect the TENANT of the building to be able to generate by being at that location.

If the building is in a location that is going to help the tenant generate more sales, then the landlord can charge more money.


Same thing for residential housing / apartments: If you live in a place that is close to good job opportunities, the landlord will charge more. If the place is far away from good job opportunities, the landlord will charge less.


 7:53 pm on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

You must also be consistent, you either have value or not. Offering a cheap price just to get a foot in the door does not work, in fact I would say it would have a negative effect, your client will become nervous about asking you to do things because they cannot 'grow' that gut feeling they need to price a job in advance of you seeing it.

I think if you make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that you are doing it at a discounted price as a ONE TIME OFFER so they can take a low-risk chance, and that you make it known that your normal rate is much higher, then it might be ok.

But you would have to make it know that your normal rates are much higher, and that this is just a special, one-time offer. You have to also be confident that you are well worth your normal, higher-priced rate, and that your value can be seen clearly when they receive your work.

Lawyers will do pro-bono work to get their name out there for publicity. they still charge their regular clients top dollar.

When I was a freelance journalist, I charged more than others. I also spent A LOT MORE TIME editing my own work. The editors would choose me because they knew they only had to spend five to 10 minutes on one of my articles instead of having to have it rewritten by a copywriter and then having to re-edit it themselves.

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