I've been raising my rates, but I'm still not in the “big money” range as a professional blogger. Here's why I don't have high paying freelance jobs.
As I look forward to the rest of my year, I've been thinking about how I want things to fall out, including having time to work on some of my own projects. On top of that, I was recently asked why I don't get paid as much as some of the other freelance writers out there. (Yes, even though some of you think I'm “expensive,” I'm actually not very high up on the pay totem pole.)
This got me thinking. Am I being paid what I'm worth? And why am I not making as much as some of the other professional bloggers out there?
As I pondered the reality of my situation, I came up with two reasons. They are really confessions as to certain defects of my personality, and the way I run my freelancing home business.
I'm Too Lazy to Look for High Paying Freelance Jobs
Why am I “stuck” making about half of what some of my counterparts make? Part of it is due to the fact that I'm too lazy to actively look for freelance work. Instead, I take on new clients as they come to me.
It's true that I haven't had to look for freelance work in years. Many aspiring freelance writers and professional bloggers envy me for this reason. However, the downside to my situation is that I'm only getting offers from those who might not be willing to pay as much for my services.
This reality really hit home for me as I saw opportunities from a client on Contently. This client expects me to submit ideas for review. Submitting an idea or two a month isn't much work. But I've been a little lazy about it, and I haven't carved out the time. However, one post for this client pays five times what I get for my highest quoted rate.
I could find high paying freelance jobs as a professional blogger. My buddy Steve from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com told me that I should be charging more, and he pointed out that the demand is clearly there — especially when I consider that he's just approved a raise for one of his writers.
I've become too complacent, and I've lost my hustle. I used to hustle a lot. Now I'm barely getting off my ass.
I'm Scared to Raise Rates on My Oldest Clients
Another issue I have is that I'm scared to raise rates on my oldest clients. Some of them have offered raises through the years, which makes it easier. However, others have not. These clients are dragging down my average pay rate. It makes it hard, too, that I have met many of these clients and I like them.
Clearly, for some of the oldest clients, I can't suddenly raise rates dramatically to the current going rate. That just isn't practical. But I do need to grab a gut and look for a way to step up the rate. It's about time to ask for a raise as a freelancer, and I need to stop being such a chicken.
So what if a couple of them drop me? Just one post for the super-high-paying client could replace everything I do for one of my clients for an entire month. So why am I not investing more time in doing more work for these higher clients? Is it loyalty? Or am I just too scared of what happens to the cash flow if I move away from the comfort of the regular, reliable gigs and focus more on scoring more occasional high-paying gigs?
As a professional blogger, you have to make choices about where to use your time, and which opportunities to cultivate. You also have to know when it's time to move on. I've been pretty bad at focusing on higher paying opportunities, and it needs to stop.
Otherwise, I'll be stressed and burned out, again, in a very short period of time.
What about you? Why aren't you making more money as a professional blogger or freelance writer?
0 thoughts on “Confessions of a Professional Blogger: Why I Don’t Have High Paying Freelance Jobs”
Seems like you have good considerations of pros and cons, and awareness of the effects of raising rates. Freelance negotiation is tricky business! Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
I can see how being friends with some of your clients would make it difficult to ask for a raise. It’s not easy to compartmentalize the business side from the social side.
I’m thinking of getting into freelancing to get my name out there more and open up another stream of revenue and I’m not even sure where to start out in terms of rates. It seems like going rates are all over the map. Do you charge based on article length? I know you write A LOT of articles!
Yes, I charge, to some extent, based on article length. And rates really are all over the map. What’s really hard is competing with the writers that will provide a 500-word post for peanuts. You pretty much have to find a rate that works for you, and go with it. If clients like what you do, you’ll find people willing to pay your rate.
Great advice. Definitely not looking to compete in the $5 article range.
Liking people is great, but you should be paid what you are worth. I have a hard time increasing my rates for things too, but it has to be done when you are being paid under market average for work that is just as good.
It’s definitely a tricky situation. I think you will ultimately need to find a balance between looking for higher paying jobs and satisfying your existing commitments. Perhaps you can just gracefully stop writing for some of the lower paying employers, instead of asking for a raise and focus your time and energy elsewhere.
Ask yourself this: if the people you are so loyal to were to find someone who could do the same job and quality as you for half the price, would they? Would you expect them to?
I respect loyalty a lot. But it must be a two way street.
Great point! The good news is that I THINK that most of them would still stick with me 🙂
Interesting blog post. It would appear that you need to balance your sense of personal self-worth and what the market determines as your financial worth. These are not the same things. You may want to experiment with a couple of clients in raising your rates to see actually what happens. This experiment may give you more information of your market place worth. Setting my hourly rate as a tax attorney is the same sort of thing so I know how difficult and “taxing” (excuse the pun) it can be when confronted with this choice.
Miranda: Thanks for being so open with your thoughts regarding the tricky issue of putting a price on your work. Have you read No, You Can’t Pick My Brain, It Costs Too Much by Adrienne D. Graham?
I haven’t. It looks like an interesting read. I will definitely add it to my queue. Thanks for the tip! 🙂
I’m struggling with this a bit now, too, and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I like writing for certain clients, even if they aren’t my most profitable options. But it’s now getting to the point where it’s dragging my business down.
Essentially I’m forced to prioritize lower-paying work just to meet deadlines and put off higher-paying stuff that pays twice as much! That’s an awful way to do business, so I’ll be making changes soon.
In terms of competing with other writers who write for peanuts: just don’t. Anyone who treats writing as a commodity and doesn’t value me for the talent I bring likely won’t pay well and isn’t a client I want to take on.
That is one of the challenges! You want to do some of the higher-paying gigs, but ou have to put it off so that you can meet your lower-paying obligations. It is tough. One of my issues is that I’m worried about giving up the stability of the lower-paying jobs for the uncertainty of the higher-paying jobs. When you rely on the regular gigs to feed your family, it’s scary to step out there.