When you are looking for freelance writing work, how important is the money aspect to you? Do you only apply for opportunities that pay above a certain threshold, or are there other things that go into the decision? I know that at FWJ, we only post opportunities that pay at least $10, and I think that’s fair.
Now, here at Casa Redmond, we do enjoy eating and living indoors, and that is part of why I work as a freelance writer. But it’s not just about the money. No two days are the same, and I love the fact that I am constantly learning in my job. I also get to work with some really great people.
I admit that I tend to evaluate new assignments and whether to say “Yes” based on other factors than how much I’m going to get paid. The money does matter, but I’ve said “Yes” to more than one assignment because the work would let me add something new to my resume, because it sounded like something that would be fun, or because I like the client and wanted to continue working with them. I’ve even agreed to take something on and then asked about the money afterward, and so far none of those assignments have turned out to be bad decisions.
It seems to me that being a bit flexible is something that freelancers should be embracing, especially given the times we live in. The more types of experience we have in writing, the more opportunities we create for ourselves. You can say to a potential client, “Yes, I have experience in that area. I worked on….” and tell them about the kinds of things you have done.
As long as the rate of pay is something you can live with, how open are you to trying something new in your writing? Have you ever taken on something solely for the “fun” factor?
It’s not always the “fun” factor that makes me go off my rate schedule (which is admittedly flexible anyway). More often, there’s a do-good aspect to the decision.
I recently agreed to write for peanuts for a company that’s launching software aimed at nonprofits, to help them make their operations more efficient. The rates were low, and the company is not itself a nonprofit – but I liked the idea of applying my hard-earned knowledge of taxes to contribute to a “knowledge base” that would be used by nonprofits. I wrote for them in January, when my business is generally slow anyway. Then I got busy again, and that was that!
I also did a short freebie for a woman who is collecting stories on girl scout cookie sales. That one I did for fun.
absolutely I go for the fun – or for the opportunity. I wrote an article for CNN.com that probably paid about fifty cents an hour, so that I could link to it as a sample.
I wrote a whole play for a zoo for $50 because… I wanted to!
On the other hand, I need to make some big bucks every month, so there’s a limit to the fun-having I can squeeze in!
Money certainly is a big factor for me when agreeing to work on a project, since this is a job and I need to pay my bills – I need to feel that I’m being paid fairly for my work, and not just scraping up a little check on cents to the dollar after putting in hours of work.
I also try to evaluate if I have enough experience in the project type to satisfy my client, and also if the project won’t be something so tedious and horrible that I’ll regret halfway through. I justify that by figuring that I work best when I’m having at least a little fun, right?
Absolutely. I have clients that pay me anywhere from $15 – $50 per hour. I take the lower paying jobs if they afford me something else that I find value in: name recognition; weekly, dependable, steady work and a check every 2 weeks; work in an outside-my-regular niche; work that tides me over until the next “big” project; and of course, the fun and do-gooder work. This is part of the awesomeness of being in charge of your own income – being able to make those calls that are not always about money.
Did the “fun factor” thing for seven years — not that much fun. Employers/clients know about “fun factor” and will grossly underpay or otherwise mistreat you in return.
Laura Spencer says
Money is important, certainly. It’s how we all pay the bills.
But, there are other considerations as well. There are some jobs I wouldn’t take for any amount of money. There are others that I might take simply for the experience or even because I like working with the employer.
There are many different factors to consider.
David Dittell says
Very true. We should never overlook our opportunities, and getting to a certain level of comfort even opens up what opportunities we can truly take advantage of.
In my screenwriting career, I concentrate on one particular genre so that potential employers can understand that that’s my area of experience, but I take seriously any side project that broadens my range.
Trying something new can even help to inform and strengthen your other work, so it’s definitely worth a try.