Hey, there freelancer! How is the start of your year going? Sometimes when things get off to a slow start or you just aren’t getting the clients you expected, it can get a little discouraging. In fact, the first part of this year, I have had more writers than ever contact me about needing work.
Pretty soon, you start telling yourself some lies or believing some myths about what it means to be a freelance writer. Well here are seven of them you need to bust before you get any further into the year.
Your Time is Not as Valuable as Everyone Else’s
All right, stop. Just stop. This myth is one of the most common ones that writer’s buy into. They price their work and their time too low because for some reason they don’t think their time is worth as much as everyone else’s. Here is the truth: It is probably worth more.
Why? Skilled writers are hard to find. Often companies are looking for freelancers to help fulfill their needs because their own staff is not good at writing, at all. Or they don’t have time for it. Most of the time, the reasons are a combination of both.
Yet over and over I see freelancers who work another job because they can’t make a living writing. This myth is often the reason. Resolve to value your time from this point forward.
Your Writing is Not Worth What You Charge for It
The sad thing is that you will have clients tell you this. Your writing is not worth what you charge for it. First of all, see myth number one. Your writing takes time to research, create, and revise. You deserve to get paid for that time.
Secondly, these are the same people looking to hire you because they cannot find or hire writers in house. And if you are freelancing you not only have to pay for your groceries and rent, but you need to save to pay your own taxes, your own medical insurance, and even your own benefits if you want to give yourself some.
Your writing is valuable and worth every penny you charge for it. How do I know? Because it is far more likely you are charging too little for your work rather than too much.
You’re Not as Good as You Think
Writers have the largest and most fragile egos out there. One ounce of criticism after twenty ounces of praise can still leave them devastated. So how do you build your confidence? There are a few key ways to remind yourself of how good you are.
- Look back on your accomplishments.
- Write something good just for you.
- Take on a new, challenging project.
- Read something on the internet.
Look, you might be the one writing some of those articles on the internet, but every time you think you are not good enough at what you do, go to almost any site, even some of the larger ones, and look at the articles there. Chances are, you are a better writer than most of those who are creating that content. Acknowledge and embrace your abilities.
It’s Okay to Work for Exposure
Wrong answer. Always. Yes, there is value in PR writing if you are selling one of your books, bringing visitors to your website, or promoting something else that makes you money. But writing just to have your name on an article for exposure and to gain reputation rarely works.
Think about this for just a second. You are a writer. How often do you look at the byline of the author on a news site or frankly any other website? Rarely? Think about how less frequent it is for those who are not writers.
Writing for exposure rarely works in your favor, and until grocery stores and utility companies start accepting exposure to pay your bills or buy food, leave those gigs to someone else.
Lower Rates are Okay Until Things Get Better
It may be tempting, but please don’t do this. Why? Because it devalues writing for all of us. If a client can get you to write something for a cheaper rate, it is likely they will try to offer that cheaper rate to the next writer, and the next one. Then the pay for everyone goes down.
You are not only affecting your bottom line, and again saying that your time is not worth as much as someone else’s, but you are dragging others down too and making their freelance business less lucrative. Please, please, please, other than introductory rates to lure a client (and be careful even with these) don’t offer low rates as a stop gap until things get better. If you do, it is likely they never will.
You are Stuck in Your Niche
This is yet another common myth. You are a writer, widely read, and more importantly, you have learned in your career, no matter how long it has been, to do research and learn a new topic or niche. So the answer is that you are never stuck in your niche, you can always branch out, and it is vital that you do so.
This may mean saying yes to clients when you don’t really know what you are doing yet, and learning as you go. Do it. Your career will be stronger for it.
It’s Going to Be a Tough Year for Freelance Writers
Somebody says this every year, at least once and year, and then the gig economy and the need for good writing and writers continues to grow. Pay continues to go up for those who produce real, quality work, and for those that don’t? They will eventually fail.
It’s not going to be a tough year for freelancers. It is going to be a great one, and often your attitude will be the one thing that will make a difference.
You are a freelance writer. You have a valuable skill, and your time and effort is worth money. Get paid what you are worth, don’t be discouraged, and stay positive. The gig economy just keeps getting better, and we can’t afford to let any of these myths spread. Bust them now, before any one of them can break your spirit.
Originally Published on Unbound Northwest
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