Recently, I received the following email from a fellow SEO writer. Just to give you some background, we’ve been keeping in touch for probably a year/year and a half or so now. She’s struggled to achieve some professional and personal goals, so keep this info in mind when you read my response, ok?
I hope all is well and you are enjoying the last few days of summer. I haven’t been writing for a while, because fortunately, I have been swamped with work the entire summer.
I have a question, and I am not sure if it pertains to other readers issue as well. As you know, I have been trying to increase my profits for a while now, and it’s been a struggle since my brain is like “one in a hand beats two in the bush”. So, I have been busy with the low-paying clients. At this point in my life, I really need a good coach. I invested in a few, however, they haven’t resonated with me or always wanted me to lower my rates to meet the market.
So, my … client made an offer, he wants me to do 80 blog posts a month, for get this — $500 bucks! (emphasis added) I told him that wasn’t going to cut it, of course, I said I can give it to him for $1,600, however, he came back and said $ 800.00. I understand that this is a very low price point, however, $800 is more than enough money I need to invest in a good quality coach. I remember you said, if you want to make your business grow, do whatever it takes, even if that means getting a second job.
I am not trying to think of this as 80 blog posts a month, but rather looking at it as paying for my coaching that I need. So, I am wondering, how would you handle this situation? My boyfriend says I am better off getting a job at Mcdonalds before I take on this kind of work.
I actually picked up the phone and called this freelancer, because I didn’t have time to respond via email (I’m absolutely overwhelmed with work these days). Following is what I told her . . .
If I were in her shoes, I’d accept the gig. Now before you get all riled up, let me explain. This freelancer has been struggling to build her business to the point where she can pay other writers. One of the things this requires is a financial nest egg. As I put it in this post:
This is why you have to build in a cushion; this way you have the upfront funds to pay freelancers without feeling the financial hit so acutely.
Furthermore, I would never advise anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I’ve been in this situation a few times in my career. When I lost my last full-time corporate recruiting job, I didn’t have a lot of money in the bank – and I had a big-a** mortgage staring me in the face every month, along with other bills. So, I took on a lot of low-paying jobs to not only pay off some debt, but to build an emergency fund.
For example, I had one client who paid $25 per SEO article (this was in 2007). He guaranteed me a certain amount of work over a certain amount of time if I would lower my rate to $15 for a series of blog posts he wanted for a new financial site he had kept putting off.
While I wasn’t happy with the rate, the posts were only 250 words and I knew that within 3 months, I could have the financial cushion I needed, so I accepted the gig.
How to Accept Lower-Paying SEO Writing Jobs – and Feel Good About It
I advised this freelancer to put parameters on the project, which is what I did with my client. The parameters I set were:
i) A timeline: ie, I’ll do this for three months to help you get this new site off the ground);
ii) Number of posts: We hashed out exactly how many posts per week/month that he wanted.
I advised this freelancer to see if she could get the client to agree to a lower number of articles/blog posts – for the same amount of money (eg, instead of 80, tell him you could do 50 or 60 for that amount).
iii) Word count: As I said, my client’s blog posts were only 250 words, and I stuck pretty close to this, not going over by 50 or 100 words, which can be easy to do. If you consistently “overwrite” blog posts/”SEO articles by 30, 40 or 50 words, you’re in essence giving away free content.
This freelancer should make sure that the client is clear on the word count, especially if he’s used to her giving him longer articles, even when he’s requested shorter ones.
iv) Delivery: I delivered posts to my client weekly, instead of the 2-3 days turnaround time he’d become accustomed to when he placed an order with me.
I don’t think I said this to this freelancer, but she should negotiate a longer delivery, eg, deliver content twice a month. This gives her time to fit his writing into HER schedule, instead of her being more on his schedule. See what I mean?
These are the biggies I’d cover.
The bottom line is, if you’re going to take on a low-paying SEO writing gig, make sure that you’re very specific with the client. Get everything in writing – and get them to pay up front (if not all, then at least half).
My client usually paid up front every month. I requested this because he was getting a steep discount.
The Beauty of Low-Paying SEO Writing Jobs
Probably the only benefit is they’re relatively easy to come by. And if you do them with a goal in mind, it makes them more palatable.
As soon as I got my financial cushion in place, not only did I shed a few low-paying clients, I started writing and self-publishing my own line of ebooks so that I could diversify my income.
My point in relaying all of this is – there is no one right road to success (I’m lucky in that nowadays, I don’t have to take on writing jobs). I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made certain sacrifices. I was DESPERATE to never have to go back to working for someone else again, so I did whatever it took – even accepting low-paying SEO writing jobs – to get where I knew I wanted to be.
I know many will disagree with my advice to this freelancer. And it’s one reason I don’t like to discuss freelance/SEO writing rates. As I’ve said before, everyone is different – their hopes, dreams, goals, ambitions, etc. But no one has to pay your bills but you, so you have to do what’s best for you when it comes to work.
The way I’ve always made decisions about which freelance / SEO writing jobs to take on has nothing to do with what “the industry norm” is or what other freelance writers think — and everything to do with my life and my goals.
As usual, I hope this insight helps.
What Would You Do? Would You Accept This Low-Paying SEO Writing Job?
Please share in the comments section below.
NOTE: Did you catch the recent post on InkwellEditorial.com (this site’s parent site) about why it’s important to learn how to freelance -– especially in this economy? It hit home for many. In the comments section, some enlightening stories were shared.
On a Personal Note
I hope you’re enjoying the last waning days of summer. I know I am – yard work, training for two upcoming marathons (one full, one half (oh boy!)), catching up on some reading, etc.
It’s a gorgeous fall-like day here in HotLanta (Atlanta). It was in the high 50’s when I went for my early morning run and I just reveled in the crispness of the air and the change of season coming on. I absolutely j’adore (one of only about 3 French words I know!) this time of year. Even though I love fall, I AM looking forward to some beach time in Jamaica soon.
And, speaking of . . .
P.S.: Did you sign up for the SEO copywriter training class in Jamaica yet?
A nominal deposit reserves your spot. Learning SEO is about so much more than learning a new skill; it’s about changing (taking control of) your life! Proof? See average salary of SEO writers in graphic just below.
P.P.S.: Avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer: Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.
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