What? Turn down freelance writing work? I thought you were here to tell me how to get more freelance writing work?
Don’t stop reading just yet. Hear me out…
You see something keeps happening that feels a bit strange to me.
It started a while ago and I’ve noticed it’s been happening much more lately. I’ve also noticed that the more it happens the more productive I am and the more money I make from my freelance writing work.
What’s more, this is not one of those things that’s happening to me while I passively sit by and watch – this is something that I’m actively and purposefully doing.
I’m bringing this on myself.
So what is this strange occurrence?
Well, I sort of keep turning down freelance writing work.
It’s not ‘sort of’ actually; I point blank, unabashedly keep turning down the work.
There I said it.
So how might this help you?
To explain let’s go back to the very beginning of your freelance writing career. The very beginning (even if it wasn’t that long ago.) If you started from scratch, as most of us do, there’s no denying that it was probably pretty tough.
There’s no two ways about it – if you want this life you have to work damn hard at it. In the beginning you’re constantly on the look out for freelance writing work of any nature – and I mean anything – that will pay the bills, build your portfolio and perhaps lead to more interesting, better paid work somewhere down the line.
At an undefined point along this bumpy road however, you suddenly become aware that something has changed. There’s been a switch. You were too busy to notice it at first (and of course that’s sort of the point here) but you’ve suddenly realised:
You’ve got freelance writing work.
Lots of it. You’ve got clients. You’re busy. Too busy – in demand even.
Will you even have time this week to write that blog post for Client X or research that new article for Client Z? Perhaps you haven’t had time to tend to your own website or blog for longer than you’re comfortable with. As for making time to interact on social media or market yourself for more freelance writing work in the future – forget about it.
But this is what you wanted, right? You wanted lots of freelance writing work; you wanted to be busy. The trouble is, now you can’t cope with the workload – a workload that probably isn’t even covering half your bills.
So what do you do about it?
Firstly if you haven’t done so already read my post on Why You Need to Make Freelance Writing Your Business (Not Your Hobby). It’s always important to be in a business frame of mind as far as your freelance writing career is concerned.
Secondly you need to increase your rates. No, don’t feel embarrassed or coy about this – you’ve put in the groundwork; you have experience and a portfolio of work to show for it, so why shouldn’t you be paid what you’re worth?
Work out how much you need to earn per hour in order to make a comfortable career out of this. Take into consideration things like taxes, bank holidays and sick days and break it all down from your ideal annual salary to an hourly rate. However busy you feel it really is worth taking the time at this juncture to just sit down and crunch some numbers.
Once you’ve worked out your hourly rate (or set rate per word if you’re more comfortable with this) don’t take on any more freelance writing work for anything less. You heard:
[Tweet “Turn down all freelance work that doesn’t pay what you know you’re worth.”]
It really is that simple. It will feel strange at first, as it did for me, but you’ll soon find people will respect your work and your time a lot more. Naturally some clients will be unwilling to pay you sufficiently for your time, and that’s OK too. In fact this is why it works so well – you’ll find that all that time spent on low paying freelance writing work is now free for you to spend more productively.
You can spend your time working for clients who know your worth, making them happier and more likely to hire you in the future and recommend you to others.
So yes, it does feel strange at first but turning down freelance writing work can be the best thing you ever did for your writing career. I wouldn’t necessary recommend this approach until you’ve got to a stage where you can prove your mettle as an adept, capable and reliable writer.
But you’ll know when the time is right. Trust yourself. Do what you have to do.
>> Get step-by step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online, including pitching templates and proven strategies to attract writing clients, in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.