Unrealistic Expectations

People seem to have forgotten the saying, “you get what you pay for”.

In “the real world”, I’m a freelance writer. Depending on what platform I’m working on, I get paid between $4 and $16 for a 400-word article. That’s a pretty huge difference in pay. The $4 article translates into roughly $16/hour. The $16 article translates into $64/hour.

Obviously the person paying me $16 for the article is going to get something better researched and better edited than the person paying me $4.

This is where the phrase, “You get what you pay for” comes into play. Recently, buyers of the $4 articles have been expecting a lot more than $4 worth of work. They want me to spend hours on end using their websites to write-up a review or they’re expecting an article that’s 100% unique, with content that “can’t be found anywhere else on the web”. On top of that, they expect to do zero editing.

They aren’t willing to pay more for the added effort, but are expecting me to turn out work like I would for a higher paying client.

That’s simply not going to happen. I realize that small businesses can’t afford to pay more for content. That’s fine. It’s part of the reason I offer a lower-cost service. However, if you’re only paying $4 for a 400-word article, you should lower your expectations. For starters, be willing to do a read-through and fix small errors yourself. Understand that if your article is about some obscure topic, you’re likely going to get very general information. I’m not going to spend 2 hours researching some small aboriginal tribe in Africa and writing up an article about their courtship customs for $4.

Hell, I wouldn’t even do that for $16.
So please, those of you that buy content online need to think about the people writing it. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I write to make money to help make ends meet. I won’t work for free or anywhere near it. Sure, writing helps me stay home with my kids instead of sending them to daycare, but there are other ways I can make money at home too. I do this because it fits my lifestyle the best. However, if I’m going to be spending every waking moment in front of the computer and not with my kids, it no longer works for me and I’m going to leave the world of freelance writing. If everyone in my position does the same thing, you’ll be faced with fewer writers and inevitably higher costs.

So the moral of the story is, be kind with your words. Understand the value of a freelance writer, and always keep your expectations realistic. If you’re only budgeting $4 for your content, don’t expect $50 worth of work. You need to make a profit, but so does the mom behind the computer screen.

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One thought on “Unrealistic Expectations

  1. Donatello says:

    Well said! Initially I though this was going to be one of those whining posts about poor salary, and I was thinking..but $16..even for day’s pay is good salary depending upon your location (Phillipines, for example) but even out there you are going to get the same attitude (if I can call it attitude) where the higher paying client will get a greater effort for the higher fee. Same in any industry or job…even in the office!

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