Monday, March 14, 2011

Should New Online Writers Settle for Low Pay?

Many new writers make the mistake of accepting a dollar or two for their work thinking that at least they are making something for their effort and are often encouraged to do so by other writers. I disagree. The price you are willing to accept for your writing services now determines your long range success in several ways.

  • Psychological Impact
What you accept for a fee for your online writing effects your perception of your worth. If you begin with the idea that you aren't good enough to earn more, your self-concept will happily oblige. The messages you send yourself about your writing skills, your ability and your worth as a writer determine your success. You subconscious mind has the marvelous ability to accept whatever you tell it is true, by sending it the message that you are only worth a dollar or two, you create  a vision of your success as a writer. For more insight into the effect your thinking has on your success in life, visit my blog In the Directions of Dreams.

  • No Incentive to Improve Your Writing Skills
When you accept low paying gigs, you are typically competing with writers who lack the skill and sophistication to move on to more challenging work. When you compare yourself to them, you may begin to believe that your writing skills are advanced. This lulls you into thinking that you do not need to work on improving your craft and halts your growth as a writer. Without growth, your success as an online writer is questionable.

  • The Writing Market
Let' face it. There are many out there who lack the skills or commitment to write their own web copy and they want you to do it for them for nothing . Your hard work makes money for them. They may pretend it is all they can afford -- but they are really laughing all the way to the bank. These people take advantage of new writers who have no concept of their worth. The overall effect is lower rates for all writers because there is always someone willing to do it for a minimal fee.

So What's the Alternative?

You are probably thinking that you don't have any alternatives. That without experience and references you won't be able to earn more than a dollar or two from your writing. If you are like some writers, you may even develop the attitude that $2 is more than you had yesterday so it's worth the taking the low pay and working your way up. There is some value in that, but the truth is--many writers don't work their way up. They get stuck in the same place making the same wage because they have convinced themselves its all they deserve, or because they fail to develop the skills necessary to grow as writer. Don't let that happen to you.

Two simple alternatives come to mind. 
  1. Start a blog about something you are passionate about. You can certainly monetize the blog with Adsense or another ad program and probably make more than a dollar or two on your posts -- but at this point the money isn't the big issue. Gaining writing experience is. 
  2. Write for revenue share. When you write for revenue share, you retain all rights to your work and are typically free to remove it if you wish. This keeps you in control of what and when you publish and allows you to edit your work as you gain experience.You will likely make more than a dollar or two for your work over time without giving up your rights to the work.
We'll talk further about setting your rates as a freelance or online writer in the next post -- but for now, concentrate on gaining experience and avoid being taken advantage of. You are a writer for a reason. Don't compromise your career as writer by accepting the first gig that comes along.

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