Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, I routinely charged upwards of $60 an hour for freelance writing work. Routinely. And my clients? Didn’t blink.
Not anymore. Now every new gig required extensive negotiations – and more often than not, I end up taking less than my gut tells me I should.
In fact, I turn down a lot of jobs simply because they’re not worth my time. I mean, come on. Five dollars for a 500-word blog post? That’s just insulting.
Some of this is no doubt caused by the never-ending economic slump our country finds itself in, and the gamut of well-qualified writers who are relying on freelance work to replace the full time jobs they’ve lost.
But you know what? Not every industry is seeing this precipitous drop in pay scale. In fact, my designer friends still command the rates I used to get.
I have a theory. One that (at least, if you’re a blogger turned freelance writer) you’re probably not going to like.
It’s your fault.
You don’t realize how much you’re worth.
You don’t realize how rare your talent for spinning words actually is.
You undervalue yourselves.
In fact, you’re so grateful that people are willing to pay you for doing what you love that you just accept whatever pennies they decide to throw your way.
And that’s just wrong.
You have real, marketable skills.
You have more talent in your pinkie finger than 99 percent of the people out there.
You deserve to get paid, and paid well.
Those Twitter and Facebook followings you have? They’re worth their weight in gold. So are your subscriber numbers – even if they’re not in the “I am a blogging goddess” range.
People trust you. They’ll follow you (or at least your words) if you ask them to.
Take advantage of everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
You owe it to yourselves. You owe it to each other. And dag nam it, you owe it to me. Mama needs a vacation.
So just stop it.
Stop selling yourselves short.
Stop feeling embarrassed about negotiating pay.
Stand up tall like the talented, professional writers you are and ask for what you deserve.
Those companies, they’re never going to volunteer to pay more. Nope, they’re going to continue to balk, to feel completely justified in offering below-minimum-wage pay, until we make them stop.
Let’s make them stop.