How Much Are You Worth?!

Posted on August 8, 2011


Whether you realize it or not, your worth is constantly being measured. It’s measured by what you and others think of you and your talent.

How Is Your Worth Measured?

As a writer, your worth is measured by what others are willing to pay you and by what you are willing to accept. Although you have the ability to reject what others offer to pay you, you also need to make an income.

Once I accepted a job to write 10 articles for $10 each. They were 300-word articles. That’s $.03 per word and not something I ordinarily do. So, why did I accept it? I did so based on three reasons:

  • It enabled me to gain experience writing on law topics — I now use these examples to market my wares to law firms (love writing for law firms!).
  • I had some extra time and didn’t mind writing for the law firm.
  • It supplemented my income.

My Personal Current Worth

I don’t typically accept a writing job for less than $.05 per word, and currently receive $.10 per word. With all the layoffs in the U.S. and foreign competition, however, it is now more difficult to find great-paying writing jobs. The reason is that many laid off U.S. professionals, like me, turn to writing while they look for other, better-paying work.

Although I love receiving high wages for writing articles, that may not always be the case. With that in mind, what choices are there?

Strategies to Accepting Writing Jobs

I would like to think that I choose my own worth, but the market also dictates the worth of a writer. Although your skills may be worth a lot to some companies, others have fixed budgets, and some are just plain cheap and don’t want to spend much for a quality writer.

My advice is to only accept lower paying writing jobs if you:

  • Are just beginning as a writer and need any experience you can get.
  • Are desperate for the income and you don’t have any other writing jobs at the time — continue your search for better-paying writing jobs.
  • Want experience in a particular field to add to your portfolio and this writing job provides that.
  • Can’t find any other better-paying writing jobs and want to write until you find something better.
  • Need to supplement your income.
  • Are an authority on a topic and can kick out the articles quickly — results in good pay for some.
  • Want the work, because it’s easy to produce articles quickly — marketing copy is sometimes the fastest and easiest to produce — key words are critical; quality is not.

I try not to bend when it comes to pay, but negotiations are everything in obtaining good writing jobs and better pay. If you are interested in writing for a particular company that offers you a job that doesn’t quite meet your pay expectations, consider these strategies:

  • Some companies raise the rate of writers after they see the quality of articles produced – be open to negotiate with the company for better pay after you’ve proven your worth.
  • Negotiate up-front with a company to receive better for better pay-per-article if they see your articles bring in high traffic.
  • If you can bring in lots of traffic for a company, negotiate a PPC, along with the pay-per-article – pay-per-click (PPC) or –visitor has the potential to produce significantly greater income for you in addition to the pay-per-article.

Strategies in Applying for Writing Jobs

It can take time to find good-paying articles. My first writing job paid me $35 per article, but I don’t think that’s the norm. In contrast, I continue to receive offers from companies who don’t pay well, but usually reject those.

Companies don’t typically post their per-article or per-word pay in their ads for writers, so you don’t know until after you receive the offer that the pay is low.

So, how do you know for which jobs to apply?

That’s a good question and one that is not easy to answer.

Some strategies I use when applying to job ads are as follows:

  • Look for industry names in the ads – e.g., Groupon, LegalZoom and other companies or websites you’ve heard of before.
  • Look for links to the company’s website – click on the links and look through the articles on the site – if they are low-quality article, stay away – the company doesn’t pay well.
  • If links in a job ad take you to quality articles on topics on which you enjoy writing, then apply.
  • Stay away from simple ads with VERY general non-descript language – these are generally ads to obtain email addresses for sending SPAM.
  • Set up iGoogle to receive regular job ads from Craigslist – my friend, Sam, has a great article on this. I’ve found good-paying writing jobs through Craigslist.

Use good common sense when applying for and accepting writing jobs. Think about how accepting the current writing job offer might impact future writing jobs offers. Don’t accept low-paying writing jobs, unless it will benefit you in the future.

Are there other strategies you use to find better-paying writing jobs or for accepting lower-paying writing jobs?