Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I get “Oh I am so jealous, I would love to write all day and make lots of money”. Then when I actually explain what it’s like doing my work, they would rather work for a corporation. Let me explain what it’s really like writing for pay.
People Want You to Work for Very Little
One of the hardest parts of my job is making sure I am getting paid a fair wage. I constantly check in with others and ask what their rates are and see if I am undercutting myself. And I still do undercut myself! I have one site that I write for that pays me very little, but it’s a byline. A byline can be worth a lot in reputation so taking a cut there is okay. But other people want me to sit and write for as little as a penny per word. There is little to no consideration about the research I will have to do and construct an engaging article. A 700-word article that I can turn around in one hour will land me $7 at that rate. Do you work for $7 an hour? No, but since there is this idea that I am doing this as a hobby (I am not!) then I shouldn’t get more. Businesses who pay a penny a word are not going to get good writers! I will not waste my time on those clients.
I Have to Hustle
Not all of my clients are long term. Sometimes I am just filling in for someone else while they go on vacation or someone needs help getting something started. Sometimes I have someone testing me out to see if I am a good fit. That means I have a short term gig and cannot rely on that as sustainable income. So I have to network my butt off and find the clients who will be long term. Short term gigs are great though, they have certainly helped me when the budget gets tight. And sometimes they do turn into a long-term gig.
So yea, I have to work hard to get the clients and I have to have fantastic negotiation skills for fair pay. And I have to have those boundaries set so I am not getting screwed over. But. This is an awesome job to have. I love that I can wear whatever I want and get work done. I love that if something happens with my kids, I can just move my schedule around and take care of things. I am not working on someone else’s schedule all the time (although I do have deadlines that someone else often sets!). I am the boss. I love this so much that I am motivated to NEVER working for someone else again. There may be a time in which I need a part time gig to help me get through financial stress, but I will always have this.