For years I struggled to make a decent living as a freelance writer, mainly because I refused to write for content mills or those ridiculous people who wanted 10,000 words for $10. Maybe that works for people living in Thailand but I'd have to write a million words to make a decent living at that rate. I'm fast but I'm not that fast!!
And I swear I read somewhere that writers were the lowest-paid white collar workers of everyone. I don't know if that's true but if it is that blows monkeyb**ls.
I've also noticed the marketplace seems to have this idea that if you can type some words on a page and string together some sentences you're a writer. To which I say no, no and no. Whatever type of writing you're doing, from podcast show notes to copywriting to online content articles, it takes skill and talent that is honed over the years.
Which brings me to our topic at hand: getting paid and pricing your work.
If this is your first solo endeavor, your first go at self-employment then this may feel awkward. Oh heck even if you’ve been working for yourself for awhile this discussion may still be awkward, suck it up and set your price.
And I say that as much for you as I say it for me too! I don’t know that I enjoy this chat any more than I enjoy the dentist drilling my teeth but I still have it. Awks or not, it’s gotta be done.
To Free or Not To Free: That Is The Question
When you’re starting out, it may seem smart to work on spec or charge a lower fee. Don’t do it. Don’t work for free; Chris Ducker told me to never, ever work for free and since he’s done all right for himself, I listened to his advice.
Even with the body of work I have and the testimonials of my happy clients under my belt, I’ve still been asked to work on spec. To which I say a firm and polite NO.
Now some people may offer you something in exchange for discounted notes, say they offer you coaching or membership to their mastermind group in exchange for a lower-priced project (like podcast show notes). This is up to you whether or not you will accept their offer. I have, but only because I trusted the person who was offering it to me and I knew his coaching would make an immeasurable difference in my business. (And it did and does as of this blog post).
If you're writing show notes for podcasts you may be tempted to have two rates: one for short shows, one for long shows. I advise against this. I started out using this formula and it sucked. I soon realized I was putting in almost as much time on the shorter shows as I was on the longer shows.
That being said if you want to have two rates for your shows, I suggest discounting your shorter length shows by a few bucks. If you’re in the US and you charge XX for hour-long shows, then charge maybe ten bucks less for 30 minute or shorter shows.
But whatever you do, don’t charge half as much for shorter shows. It is NOT worth it and I will speak from personal experience. You will be putting in plenty of time and you won’t see a big return on that investment, always be looking at your time as an investment because it is and you only have so much of it to give.
And now I want to hear from you - what have you learned about pricing along your journey, whether it’s related to podcasting, show notes, or anything else?