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Old 12-01-2017, 06:22 AM
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beanandpumpkin beanandpumpkin is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Florida
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Originally Posted by ErinHill226 View Post
Long time no see! I only recognize you, Michelle.

I came back out of lurkdom to reply to this specifically, because I disagree with almost all of it (respectfully, of course), and I don't want new writers to get discouraged.

First of all, I think we need some perspective. Freelance writing, like anything you do in exchange for money, is a business. New businesses, by and large, fail. Only about 20% survive beyond one year. Many more will fail within five years. That's true of most industries. But nobody would say starting a restaurant/boutique/law office was a sham. I think anything conducted via the Internet is automatically seen with an air of suspicion. But it's just the nature of starting a business. You might succeed. There's a good chance you won't. Some of it is due to lack of skill, marketing ability, business sense, etc... A lot of it is more due to just plain crap luck. It is what it is.

Secondly, I think starting out and relying on "passive" sources of writing income is a terrible idea for a newbie. For one, you learn A LOT working with clients. And editors. Without a good editor ripping into you a few times at the starting line, it's harder to improve enough to offer something worth buying (those who work a 9-5 as a writer beneath an editor might be an exception to this rule).

I am grateful for every persnickety content manager and editor I ever had.

For another thing, the vast majority of self-pubbed books/articles/blogs also fail. You only make an income if people read what you've written and/or are willing to pay for it. To manage that, you have to understand marketing, copywriting, SEO, social media, etc... Some way to get your voice heard. And you can learn that, once again, through working with knowledgeable clients who are able and willing to teach you. I've had the opportunity to work with several.

In my experience, you can also make an income much FASTER writing for clients. Passive income streams can take YEARS to build.

Third, I don't feel like people overseas offering writing services are competition for me at all. Anybody charging $2 an hour, quite honestly, isn't offering the same thing I am. You're not going to get the same level of quality, experience, and marketing knowledge at that price. If that's what you want to pay, fine. Those aren't the clients I"m looking for. And I'm not the writer they're looking for either.

My first real writing gig, I was averaging $30 an hour. That was with zero prior experience, no college degree, and no earthly idea of what I was doing. My income has risen steadily since then, and now I usually hover at around triple that amount hourly up to over $100/hour.

I think the biggest mistake these "pie in the sky" offerings make is that they make it all seem easy. I know the book I read about copywriting that got me started did. "Practically snooze your way to 30K a year." It's not easy. In the beginning, it takes long hours and a whole lot of learning the ropes. Everybody has to pay their dues.

But these clients DO exist. You just have to find them. Get off Craigslist. Get off Upwork (though I routinely find clients willing to pay $60+ an hour there... it's not a good idea for beginners). Get away from content mills (if there are any left).

I would also wager that a decent percentage of people who attempt writing as a profession just aren't very good. Courses like AWAI never seem to mention that talent is still a requirement, even if the minimum amount is all that's required for certain tasks. If American Idol has taught it anything, it's that people have a tendency to grossly overestimate their own talent.

I once came across a guy who had SUCCESSFULLY completed the AWAI course, set up a website with his samples and promptly listed his rates at $120 an hour. The only issue? His samples were just awful. His sales letter began with telling the tale of how pioneers traveling west would often get crushed beneath their own wagon wheels (in painfully graphic detail), and somehow ended up talking about becoming a writer. Da fuq? It didn't speak to his target audience at all, and mostly made no sense. Yet nobody sat him aside and gently told him that maybe, possibly, writing just wasn't the career for him.

On that note, I agree with you about the companies encouraging anybody and everybody to become a writer as if it's the easiest thing ever. Or anyone who makes it seem like a get rich quick venture. But to say that working for clients is a bad idea seems to be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Just my two cents, for what they are worth.
I agree with everything here. Nice to "see" you again!
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