One of the most frustrating tasks as a freelancer is looking for new business. Seriously, it sucks. I am quite happy to work with my clients and write my content. Seeking out new clients is a tedious and time-consuming task. The worst part is negotiating pay. Obviously, clients want to get the best deal possible, and I want to make the most possible. However, there is a difference between fair negotiations and just being cheap. Knowing your freelancer worth protects your business, bank account, and sanity. It also helps clients get the high quality content that they are looking for.
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The Artist Effect
Traditional artists run into the valuation problem all of the time. They make a beautiful piece of art, and people immediately start questioning the price charged. Unfortunately, it is a common phenomenon. The general public completely lacks understanding about how much work and materials went into producing that item. A perfect example of this is crochet items. Unlike knitting, crocheting cannot be done with a machine. It has to be done by hand. Depending on the stitch chosen, it can be time-consuming and require a ton of yarn. If the crafter uses a high-end yarn, the item could be hundreds of dollars in materials alone. The result is a beautiful afghan, sweater, or stuffie that costs way more than what the average shopper is willing to spend. Or consider the amount of work that goes into a custom paint job on a car or motorcycle. It’s just painting, right? Wrong. Some high-end specialty paints are insanely expensive. Then there is the painter’s time as they do layer after layer with drying and curing.
The same thing happens with content writing. The average person has no idea how long it takes to write 500, 1,000, or more words. The result is that most people vastly underestimate the freelancer’s worth when it comes to the time and effort required.
“I Can Do It Myself”
Everyone writes in their everyday capacity to some extent. This leads them to think they can produce quality content writing. This phenomenon deals with people overestimating their own abilities. It is called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Because of this, they assume that content writing isn’t as complicated or difficult as professional writers would lead you to believe. I’m here to tell you that your writing isn’t as good as you think it is.
The biggest offenders of this are lawyers. They read one SEO article from five years ago and think they are an expert. Many assume that content writing is a breeze because they read and write for a living. I went to law school. They are wrong. Legal writing is entirely different from content writing. Attorneys who insist on influencing their content writer’s output are doing themselves a major disservice.
Being a content writer takes practice. You need to be able to adapt your tone and voice to different clients’ needs. You also need to keep the intended audience in mind. Lawyers write for other lawyers. Content writers write for the lawyer’s clients.
Charge For Experience
As a new freelancer, you’re just getting started. You lack experience and haven’t made a name for yourself. You may need to charge lower rates to secure clients. However, as you progress in your career, you should charge more. Your freelancer worth should increase as your progress in your career. You have experience, skill, and knowledge that you didn’t have when you started. Clients should pay for that. If a client isn’t willing to pay for what you have to offer, then they can hire someone with less experience and skill for a lower rate.
Value Your Quality
Just because a content writer has been working in the industry for years does not mean they are any good. If a client wants top-quality work, then they should be willing to pay for it. After all, there is truth in the saying, “ you get what you pay for.” This point is one that many clients struggle with. They have a long laundry list of demands and requirements. It is obvious that they have dealt with multiple poor-quality writers. However, you get to the end of their listing, and they have a subpar pay rate listed. Or worse, they don’t list the pay rate at all. How do they expect to get someone high quality to meet all of these requirements when they aren’t willing to pay what they are worth? Unfortunately, these are the same clients who bemoan how SEO doesn’t work. They can’t seem to connect their unwillingness to pay for quality with this lack of results.
Cheap Content Equals Cheap Results
Let’s talk about the mechanics behind you getting what you pay for. One of two things happens when a client insists on lowballing writers. The first is that only quality writers apply. High-quality writers know their worth. They know they can get paid more elsewhere, so they won’t waste time on lowball offers.
The other possible outcome is that an experienced quality writer does take the job. This is happening more often now because of the struggling economy and lack of work. However, these writers know what they are doing. They utilize AI tools to write content quickly. This makes it more economical for them. They can churn out content faster and make the money they want. The result is clients get AI content that they are unhappy with. Simply raising the rate would incentivize writers and produce better quality content.
Accurate Freelancer Worth Valuation Is Best for Everyone
When it comes down to it, an accurate and fair valuation of freelancer worth is the best approach. This means that clients need to adjust their mindset. Instead of finding the cheapest service, they should look for the best quality writer they can realistically afford. Then they can hold the writer to the standard they want with a fair expectation that the writer puts in the work they are getting paid to do. When writers feel valued, they are more willing to work hard and put in the extra effort to produce top-quality content.