How To Earn $0.10 A Word For Your Freelance Writing

Last post we talked about why you should value your content and I showed how an article on a decent blog could easily be worth $100 or more. However, I know that many freelance writers struggle to command rates anywhere near that.

So today I want to give you an example of a writer and copywriter who has no problem charging $50 for a 500 word article (that’s $0.10 a word), and I’ll give you three key reasons why she’s able to do that (and you can do, as well). By the end of this article you’ll have some fresh ideas for your own writing service, and by the end of the series of articles (all this week) your mind will be bursting with new and fresh ideas for your writing service!

Lisa Giannetti is currently ranked #2 out of about 270,000 service providers at RentACoder.com, a place where service providers bid for jobs. (And since the top company does programming only, she’s really the #1 rated writer and copywriter there.)

Here’s an excerpt from the bidding page where she won the bid to write an article for an internet marketer (and pay careful attention to ALL the bid prices):

Article in **** niche

I need a high quality, original content article written that is optimized for the keyword phrase “****”.

View All Bid Responses

8/13/2009 9:45:50 AM *** 10 (Excellent) out of 24 ratings. $20.00
8/13/2009 12:03:56 PM *** 8.83 (Superb) out of 6 ratings. $10.00
8/13/2009 2:26:42 PM *** 10 (Excellent) out of 4 ratings. $15.00
8/13/2009 4:04:22 PM *** 9.98 (Excellent) out of 56 ratings. $15.00
8/14/2009 2:21:23 PM *** 8.33 (Very Good) out of 3 ratings. $10.00
8/15/2009 6:13:38 PM *** 9.85 (Excellent) out of 381 ratings. $15.00
8/16/2009 1:56:20 PM *** 9 (Superb) out of 1 ratings. $25.00
8/17/2009 11:48:11PM Lisa_G 9.89 (Excellent) out of 1525 ratings. $50 (was accepted)

Notice the range of prices offered before Lisa’s bid – from $10 to $25. At $50, her bid was twice the second highest bid… and yet it won!

Here’s what the client said when he accepted Lisa’s bid:

“Hi Lisa, I am very excited about this article. I have never paid more than $10 for an article before and I think the quality or lack of showed.”

You should read this comment two or three times, and really let it sink in. This guy was genuinely excited about paying more than he was used to – that is, paying no more than $10 an article and seeing a “lack of” the kind of quality he wanted. So he was ready and eager to pay more, for the virtual certainty of getting what he really wanted.

Here’s what he said after she delivered the article:

“Hi Lisa, The article is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you very much”

Now, before you jump to conclusions and double your prices right away, you need to understand the three main reasons I think Lisa is able to consistently charge more for her writing:

(1) She delivers quality.

As I talk about in my report Write To More Money, everyone says they offer “high quality” writing. But many writers (especially the very cheap ones) don’t deliver it. Instead, the client gets boring, spun and barely researched articles. (Some clients are after that, it’s true… but many want real quality, not just a rehash of someone else’s content.)

The difference between them and Lisa is that, based on her experience, she knew exactly what the client really wanted from his article, and delivered it.

(2) She has built a solid reputation.

I’d say the rating and reviews you get on sites like Elance or RentACoder are far more important than testimonials on your own site, because the rating systems on those sites are considered by clients as independent of you. After all, you can easily edit, pick and choose the testimonials you use on your site, but you can’t do that with the reviews your clients will leave you on outsourcing sites.

And let’s face it, in Lisa’s case, scoring 9.89 out of 10 over 1,500 jobs gives you a strong, credible reputation that can be trusted.

For example, here’s just one of the many reviews left for Lisa which also gives additional insights into why they picked her:

Let’s see… She is the #2 coder on RAC and has phenomenal feedback and an amazing portfolio. I lost any bargaining power when I basically bowed down and gushed over her skills before she bid. Despite that, when she did bid, it was still less than I would have expected for someone of her caliber.

Then she started on my project sooner than she estimated and also finished it sooner than she estimated. She was a pleasure to work with, easy and quick to communicate with, and even improved our layout a bit, which wasn’t part of my bid… just something that a true professional like Lisa does simply because it *should* be done.

Not sure how I can give her better feedback, but if there was a rating of 11, she would deserve it. Pretty rare in this world to find such a great partner. I guess now I know why she is rated so highly over an incredible 1,600+ jobs as I write this.

Thanks Lisa, truly excellent work – will definitely hire you again, and soon!

Scott Harvey

For that reason alone it’s worth building up a profile on at least one major outsourcing site, such as Elance or RentACoder, to enhance your credibility – and then let potential clients read your profile.

Bonus Tip: Study profiles like Lisa’s, to see exactly WHY she is so highly rated. These clients of hers are telling you, in their own words, why they were willing to pay more.

(3) She asks for more!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t ask, you won’t get. Lisa wouldn’t have earned $50 for that article, had she not asked for it. Lisa herself freely admits she doesn’t win all the bids:

“I win 30% of my bids. That means my competitors win 70% all combined. But here’s the key: I work 30% as hard as they do and I make more money doing it.

If person “A” bids $10 for a 500 word article and I bid $50, and assuming it takes us each 1 hour to write it. I made $50 per hour and they made $10.

They have to do 5 times the work I do to earn the same amount. I can lose 4 bids to them and still end up with the same amount of money in my pocket.”

I appreciate it’s not easy for many writers to even consider raising their prices, which is why I wrote an entire 90+ page report on the subject of asking for, and getting more money for your writing.

Tomorrow I want to reveal to you another secret to commanding higher rates, used by the top writers, that even newcomers can use right away. So you’ll want to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss this valuable advice – which could make all the difference to you.

5 comments

  1. This is a great read Paul.

    Everything you mention is true. Following your advice in your book ‘Write To More Money’ (which uses the same principles from this post), I was able to jump into the world of freelance writing (with no previous experience) as a high paid writer.

    After learning the principles you taught me, I KNEW I could write high valued content… Content that my clients needed and would love. With that confidence it was easy to ASK for more money, and I was shocked to discover that my clients couldn’t pull out their wallets fast enough.

    Anyhow, in this post you have opened my eyes to third-party outsourcing websites (such as RentACoder.com). Before reading this article, I would have never bid on one of these sites, because I believed every client that went to these sites was looking for ‘cheap’ articles or reports. Yet, after reading how Lisa can get $50 an article on one of these websites, then I KNOW I can do the same.

    You also made another excellent point. You mentioned that it is a good idea to earn feedback from one of these third-party sites… If only to direct your potential clients to your feedback for social proof. (Surely this will be a better way to present social proof than handpicked testimonials 😉

    Once again, GREAT post Paul! It really got me thinking…

    JC

  2. Hey Joshua, great stuff… I know you’re applying the techniques from that report, and you have proved to yourself that you don’t need to start off really cheap to build up a list of clients. All you need to do is make sure they recognize the VALUE of what you’re offering, regardless of the price.

    As for sites like RentACoder, it’s probably going to be more difficult asking for $50 for a 500 word article IF you haven’t yet built up a reputation there yet. Still, you don’t have to UNDERVALUE yourself either. Many freelancers seem to think they need to undercut or match other people’s bids to have a chance, but the real key is to demonstrate VALUE for whatever bid you place. As a potential customer of writing services, I would much rather pay $20 for a really good article I’m happy to use on this blog, than a $5 article that just makes it look like a cut n’ paste from the Top 10 sites on Google :)

  3. I guess I’ll have to start doing some more networking. Thanks for another inspirational post! What do you think are the best job sites for networking and building credibility?

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