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Why $ 15 per 1000 words is NOT okay

$15 per 1000 words

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There’s so much uncertainty in the blogging world as to how much a writer or blogger should charge per post, and I want to share some insight with you as to why $15 per 1000 words is not OK.

Applying for Writing Jobs

I recently applied for a blogging/writing role for a home website. It took me just under an hour to complete the application on Google forms. Applying for writing/blogging jobs should be approached in the same way as applying for any job; you show them the best of your ability and sell yourself as the best person for the role. Highlight your skills and experience; showcase your capabilities.

The day after submitting my application, I received a response welcoming me to the team! I’m a naturally positive person, but I’m sometimes cynical and superstitious. So, my immediate thought was “wow, that was easy!” (Frown).

How to Land Freelance Writing Jobs – The Easy Way

As I scanned the email further, the next sentence glared at me.

“I am pleased to make you an offer at $15 per 1000 words (pro-rated accordingly if you write more or fewer words).”

I stared at it.

Then confusion crept in. Was I the crazy one?

The offer was so far removed from my proposed rate, I had a temporary moment of insanity. I felt insulted at worst, yet flattered at best that they had chosen me.

Fortunately, I’m a member of a super helpful writing group on Facebook and headed over there to vent my woes. Should I just accept it and do a couple of posts to add to my portfolio?

  1. No.
  2. and No.
  3. er, No.
  4. uh, No.
  5. ??? No.
  6. !!! No!

(At this moment in time, the post has 15 shocked emojis, 13 angry faces, 8 likes, 1 sad reaction and 71 rants). 

If you’re a freelancer looking to get into writing and are prepared to sell your soul for the sake of getting “exposure”, then this is by far the easiest way to start. But here’s a stark warning from someone who has been there; your writing will be slave labour. You cannot pay the bills with this level of income. You cannot cover your overheads. It will destroy your soul.

Why $15 Per 1000 Words is NOT OK

While it’s a good idea to start at the bottom and work your way up, this level of reward for your hard work is the equivalent of $0.015 per word. That’s not 15¢, it’s 1.5¢, or 1p if you live in the UK. Per word.

Here’s why 1.5¢ per word is NOT okay: When you have spent 4 – 6 hours researching, writing, structuring, editing, proof-reading, linking, image sourcing, checking etc, that’s $2.50 PER HOUR.

Granted, some projects take less time, some a lot less. (I can blurt out a rant-like 1,000 word blog post like this one in an hour or two). But even if it takes you 2 hours without research – because you know EVERYTHING about the topic – it’s still only $7.50 per hour (or just under £6. That’s far below minimum wage!).

Armed, assured and asserted, I returned to the “client” and politely declined the offer:

“Thank you for your email.
At $15 per 1000 words I’m going to have to decline your offer as it’s so far removed from my proposed rate.
$15 per 1000 words is simply not sustainable.
Thank you for the opportunity and best regards”

The Counter Offer

Surprisingly, the editor came back to me.

“Sorry to hear,” they said. “We can improve the rate to $30 per 1,000 words. We do offer a byline, strong exposure, no hard deadlines and a long-term source of income. Would that work?”

Still, no.

Why? Because I already have exposure. I have a blog. A portfolio. I KNOW there are better-paying writing jobs out there. How do I know this? Because I have two clients already who pay me far, far better than this appalling rate.

I stuck to my guns and, once again, politely declined. I informed the editor of my minimum rate and advised her I was unable to go lower. There’s a reason for this: Aside from having bills to pay and creating an income for myself, I am also a business. And lately, I’ve come to understand the importance of self-worth, and how it directly impacts our financial situation. And my work and I are worth so much more than that.

Bloggers Deserve Better, Too

This post doesn’t just apply to freelance writers (many of whom also have their own blog). It applies to bloggers, too.

Personally, I don’t have anything against writing posts in return for gifted items, or posts that are considered lower pay, certainly in the early stages of building a blog. The reason being is that we all have to start somewhere. We need to build our brand, SEO, audience etc. And each piece of content adds to our own personal portfolio.

But once a blogger is established, we need to assert ourselves and our value, as I’ve mentioned in this post here. A blogger wields a lot of power through their influence. People follow influencers because they can identify with them. A blogger’s experiences resonate with their target audience. Not only that, but a brand is paying for that blogger’s marketing and web-content experience as well as their writing.

The problem is, too many people are accepting low-paid work, which is driving down the market price for everyone else.

We all have bills to pay, but it’s important to remember that we have pride and worth, too.

Look at it this way. Would you take on a waitressing job at $2.50 per hour (less than £2.00)?

About Author

Miss Penny Money is a personal finance blogger on a debt-free journey to financial independence, whilst juggling a writing career and bringing up a young family on a modest budget.

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