It was a toss up between “A Tale of 2 Christmas Freelance Writing Assignments” and “A Christmas Freelance Writing Story.” Both titles allude to well-known morality tales and that’s sort of what this is. Without further ado, here are my tales.
As Christmas 2008 approached, I was worried. I knew there would be a slowdown until after the new year and I had no money to tide me over if I didn’t do something about it. I had only been freelance writing for websites for about six months at the time and still didn’t know much about it. Since I needed jobs fast, I looked for them in the only place I knew to look: one of the popular freelance bidding sites.
I picked up a few small jobs, but needed more. Finally, as Christmas loomed, I scored a 30 article assignment. The brief was to write 30 articles about a Caribbean island. They were to be 500+ words each and stuffed with a list of keyword phrases the client provided me with. I had a week to complete the assignment.
After a frantic week of writing those 30 articles plus about a dozen others, I was done. How much did I make for those 30 500+ word articles? A whopping $300.
As Christmas approached this year, I had my usual assignments to complete, but knew my clients would be taking a break and I wouldn’t be making any more money for a few weeks. Throughout 2009 and into 2010, I had been making a pittance for my efforts and maxed out my credit card to make up the shortfall. I’m still struggling to reduce the balance and the Australian dollar has plummeted in value, so I needed to make extra money to see me through.
In early December, a huge assignment fell into my lap. That and the extra assignments my regular clients gave me in anticipation of their holidays made me a very busy freelance writer until last night at around midnight. I had more than 30 assignments to complete, but to keep things equal, we’ll just look at 30 of them:
- Three feature articles (450 words each) for a car insurance website. They paid $175 each, for a total of $525
- Five blogs for a real estate website (around 450-500 words each) @ $60. Total: $300
- 22 (actually more) content pages (350-500 words) @ $45 each. Total: $990
In all, I made $1815 on those 30 articles. That’s roughly $1500 more than I made for the same amount of content in 2009. Looked at another way, I made 6 times as much and it didn’t take me as long to complete them, either.
The Moral of the Story
The moral of the story is that it might be easier to find work on bidding sites, but it’s easy to get the false impression that the rates you’re offered are the going rates for freelance content and blog writing. I really don’t want other freelance writers to go through what I went through in the early days. If you have to, find a few gigs on bidding sites, but keep looking for work outside their systems.
By the way, I made over $5000 this December. In 2009, I made about $750 and worked harder for it. I’m not bragging — I’m trying to make my point. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”