Knowing your worth in the freelance marketplace

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I came across a job posting online the other day that sounded mighty tempting. Steady work, potential for a large readership, and a subject that I’m passionate about. Even the ad itself looking promising, in that it was actually well-written and spell-checked within an inch of its life.

I passed on it, however, although I did have to think about it. I recently made the very difficult but necessary decision to only take on assignments that offer decent pay. Now, what I consider “decent pay” may be different from what, say, David Brooks might consider “decent pay,” but since I’m a full-time, professional writer/editor with tons of clips and paid assignments to my name, it’s about time I said No to the low-paying gigs that barely cover a tall latte at my local coffee shop. Time was when that was necessary in order to get clips for my portfolio, although even then I only sought article assignments that paid even $10-$15. (My first paid piece was a short story for an online site that netted me $15. This was back when Web sites that published fiction flourished on the Web and actually paid their writers. I still have that uncashed check, too!)

Now, however, with over a hundred articles and features and an equal number of columns to my name, it’s ridiculous to continue seeking penny-ante assignments with little or no hope of future revenue increases. At this point in my career, my time is way more valuable than $15 for a day’s worth of work, so I might as well command what I’m worth. Or at least, what I’m worth now as opposed to what I was worth a month or a year ago. Next year, I’m sure my threshold will be even higher. So get your bargain writer now!

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