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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Inside A Real-Life Freelance Job Interview Exchange

I recently got an email from a freelancer copywriter (who shall remain anonymous) I look up to for advice, insight and how to play the professional payment game. This individual easily commands top rates, so I was rather surprised to discover s/he even has to contend with this type of situation. Sadly, it seems, we all do.

THE INCITING SCENARIO

The aforementioned copywriter receives a message from someone who as been referred to her/him and who is looking for a "suitable copywriter." Said copywriter is amenable to offering up some names but wants to know more. This is where s/he asks for a ballpark payment figure. The inquirer writes back with the offer of around $15 for 400 words "maybe more" if research is involved. BAD move!

THE COMMUNICATION DETERIORATES

The copywriter and her/his contact exchange in a back-and-forth debate about how ridiculous (or not, depending on the perspective) that offer is, with the emailer resorting to the good old: "I wouldn't have thought it would take much longer than 15 minutes to write a 400 word article, at $20 an article, that is still $80/hr, which works out at something around $200k/yr, isn't that still quite good pay?"

When the copywriter breaks down the numbers, pointing out the error of the emailer's ways, the emailer counters with, "I meant no offense, it's just that's how much my current copy writer charges me who is based in the US."

THE TAKEAWAY

The copywriter is, deservedly, angry but quickly realizes it's not entirely the inquirer's fault for harboring such sentiments. The final sentiment s/he wanted to get across to both the emailer and fellow copywriters is this: "The only reason many of these people offer such low rates is because all the writers willing to work for such rates have trained them to expect it. So, in that case, can you blame them?"

Precisely! As a prospective client said to me the other day, if you don't believe in yourself (and your worth), who will?

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8 Comments:

At May 5, 2011 at 1:43 AM, Blogger Angie said...

Sad but true. :(

 
At May 5, 2011 at 12:00 PM, Blogger Star Lawrence said...

People take this crap--or else these so-called employers lie-- but they all say they have plenty of takers if you question the rate. I think that response is in their Cheeseball Handbook.

 
At May 5, 2011 at 12:34 PM, Blogger Irreverent Freelancer said...

On the bidding sites at least, there is a Cheeseball Handbook for sure. One of my favorites: "This is an easy project for someone who knows what they're doing."

 
At May 6, 2011 at 11:47 AM, Blogger Star Lawrence said...

Leaving aside the fact that someone who knows what they are doing is worth MORE money.

 
At May 10, 2011 at 5:02 PM, Blogger Lori said...

And yet the skeptic in me wonders if this US-based copy writer isn't mythical in nature. I've had people pull out similar writers when defending their rates, to which I've said, "Then why advertise? Either they're as good as you're paying them or they're nonexistent."

Actually, I say that to myself. To them I say "I'm a professional - this isn't a hobby, it's my career."

The price is the price is the price is....

 
At May 14, 2011 at 2:15 AM, Anonymous Peter Wise said...

Ask for a ballpark figure and if they're way off, don't even try to discuss it - just walk away. It's simply not worth arguing.

 
At September 5, 2011 at 6:23 AM, Anonymous thesis writing help said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At November 7, 2011 at 10:32 PM, Anonymous Andrew Smith said...

Freelancing is a good source of income. According to the blog that I have read (Freelancing Can Be a Career Option for New Graduates) is a good choice after graduating since there are many people in the market who are so eager to have jobs at the same time.

 

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