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Why You Shouldn't Write For Low Wages

By Edited Nov 26, 2016 2 3

Do you love writing and think you’re getting paid enough for your efforts? There’s nothing that pisses me off more in the world on online writing than low payments for our work. In this article you’ll find out why you shouldn’t write for low payments and why this trend is bringing down our value as writers.

Writing for Peanuts

I used to write for a site that paid decent enough for 400 words of work. The payment was quite low but it was for work that didn’t take any effort on my part. In these cases, writing for a low wage isn’t that bad, assuming you can crank out the article in just a few minutes of work. I did make some decent money for my efforts but the site changed. The site decided to drop the payments down to a measly $1.00 for 400 words of work. Just one whole dollar for my efforts isn’t even worth my time. In fact the payment I was getting  before really wasn’t worth my time, but I needed the money. Due to this change in policy I spend a good amount of time in the forums letting my voice be heard, it wasn’t pretty. To sit at my desk and write 400 or so words for one whole dollar was an insult to me as a writer. How can anyone expect good quality content that will matter to a client if you’re only going to give me one dollar? I can go to my local dumpster and bring out more money in less time.

When Low Payments are Fine

Sometimes when you join a content site you can’t get any decent jobs unless you prove yourself by writing for lower payments. In this case it’s fine to do some work for a lower rate. Once you are proven, you shouldn’t accept any low payments from anyone. A low payment means you’re not worthwhile. Your writing matters and you should be compensated appropriately for your work. You should never accept a low payment unless it’s something that will take you a very short amount of time to write. Let’s say “Five Steps to Tie Your Shoes.” This is something you can do in a short amount of time but still it really isn’t worth it to take a low payment even for that. If you need the build that portfolio then take the slave work until you have proven yourself on the site.

Work for $5 Trend

One thing that disturbs me even more is the current trend of micro payment sites which bring down the art of writing even further. I can understand that sometimes we just need money and will do about anything to get it, but working for five bucks for anything isn’t worth it. Most of the time these sites want SEO optimized content about subjects you need to research and spend time on. Now is this really worth it for five bucks? Let’s say you get a job stacking shelves in a grocery store, would you take five dollars for that? Not only is the five dollars not worth it but I have seen things such as “Will write 3 SEO 500 word articles for $5.” Now this isn’t someone from India or the bowels of Bangladesh here asking for this work, it’s Western. Think of how much time you need to put in to make that article appropriate for the client. It’s worth at least ten or twenty at the very least for your time to do a good job. 

Writing is a Job Not Slavery

You matter as a writer, and you’re not a slave. Writing is serious business and you need to treat it as a business. You’re self-employed most of the time and when you take on a client, YOU deserve compensation for the work. Taking these pathetic wages not only shoots yourself in the foot financially, but it brings down the entire writing profession. “Hi we are slaves, we will write for nothing!” If we are to clean up the garbage online and bring online writing into the mainstream as a legitimate job, then we damn well need to be compensated for it. Get paid for what you’re doing but make sure you get paid well for doing it, anything less is waste of your time. Now go out there and be a writer.

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Comments

Mar 15, 2012 3:36pm
alwritetea
Huzzah! Thank you for writing this! There are a lot of people who get so self righteous about working for so little...I can't understand it either. Especially after you've been paid WELL for an assignment or piece of work. Once it happens, there's no going back!

Great article, thumbs up!
Oct 2, 2012 6:30pm
claudslewis
Good job with this article. When I was starting out freelancing I couldn't believe how low the rates were on some sites. Fortunately, I quickly found a better avenue for my skills and am so glad I did. Clients also need to realize that they won't get quality work if they pay peanuts.
Nov 23, 2012 9:14am
MarkRiegen
"You get what you pay for" firmly applies to the world of writing. Content is KING and with Google's constant algorithm updates...good luck with spam content and article spinning.
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