This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

This will be a very boring post.  I wrote it for myself, and I'm only sharing it on the off chance that others are in the same predicament and might commiserate with me.  I'm in a financial funk again.  My freelance work has apparently ended thanks to Google and their revamping of their analytics several months ago.  The site that I had been writing for was consistently hitting page one after all of the writing I had done for the client and I was really proud of that.  Then Google changed the rules and my client is still trying to figure out what the heck she is supposed to do now to get back where we were.  The new year has brought new expenses and the little bit of extra income that was helping so much is gone (at least for now).  I am seriously considering writing a form letter and sending it out to every business that could possibly need a freelance writer on call in my area to try and drum up some more business, but the problem with that is an act of that sort of desperation makes me look, well, desperate.  And if I look desperate, then I run a sincere risk of being taken advantage of.  So, what's a snarky freelance writer to do?

Vent on her blog, of course.

I sometimes look at e-Lance or job boards to get an idea of what's out there and I am always shocked at what people think that ideas and written words are worth.  Presumably, you would hire a freelance writer to write for you because you either are not capable of writing in the style that you want, you cannot write in complete sentences, or you are too busy to write the content that you need.  Yet despite the fact that writing is a talent that you either do not possess or one that you lack the time to use, you think that it is acceptable to pay next to nothing for someone else to do this for you.  (Not my client -- she was awesome and I hope that she will need me again soon).  There are literally thousands of jobs out there for freelance writers, but they don't pay anything close to what they're worth.  Writing freelance requires more than the ability to write in the proper verb tense.  You have to be a researcher, a fact checker, an editor, and a proofreader.  Depending on what I am writing about, I may have to spend hours researching the subject matter.  While writing about it usually comes fairly easily for me, I cannot write about what I do not know.  Also, because I write conversationally, my writing has to be proofread (usually out loud) and then edited (usually extensively since I like to include everything that I found interesting even if it isn't necessary for the article).   The typical offered price for these writing jobs is somewhere between $0.01 and $0.07 cents per word, and the jobs are bid upon.  Clients will most likely take the lowest bid -- that's just the nature of the beast.  But here's the problem -- the lowest bidder may not actually be any better at writing than the client hiring them and the old adage is true that you get what you pay for.  My general bid is $0.05 per word because I have to weigh not just the time that it takes to write, edit, and proofread, but also the amount of research that is required.  A client may only want a 500 word article which requires me to be concise, or they may want multiple articles on the same subject which requires me to be creative so that they all contain the same information without sounding the same, or they want me to follow a certain template which requires me to adapt my writing style to fit their requirements.  All of these things are well within my abilities, but I won't do them for free (or close to free) so I don't win bids.  I won't spend 4 hours to research and write a 1,000 word article for $5 or $10.  

So why don't I go get a job as a writer where I get a salary and work 8-5, you may wonder?  Well, because I have 4 kids.  Just since Christmas, I have had at least one kid home sick on 3 separate occasions and if I'd had an office job, I would have had to call in for 4 days.  In a month.  In about 4 months, I'd have to quit because my kids would be home all day everyday for Summer and I could not earn enough to make paying thousands of dollars in childcare worth working at all.  My ideal job would be from home.  I would be available a few days a week to come into the office, but for the most part I need the flexibility of telecommuting to make any long-term employment worth mine or any potential employer's time.  I know that the "Look out for number one" attitude that is so prevalent in the world today says to get a job and milk it for all it's worth for the next 4 months and then quit in time to stay home with my kids for the Summer, but I just cannot do that with a clear conscious.  So I am left looking for a job where I can contribute to the company that I work for while still fitting the unique needs of my situation.  

While I have done some temp work in the past, I know what I lose going that route -- money.  The client pays the temp agency $20 per hour and I get $10-12.  I'd much rather work directly for an employer and they can split the difference and pay me $15 per hour.  I don't need benefits -- heck, I don't even need a desk as I would work from home whenever possible and only come into the office when absolutely necessary.

Maybe a mass email to area HR departments isn't a bad idea after all....

1 comment:

vanyave said...

The mark up for temp agencies for temp workers is usually 1.5 and most employers don't mind paying that mark up because it absolves them of a lot of issues if they hired you themselves. Technically, as a temp, you work for the agency, so things like workers comp, benefits, etc. fall to the agency to provide/cover, not the employer. Also, the agencies are the ones who have to spend the time/money finding the employee for the employer. Unfortunately, as a temp, you are expendable, so taking a day or two off to care for a sick kid (or even yourself) means that they can replace you on a whim.

I don't think it would hurt to send letters to HR departments offering your services. The only thing they can do is say no and since it was a long shot anyways, it's no skin off your nose.