Freelance writing is no joke. Ghost writing, when done properly, takes time. You must research the subject, research the company, and produce engaging web content, ezine articles, press releases and other marketing products that will enable your client to make money. This cannot be done by speeding through a job. It cannot be done by creating one article or page and then spinning. It cannot be done while you’re watching television. Well, it can be done but your client will have a pile of doo-doo that is useless.
Many Fiverr sellers don’t care if their product is useless and perhaps they have the right idea. If you don’t care, you can churn out more and more content, thus making you (versus the customer) money. Hopefully, they don’t realize this until well after the time limit on writing you a bad review has passed.
Today my housemate was asked if she could work on the price of her press releases. She already writes 400 words for the $3.80 she gets from Fiverr. What these potential buyers don’t realize is that by purchasing her gig over someone else’s they just bought for $3.80 a press release written by the same person who wrote them for 5 of the top companies in the US. Four years ago that 400 word press release would have gotten her $50 or $100 an hour. Thanks Fiverr and Freelancer, you’ve basically ruined the value of good writing and produced an economy of ne’er do wells who will spin not only articles but press releases over and over again.
I have to admit that I am angry on her behalf. The client wanted her to write 500 words for $3 a press release and in exchange she gets 24 releases to write.
Does the client even realize that the more you write on the same subject the harder it is? You lose creative momentum, you lose uniqueness. If someone takes that job, the client will end up with 3-4 good press releases and 19 pieces of total crap.
For the record, press releases are the first stop in company branding. This is not some crappy set of SEO articles that you shove onto to ezine to drive traffic. Yes, they are used to drive traffic to your website but if they are horrible no one will go.
I am so disappointed on her behalf right now that if I weren’t a lady I would grab her account and tell off the buyer.
Writing is a craft and deserves respect.
I also caution freelancers in general about taking gigs that they don’t want even when desperate for money. Unless we are willing to suck it up sometimes and say “no, I won’t work for that” we will end up working for less and less over time. These unreasonable and cheap buyers need to be stuck with only ESL (English as Second Language) writers if they’re going to pay so little.
The best manager I ever had in my life said to me once, the key is managing customer expectations. If you accept a $3 gig for 500 words, you’ll get $2 the next time, not $4. If you make them think that this project is doable all you’ll get is more work and less money because they found out just how little you value yourself.
Do you remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin? There was a beautiful maid whose father lied and said her weaving was so good she could spin even straw into gold. So the king made her prove it by shoving her in a room in the palace and asking her to spin a pile of straw into gold. Of course she couldn’t. Thus enters in the magical dwarf to do it at the price of her first born. Since her option is gold or death, she’s like-okaaayyyy. So he spins all night and–voila! Gold.
Does the king send her home for having accomplished the task? Hell to the no! Of course he puts her in a bigger room with more damn straw! Over and over this happens. If you don’t know how the story ends, go read it. It’s charming. The point of the story for freelance writers is this: if you work magic now, you will be expected to work bigger magic the next time. You will never be valued for it.
We all know how long it really takes to write a good article, blog post, web content, or press release so don’t sell yourself short. There will be someone who does appreciate what you do. That’s the client you want to cultivate.
And that’s the tea on unreasonable clients.