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A Guide For Freelance Writers: How Not To Get Underpaid


If you are planning to start your career in the world of freelancing, then it is important that you know how to protect yourself from being exploited. What I mean by exploited is that you don’t want to get underpaid by your clients.

From time to time, you will get some clients who are rather stingy and unwilling to pay at a standard rate (depending on your job nature, this could vary). This can be very annoying and frustrating for you as a freelancer. It is a dilemma – do you want to work and get paid a little or should you wait for the right opportunity? This will be a difficult decision if you are trying to earn a living out of it and there are clients who would simply exploit this. It is unethical of them, but it is not illegal. However, there are a few steps that you could take to avoid this.

Step 1

Look at your prospective client’s budget first. That’s the first thing that you should be looking at as a freelancer. If the rate is far from ideal, then it might be smart to not take that job. You should always set yourself a certain budget and you shouldn’t work under that rate. This helps you in protecting yourself from client’s exploitation.

Step 2

Discuss your prices with your client first, no matter what. It doesn’t matter how you approach this problem. As a freelancer, you could do it directly or indirectly and it doesn’t really matter. However, you must make sure that both parties agree to the proposed rate. Otherwise, I would suggest you to decline the job offer and simply look for other open jobs. It’s not worth your time if the budget is extremely low!

Step 3

Set milestones for work. There are times when clients would try and avoid setting milestones (in an attempt to get away from payment). You must be firm, but polite on this. Tell your client that you won’t be working unless there are certain milestones for the job. If necessary, you could ask for an upfront fee as well.

Step 4

If you develop a good working relationship with your client, then you could always discuss the rates. Clients would be more than happy to increase your rate if you are doing a good job for him! That’s the life of a freelancer!

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