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Damn Scope Creep

Discussion in 'Copywriting & Sales Persuasion' started by Reaver, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    So yesterday an old client of mine contacted me asking me to work on this project with him: rewriting 500 word articles for $1/100 words. I told him OK because I had some free time and I do need some work. So he sends me almost 20 articles for the first batch. I figured I'd be done with it by Sunday night.

    As I've been sick I've been trying to push through and get these assignments done. So I figured rewrites wouldn't be as hard to do as researching and writing content.

    I opened the first article to rewrite. Guess what? It's about 100 words long.

    That means if I want to make it to 500 words I'd have to add research to it to the tune of 400+ more words.

    Not for a penny per word.

    I wrote him back and told him kindly but firmly that I would finish this batch because I didn't want to leave him in a rut, but I would not continue working on the project beyond this weekend. The reason is I value my time and my skills and I would never cheapen my skills by doing this kind of work for this price.

    This project is not straight rewriting. It is scope creep, and if I don't put my foot down he will continue to do this to me.

    I know a lot of people don't feel that way but I also know a lot of writers who do. We set a minimum amount and that's what we work for. It's important, as a writer - and as a freelancer in general - to put your foot down. If people want what's outside of the scope of the project, they're going to have to pay for it.

    Don't be so desperate for money that you wind up overworking yourself for what only amounts to a few dollars. I see lots of freelancers making that mistake, and this is why contracts are important. But even if you don't have a contract, don't be afraid to put your foot down. If you don't clearly define your boundaries, you will always attract clients that want to do nothing but take advantage of you.

    Just words of advice from someone who has been doing this for nearly 10 years.
     
  2. dankerman666

    dankerman666 Regular Member

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    I run into the same problem for my paid guest posting gigs, the want the moon but don't want to assign the budget to get there. It's ridiculous!
     
  3. TheSlug

    TheSlug Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I've learned you get what you pay for. If you underpay someone it's not going to be what you want.
    Good job on letting them know your position
     
  4. Cshark

    Cshark Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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  5. codexehow

    codexehow Power Member

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    I'll tell you a secret: clients who are willing to pay a fair rate are the easiest to work with. It seems paradoxical, but the more money you demand, the less trouble they will give you.

    I think it's because they assume if you're charging that much, you must know what you're doing.

    Most of the people who pay $10-$50 an article are struggling Internet marketers. A lot of them have no idea what they're doing. This is why scope screen becomes such a huge problem at the lower pay rates.

    You want to work with professionals with big bank roles or decision makers who have access to the budget.

    I know it can be tempting to work for $5 an article when you need the money, but you're just shooting yourself in the foot. If you're going to make it in this biz, you're going to have to get to the point where you can charge at least .10 per word. If you know you're already worth that, then make a website and start collecting testimonials by doing some cheap work. It's worth it in maybe that one circumstance. Then advertise on LinkedIn, targeting decision makers.

    LinkedIn isn't cheap, but if your site, testimonials and work samples are solid, you shouldn't spend too much. These people need a good writer who understands content marketing, SEO and social media, and they need that writer yesterday.

    Let's see....what else? Always, always get money up front. Beyond the practical reason of having some security, it shows the client that you value yourself and your time. This is huge. Respect yourself, and no one will try to walk all over you. If someone insists that you work for nothing up front, just end the conversation. They can go back to UpDesk or UpWork or w/e that company is calling itself now.

    For context, I charge $400 per month. 8 blog posts or articles per month, 2 per week. That's a bit undervalued for my skill level, too. In my case, I don't farm anything out, so I went with a bit lower price to get the odd 10 clients I need to make $48,000 a year from this. It's not my only source of income, and it's good and stable. I work it five days a week, 4-6 hours per day. Plenty of time to pursue passive income streams.

    Keep your clients happy by giving unexpected value and they will be loyal to you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  6. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I'm only doing this to fund the marketing I need for my ebook. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing this. I've learned about respecting myself and my skills long ago, and I realize this is my fault that I got caught up in this. I assumed this was just straight rewriting, as that's what he told me. And since I would never leave a client in a bind by dropping a project 24 hours before it's due, I'm going to finish these articles. But after I finish this project I'm done with this client. Period.

    That aside, I'm not trying to write content for a living anymore. Only to fund projects. I have an end game, and this is just a means to an end. But for other people looking to make a living off of content writing, your advice is practical.

    Thank you. :)