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Learning More Lessons About Writing

Posted by on Aug 19, 2009

As most of you know, I’ve been talking more lately about writing for others. Indeed, I have been making money writing articles, and I have some blogging clients also.

The thing is, there are two problems with my model. One, I’m not generating the kind of money I thought I’d be generating; two, some of the things I’ve been asked to write about have been, well, kind of impossible for me to write on.

That’s hard to admit to because when I first announced I would do writing services, I assumed there wouldn’t be a topic I couldn’t write on. What I hadn’t thought about was if there’s no information to research on, then I’m stuck. And trust me, not everything is on the internet, it would seem.

So, this weekend, I went to the Digital Point forum to ask a general question about how much research people do on topics that seem impossible to write on, especially when asked about specific keywords and the like. I got some responses, and they seemed, well, a little harsh. Still, I decided to write two of the people private messages to explain to them what I was talking about and what I was getting paid.

Both of them enlightened me. They both said that I’m basically giving my writing away; I was stunned. I did know I was underpaid, but I hadn’t realized by how much I’ve been underpaid. If I were getting paid the rates that I should, research time becomes affordable, and easier because people aren’t asking for stupid stuff.

It was something I needed to hear, and sometimes something we all need to hear. With my main business, or what up to now has been my main business, I knew how to price my services because I understood just how exclusive they were. With writing, I thought I had to compete with the low ball folks and scratch out my living by trying to write so many articles that my mind goes nuts. Nope; turns out that, based on what some of these folks have been doing, and are recommending to me, I could actually make a very good living writing as few as 10 articles a week.

Wow; that would be great! I could still write my blogs, still have blogging clients because I enjoy that, but I could drop all the low dollar writing gigs and concentrate on other stuff all around. Man, life would be sweet doing that.

I share this with y’all because most of us go along doing things that we think is the right way to do it, only to learn that someone else is doing it easier than we are, and succeeding. This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my affiliate marketing either; I have plans for doing more of that, as well as plans for adding at least two new blogs into my repertoire. It does mean, though, that I’m ready to embrace a new mind shift towards bigger and better things.

Anyone got a problem with that? 😀

Team Jerseys

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Hey Mitch,

Raising your price is all well and good, but will people pay it — that’s the key. If they are, you’ve just unlocked the key. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with starting low and working your way up (price wise) — especially if your writing articles outside your field of expertise.

Best of luck, keep us posted on how it goes.


August 19th, 2009 | 11:16 AM

Hi Tim,

It seems to depend on where you go as to what people will pay. For instance, will people who are building content websites to throw Adsense up on them pay; probably not. Will someone writing a reputable magazine that charges advertisers thousands of dollars to put their ads in them want to pay more for good content; probably yes. The needs are much different for each; one just has to find those other people to write for, which is my quest.

August 19th, 2009 | 2:04 PM

For some people it’s enough just to earn a few bucks for an article with a few hundred words in it. I might say it’s a bit cheap, but if it’s your first money earned online, it’s still a milestone 🙂

Quality costs – so if you’re good, I hope you will be able to charge more in the future!
.-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..3 Article Headline Techniques That Will Bring A Flood Of Traffic To Your Site =-.

August 19th, 2009 | 3:48 PM

I think I’m pretty good, but you don’t always know. I’ll say this; even when one guy rejected some articles I wrote for him because he said they weren’t what he wanted, he still said they were written well. I’ve done the cheap writing, and now I’m read for bigger and better things.

August 19th, 2009 | 9:33 PM

I’ve had quite a few articles written since my quest in Internet Marketing started. Lately, I’ve been building up my “thin” niche sites with content and finding decent article/post writers is difficult!

Right now there are 2 I’m using! One cost a little more than the other but I can have the article(s) in less that 24 hours.. the other is cheaper but may take a week!

Having said that… you could do VERY well Mitch!
.-= Jake´s last blog ..Find a Great Niche – Right Under Your Nose! =-.

August 19th, 2009 | 5:50 PM

Truthfully Jake, people get what they pay for almost all the time. The thing I don’t want to continue doing is putting a ton of effort into something that’s not paying me enough to live off. Yeah, I make money in other ways, but this is kind of a career change, and I have a long way to go before I’m touching upon what I used to make.

August 19th, 2009 | 9:35 PM

hi Mitch,
You raise very good points, and I agree with all of them. You should only do something if you enjoy it and it pays well enough to make it worthwhile… otherwise, find something else. And you are also correct, it depends on what writing field you are competing in as to what you can charge. I would target the magazine field as you mention… there are people that will pay for quality. ~ Steve, the trade show guru
.-= Trade Show Guru´s last blog ..According to Chuck Norris =-.

August 19th, 2009 | 10:40 PM

Thanks for your comment, Steve. I’ve seen some things out there, so I’m going for it. Course, I was turned down flat by Demand Studios the other day to become a writer for them; sheesh! 🙁

August 20th, 2009 | 12:04 AM

10 articles a week for financial stability? Damn that actually sounds pretty good, lol! Damn my dyslexia 😛

If you can do it, then great. Personally, I’m not a big fan of writing stuff that I don’t want to, if you know what I mean. I always hated writing essays and things, but loved writing short stories and anything I enjoyed. Best of luck to you though Mitch! You could indeed make a pretty penny!
.-= Dan´s last blog ..The Competition is Looming =-.

August 20th, 2009 | 5:48 AM

Thanks Dan. Actually, if I only had to rely on article writing it might not be enough. Luckily, there’s other ways I make little bits of money here and there, so that would help it out some.

August 20th, 2009 | 7:24 PM
John Dilbeck:

Good morning, Mitch.

Good for you. You deserve to be paid well when you research a topic and write a good article or blog post about it.

I learned from both my consulting and blacksmithing businesses that there are always people who are willing to pay for quality and good service. When you price yourself too low, they suspect that you don’t offer either of them.

In both cases, when I doubled my prices, I lost quite a few clients/customers, but, surprisingly, the ones I lost were the ones that complained the most about how much I charged and they were the least likely to be satisfied.

When I doubled my prices, again, the same thing happened, but new people found me and they were positive and appreciative.

I’m always happy to leave the whiners and complainers behind and to meet new people who appreciate what I can do for them.

It can be a hard thing to do, especially when the immediate effect is less income, but I think you’ll do well to charge a good price for a good service.

Act on your dream!


August 20th, 2009 | 9:10 AM

You’re right, John, it’s sometimes hard to value yourself. For my main profession, when I first started I valued myself fairly low, based on the technical expertise I have. Then, with one guy, I valued myself at a rate that I felt I deserved, and he paid it. Not everyone pays, it, because some hospitals are in financial distress, but I get paid well when I get to do the work. So, I just need to carry that over into these other businesses I try to do for myself.

August 20th, 2009 | 8:15 PM
Chris Peterson:

Mitch, I believe the idea of being underpaid must have been disheartening. However, I completely believe it is essential to have a clear idea about goals in terms of priority: writing or money: love or success in basic terms. Clarity will help you deal with it better.

August 21st, 2009 | 6:41 AM

Well Chris, I had thought I was underpaid, but then I got into kind of a groove and wasn’t thinking about it all that much, just asking myself why my brain felt overly tired. So, now there’s a bit more clarity.

August 21st, 2009 | 3:27 PM

I wonder too Mitch if the fact that you were charging such low rates meant that certain people were not taking you seriously?
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Does An Employer Have The Right To Drug Test Prospective Employees =-.

August 25th, 2009 | 10:25 PM

It’s possible, but I don’t know that any of those people actually paid much attention to who I was, since they didn’t know my name. But maybe with some changes, one of which I’ll be writing about soon, things will start to pick up.

August 25th, 2009 | 10:42 PM

For me, the quality of freebies on the internet relates mostly to the expertise and follow-up styles of the people who’ve authored them. I’ve found some completely crappy useless photoshop tutorials that a three year old would find patronising and which really shouldn’t have been put online, and then have found a fast, step by step painting tutorial by an incredible artist and been disappointed because he no longer maintains his blog. I do think that if there is a freebie, then it’s important that there is some follow up. I talk here about art because it’s my area of experience and interest. I can’t really talk about other areas.

I’ve got one freebie on my blog, which is a taster for people of a book I’m writing, a photoshop tuition book. The first lesson is completely free and it took me a long time to write as I had to illustrate it with screenshots every step of the way. That cut into my concentration as, really, the right hemisphere processes art activity and the left hemisphere processes analytical activity. So it was incredibly slow, much slower than if I were, for instance just painting or just writing.

As for how much one ‘should’ get for free, or should expect for free, I think it depends entirely on the author of that freebie – how much are they willing to give? I am quite upfront in telling people that the reason I have my freebie there on my blog is partly because I like to help people and partly as a sales incentive. I have to really steel myself against putting more parts of the tuition there free! I’d love to, but I’d like my art to pay for itself.

June 24th, 2010 | 8:21 AM

One always acknowledges that when you get something free and it doesn’t satisfy what you wanted, hey, it was free. Even if you had to give someone your email address to get it, the thing was still free. And at least half the free things out there have ulterior motives. For instance, if someone signs up for my newsletter, they get something free, but I have a new subscriber to my newsletter, which is also free.

June 24th, 2010 | 2:37 PM