I try not to talk as much as I used to about how much freelance writers make. It is one of those debates that is easy to get sucked into, but where no one ever changes their mind no matter what someone else says. I try to keep an open mind, though and am always willing to listen to what other professional writers have to say on the matter.
The biggest difference between those who claim that writing for Demand Studios means taking too little pay for writing gigs and those who claim that Demand Studios is worth it for writers who know how to maximize their writing production on the website is the manner in which the writer looks at their pay.
Some writers focus on some sort of annual income from writing that they want to achieve and then break that down into a minimum hourly rate that they have to earn from their writing in order to be successful in the writing business. Others focus on a project by project basis and have a pre-considered notion of how much any given piece of writing is worth — or should be worth — and then refuse to accept writing gigs that do not meet their minimum pay rate.
Then there are freelance writers like me. When I quit my job as a senior-level computer systems engineer, I was making just over $80K per year. When I quit my financial planning jobs I was making an amount that varied (commissions or fees from a varying number of clients is how all financial advisors are paid) from $35K to maybe $65,000 or $75,000 per year. The quick math for converting an annual salary to an hourly wage is to divide by 2 and then take off the thousand. (Or for those of you who like your salary formulas to be more formally stated mathematically, you divide by 2 and then divide the resulting number by $1,000.)
In other words, $80,000 per year works out to roughly $40 per hour. Likewise, $70K is $35 per hour and $35K is just $17.50 per hour.
What it comes down to for me, is that I think I am more comfortable when I’m earning closer to the higher end of that scale than the bottom end. Figure in things like self-employment taxes and business expenses and the higher paid salaries is the only way to go.
When I look at something like Demand Studios and their $15 per article pay rate, I think about how many I can write in an hour and how much that works out to as a per hour pay rate.
If I can (and I can when I am on it) write four Demand Studios articles in one hour, that is a pay rate of $60 per hour. That isn’t awesome, but I don’t think that anyone would complain about that either.
If I pump out three articles in one hour, the pay drops to $45 per hour and, of course, two articles in an hour is just $30 per hour.
However, all of those numbers are higher than the hourly pay I would earn doing almost anything else that I could get hired for under conditions that would be acceptable to me.
For example, I’m not interested in working 8 to 5 on Monday to Friday. I have young kids and I want to see them more than that. I know for a lot of people that schedule isn’t an option, and I respect them for being able to support their families in that way, because I know what they are giving up.
So, even if I crank out just two Demand Studios freelance writing assignments in an hour, it’s hard to complain about $30 per hour since they have no requirements of any kind on when, how, or, why I take assignments. About the only factor there is requires that I complete the assignments I take in about five days.
If I don’t meet the deadline? Nothing happens! The articles just go back into the pool where someone else can take them. Talk about no downside.
Still, every once and a while I have to kick myself for something I wrote for Demand Studios. It isn’t that I wrote something that wasn’t good enough — heck, how bad does something have to be before its worth less than $15? — but because it was too good. More specifically, because I spent too much time on it.
Ironically, this happens most frequently on the stuff I am best at writing. I get into it, I know enough to know what the exceptions, the gotchas, and the nuances are, and I end up writing about them. Next thing you know, I’ve written a piece on how to value bonds that is good enough for Money Magazine (maybe )
By then, I may as well submit it, because it isn’t worth my time to go find a home somewhere else for it (besides I could write it again in an hour if anyone every wanted something similar) so I end up submitting it anyway. The really funny part is that these way-better-than-what-you-normally-see on Demand Studios’ websites are the ones that editors want me to make changes to because the really great information I gave away for cheap doesn’t have the right sources, or it goes too far and therefore “isn’t focused on the question in the title.”
I bite my tongue and delete whatever they complain about rather than re-writing anything. They almost always take the resubmission. I guess when it comes back in having addressed all of their concerns, but not as good as it was in the first place, maybe they figure they shouldn’t have asked for changes after all and that it is still good enough (or better) to find a place on one of their SEO optimized pages as search bait.
Sometimes, you won’t make your freelance writing goal rate for the hour, the week, or even the month. But, if you keep doing the right things, it all works out in the end. Try not to let it bother you, and if you really just can’t let it go, try and squeeze a blog post out of it. You’ll get credit for having a frequently updated site from the searchies and maybe it will generate some passive online writing income for you to help compensate you for that extra time
Have a good day writing, all.