If you’ve been freelance writing for some time now, you know that it’s a challenge to live comfortably with a variable income. How many times have you stayed up at night wondering how you’re going to get by until the next paycheck comes? Probably far too many times.
If only your client paid you more. If only you had more time to write (and get paid more). If only your pitches didn’t get rejected. If only. These thoughts never fail to cross my mind when money is slowly dwindling away from my bank account. And rightfully so, because every freelance writer should always think about a better way to earn.
For a long time, my income cycle has been so erratic that I was tempted to look for a regular day job. But I wanted to make freelancing work, so I made some drastic moves instead. It was this moment in my career when I learned one simple secret to boosting my freelance writing income.
Are you ready? Here it is: Get a low-paying, quick-to-do writing gig.
Let me just clarify by saying that this gig should be on top of your main writing gigs. It should also be writing gigs that are easy for you to do, which won’t take up too much of your time. Some examples for these are writing product descriptions, news reports, short essays and press releases. If you’ve ever browsed Craigslist, it’s very likely you’ve come across these jobs.
The great thing about these types of writing jobs is that they generally don’t have strict qualifications. Maybe some of them will require a couple of clips, but there are some that’s open to anyone who’s willing to get the job done. So if ever you’re at your wits’ end trying to make ends meet with your freelance writing income, consider getting that $15 per article gig that you used to scoff at. It just might save your sanity. Depending on where you are in your freelance writing career, $15 might be too little. So remember that “low-paying” is a relative term. What’s low-paying for you might be acceptable for me.
To accept a writing job that’s lower than what you’re currently being paid for is not failure. It is simply an option for you to help with your immediate financial needs. Sometimes, you gotta do what gotta do. You have absolutely nothing to lose when you accept gigs that might pay lower than you prefer, except maybe a few hours of your time. Who knows — you might even get referrals from these gigs. In fact, if these gigs offer a byline (and they normally do), then you even get more clips for your portfolio.
But wait — remember that these gigs are supposed to be temporary. When food is on the table and bills are (finally) paid, keep working to get better and higher-paying gigs. When you do, then by all means — drop the low-paying one and move on to a bigger, more reliable income stream. Whether you skip the low-paying gigs or not, getting better-paying gigs should always be the center of your marketing efforts. There is nothing wrong with taking filler gigs to help tide you over, but don’t think it’s the only kind of pay you deserve. Look for greener pastures, but don’t be afraid to walk around paler ones.