7 Popular Freelance Writing Myths

Photo courtesy of China Daily Show

Photo courtesy of China Daily Show

Have you ever fallen for a freelance writing myth that encouraged you to take on cheap work?

I have.

And unfortunately, many other good freelance writers have also had the (dis)pleasure of writing for pennies because of these viral freelance writing myths. Unfortunately, it’s many freelance writers simply aren’t educated about which “facts” about the freelance writing marketplace are actually not true.

Here are 7 of the most popular freelance writing myths:

You should accept low pay if you receive work in bulk

Many clients will promise you lots of work – provided that you work for horrendously low rates. While on one hand, some writers may be lured to the safety of having a long term contract even if they can’t make any money from it, the truth is that this won’t help you.  Far from being happy about having “steady work”, you will more likely become frustrated at being locked into a long term contract with low paying work, which will distract you from seeking higher paid work. Instead of working for pennies, you would have been better off marketing your services in order to attract higher paying work.


(Low rate) is the going rate for freelance writing

Don’t be fooled – the going rate for good freelance writing is NOT 1/2/3 cents per word. In fact, the Editorial Association for Freelancers advises that that the average rate for non specified writing  is 20 cents per word. In Ed Gandia’s freelance writing report, over half of all freelance writers made more than $50 per hour. In other words, the low, low rates that cheap freelance clients pay is only the going rate for cheap freelance writing…nothing more!


You can write fast enough to make low paying work worthwhile

If you depend only on low paying clients, then you will find it difficult to make enough money to survive.  Despite what you’ve been told, even if you’re a fast writer it will be difficult to keep up the pace of writing more than a couple freelance articles per day. In order to make the national average wage, at a penny a word you’d have to write at least 5 500 word articles per hour. If that sounds exceptionally difficult, that’s because it is! Instead of trying to rush and sacrificing quality for quantity, it’s far better to take fewer articles at a higher rate of pay, allowing you to spend more time and effort on your writing, which will lead you to create work of a far higher quality.


There’s no other well paid writing work available

Believe it or not, there are plenty of decent paying writing gigs available. In fact, there are simply hundreds of resources that show writers multiple sources of work that pays a decent rate, such as Bamidele Onibalusi’s list of websites that  pay well. If you’re desperate for a paycheck, then you may have to accept a low paying gig. However, you should always be scouting around for higher paying opportunities, which will guarantee that you don’t get stuck in a low paying rut.


You have to write for pennies if you want to advance your career

This popular freelance writing myth is one that’s pushed  a lot by the especially low paying clients. They advertise how easy it is for even newbies to get their gig – provided that they work for penny a word or less rates. The true advantage, they claim, is the experience and clips that you’ll get.

In the first place, if a client is paying you a penny a word or less, then they themselves probably do not have a very prestigious/decent website. Not only that, but these clients most likely won’t allow you to write anything within your niche or field. As a result, you’re left with a low paying gig that won’t advance your career in any way. Popular freelance writer and blogger Tom Ewer has great advice on how to advance your career without relying on low paying work.


The cheap clients have lots of other great writers available

No they don’t. The writers on cheap client’s teams often consist of non-English speakers who can barely string a sentence together. Because of the fact that these clients hire on price, the cheapest workers are often those from lower paying countries who can survive on the low budgets that the penny pinching clients pay. This often leads to low paying clients having inferior content.


There are fewer freelance writing opportunities available

Every other day I’ll see another freelance writer complaining about how bad things are getting – about how their previous freelance writing watering holes have dried up, or about how they no longer can rely on their past freelance writing clients. And while they may have a point, the truth is that there are more freelance writing opportunities available than ever! The omnipresence of the internet allows even those with a relatively small budget to set aside a few hundred dollars monthly to pay freelance writers a decent wage. This means that there are actually more freelance writing opportunities than at any other time!



Here’s the truth: you don’t have to write for a penny per word. Moving up the freelance ladder is solely dependent on you, and the work that you want to put into your career.

What are some of the popular freelance writing myths that you’ve heard? Please let me know in the comment section below!

4 comments on “7 Popular Freelance Writing Myths

  1. monmonkun says:

    hi mr. daryl. i saw your guest post on makealivingwriting. that’s why i’m able to follow you here :D

    i’ve been a freelance web content writer for more than a year. and i am one of those writers from lower paying countries. i’m from philippines, and a non-english speaker :D

    when i was a noob, i accepted a dollar payment for every 500-word post. i didn’t have an idea about article rates that time. but i found out sooner that we, filipino writers, are not paid in a humane and justifiable rate. so i struggle to find higher paying clients. unfortunately, up to this date, i could only find clients who pay $3 per 500-word post.

    though i’m not a native english speaker, in a way, i could construct decent english paragraphs. english is always my favorite subject in school. but i admit that i still don’t have the perfect grammar.

    i’m reading a lot of blogs on how to make a living through writing because i want to find higher paying clients. i’m not good at finding clients though :| i didn’t try odesk, elance, and freelancer because most of the offers there are also extremely low.

    i’ll visit your blog more often to learn more about the field of freelance writing :)
    monmonkun recently posted…Beelzebub 230 – A Mother Always WorriesMy Profile

    • Daryl George says:

      Hey Monmonkun,

      To be honest, I think that it is extremely important to have better than average writing skills if you’re really going to succeed as a writer. The higher paying jobs are going to require people who have either really great results or native speaking level English skills, so if you have neither it may be a difficult nut to crack.

      keep working on your English, start maybe pitching a few guest posts, and I’m sure you’ll make it!



  2. O'Brian Gunn says:

    While I haven’t heard any myths that you haven’t already covered, I was one of the many freelance writers who got their start in content mills. At first I was thrilled to be making money in the comfort of my own home while using my degree, but eventually it lost its allure and I started looking for more. While I’m technically still working for a content mill, I get paid much better.

    I first noticed you at the “Be a Freelance Blogger” website/blog, which I’ve been exploring more since I’m ready to take the next step in my freelance writing journey.

    I think it’s essential for freelance writers to know that they don’t have to work for pennies and accept lackluster clients simply because they’re new to the game. If you’ve got a skill that other people are willing to pay you for, then there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be paid well for it as long as you’re willing to produce your absolute best work every time.

    I wish the best of luck to you in your journey, Daryl! Hopefully we’ll both become freelance writing successes.

    Take care,

    O’Brian Gunn recently posted…“My Life, My Life, My Life in the Sunshine”My Profile

    • Daryl George says:

      Hey O’Brian,

      It’s definitely important for freelance writers to know that they don’t have to play the “cheap writer” card in order to get work.

      The best of luck to you as well!

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