Living, Writing and Making Good Money as a Freelance Writer

Freelance WriterLiving, writing and making good money.  As a freelance writer, that’s what you’re looking to accomplish, don’t you?

But how?

Well, that’s what I’ve been deeply investigating these past few months, because I’m absolutely not interested in cheap gigs.

When it comes to freelance writing we could say that there is a 20% – 80% rule, which means that 20% of the freelance writers get the good paying writing jobs, while 80% write for peanuts.

I remember few years ago when I was slowly starting to write for others and asked for $20 for an article, some people would rise their eyebrows as in “are you crazy to ask for that much money?” So, being the ignorant newbie that I was, I would agree to write articles for as low as $3 to $5 for a 400-500 word article. Actually, I did that until 2011.

This is the worse mistake you could do, no matter how new of a freelance writer you are.

Thankfully, those days are over for me.  Today I won’t even write for $20 an article either. But why did I ever accept to write for less money than I could make even working a low paying  job? That’s the question I will try to answer for you here, if you are looking for way to make more money as a freelance writer.

In an upcoming post, I will be giving you some specific tips to get more high paying freelance writing gigs.

But first…

Why did I Used to Write for So Little Money?

The reason I was getting paid peanuts for my work is because I was listening to what I now call poisonous false information, that spreads the rumor that potential clients are able to get good articles for very low price, easily. What such false rumors are forgetting to add, though, is that those articles are actually of pretty bad quality.  They are cheap articles, full of grammar and spelling errors, very superficial or just rearranged duplicate content.

That’s WHY they sell at $3 an article, or less.

Another reason is that some companies in India or the Philippines hire very cheap labor who agree to write articles anywhere between $1-$5 per article, no matter how long the article may be.

They can write a whole eBook for less than $200.  But don’t forget that those companies are not in the business of delivering overly high quality content, but just content as in factory type product. In other words, forget about getting highly original content from them. That’s just NOT how they operate.

So, if you hear that you can get cheap freelance writing work done for excellent articles, that’s a false illusion.  I can speak for myself.  I’m not going to write the same type of article for $5 bucks as I would for $50.

Make sense?

If you’d go to any brick and mortar business, you wouldn’t get the same type of service for the lowest price range as you would for the highest price range.  I mean, frankly, would you?

It’s an understanding that the lower price always mean less, and the higher price always means more.  It’s the same thing with writing work. Someone charging more will take much more time doing research and writing good to excellent content. Someone writing for peanuts will do only superficial research if at all, and the quality will go down instantly.

As a freelance writer, don’t fall in the same trap I fell few years ago. don’t associate yourself with low quality content by accepting underpaying jobs.

What’s the Difference between a Cheap Writer and a Good Writer

A cheap writer tends to be everything to everyone.  Believe me, I know.   I’ve done that before. I thought it was cool to show that you could write about any topic under the sun, which in essence is fine, but that’s not what you want your potential good paying client see in you.


What you want your client see in you is that you are an expert in few specific topics. That’s how you want to promote yourself as a writer.

What is your expertise as a writer? Remember that cheap writers are the opposite of expert. They are no expert by any mean, they just try to put words together as best as they can for that price. That’s not what you want to be as a reputable freelance writer.

For example, my own expertise is blogging, writing, marketing, personal development, healthy eating, cats, and France.  I know those topics well.  However,  I don’t really care for clients that are interested in articles about the last iPhone app, or the best SEO techniques.

That’s not my area of expertise, and even though I could write an article about topics I don’t know, and I have.  This is not my expertise, and I’m not looking for this type of writing gigs. If you’re a serious client for a serious writer, you should be looking for writers that can deliver excellent content in what they know best.

Finding a Purpose For you Blog as a Freelance Writer

I’m sure you’ve read that before, but just in case, let me tell you this again.  If you are a freelance writer and don’t have a blog yet, you need to start one now.  This is of the up-most importance for a freelance writer.

I have to admit that for the longest time I wasn’t sure what my France Travel and Food blog would be useful for, except for the fact that I was kind of emotionally attached to it and wanted to keep it going.  But beside that, I wasn’t sure where I was going with the blog as far as finding a remuneration end to it, until I finally got the clue that I was waiting for while reading materials that I purchased earlier this year.

I could use this specific blog to attract the type of client I’m looking for, for that niche.

It worked!

I had noticed in my Google Analytics that some traffic was coming from France, and while my blog is in English, the fact that I mention France in every post, it wasn’t too much of a surprise that some people there had landed on my blog. But as far as I knew, it could mean anything and everything.  Anyone could have landed there and leave as fast as they came.

Well, maybe they didn’t after all, because I got a message from a company in France telling me that they would be interested in hiring me to write for them.


I was ecstatic, especially that I had failed to create any type of call to action to hire me as a writer. How stupid is that? (This will be fix very soon, by they way).

When I got rid of several of my blogs back in 2011, I actually had no problem choosing the ones that I wanted to keep; yet, the only one that I was kind of dragging along in the hope that it would be useful someday was my blog about France.

Well, I’m so glad I kept that baby, guys, because a potential client noticed it, and I’m sure this is only the first of many.

Is it Possible to Make Good Money as a Freelancer and Live the Good Life?

You bet it is.  I know some very humble freelance writers who do.  They make GREAT money with their freelance writing business.

Even though I’m not at their level of success, yet, I have refused cheap gigs for a while now. If someone wants to pay me to write an article what I can make in an hour at my job, I’m going to refuse the gig. Not worth it. In this case, the job pays more for less work.

That’s why I still have that job, I’d rather do that then write for cheap, because writing is never easy, even for a freelance writer.

Writing takes time, discipline and research. I have got to get the equivalence of my efforts  in monetary compensation to be worth it.

Recently, I’ve learn about a few techniques that I’ll be putting in practice little by little in order to get the RIGHT clients for me, so you may be seeing a few changes on my blogs over time.

If you’re a freelance writer, I hope this helped and encouraged you to know that you can write for more money. If you’re a potential client, you can contact me through me Hire Me page right on top of this blog.



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I hope you enjoyed this post, and will start applying those tips now. Please, let me know what you think and add your thoughts down below in the comments. If you found this information valuable and would like to share it, you should add the RSS feed of this blog to the social media sharing platform of your choice.

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43 thoughts on “Living, Writing and Making Good Money as a Freelance Writer”

  1. Hi Sylviane,
    Just today, I shared how important it is to share our stories with the world and you have done an excellent job here. Through your story we see the thought process you need to have as a freelance writer and what kind of earning potential you can have based on how you are branding yourself on a day-to-day basis.

    I wish you good luck and if I can be of any help, please let me know as I will most certainly be glad to be of any service!
    Kumar Gauraw invites you to read..Inspiring TED Talk By Rita Pierson – Every Kid Needs a ChampionMy Profile

    1. Hi Kumar,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      When we are new at freelance writing there’s always that fear factor of not getting the job, unless we accept shamefully low price gigs. When such fear is out of the picture, however, we can actually start working and live from our business.

      Thanks for the offer, Kumar. I will think about it.

  2. Hi Sylviane,

    Each word mentioned here is SO true 🙂

    I guess I can so well relate to it, being a freelance writer myself and having gone through all those rough phases initially when we all start off and learn things. I remember having written for peanuts too but that was for a short time because I learnt very fast, especially because I worked on O’Desk earlier and there you have a lot of variety of people and clients.

    Yes, those who work for peanuts will give you such content that needs to be re-worked upon, though not always too. I had many clients mention the same thing to me when negotiation starts, but once they see your work, they understand what quality and experience is. Now of course, it’s all a different story and clients come from word of mouth and older ones who want to keep in touch.

    I think after your initial stages and once you know the know how of things, you need to stick to your rates and not go below what you want, or else you really just get that – something I learnt and stick to now, and people understand that too with time.

    Reading your post, reminded me to go back on my Freenlancing blog and revamp that now and share my tricks and tips too 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
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    1. Hi Harleena,

      So glad you came here and gave your valuable feedback as a freelance writer. And not any freelance writer, but one who doesn’t work for peanuts anymore either.

      I’m glad you’re a telling the readers here that what I’m saying resonate with other writers, so you’re giving more value to my content 🙂

      Word of mouth works great for any business, and freelance writer as well of course. I’m expecting to get other clients from France. Oh cool is that?

      Thanks for coming and have a great week.

  3. Wow, you hit a home run on this one, Sylviane! It’s crazy that a business person with half a brain would expect even for a SECOND that they could get quality writing for a few dollars. At $5 an article you’d have to be able to pull off a post every half an hour just to make minimum wage!! And good writing is certainly not the same as “writing”. Anyone with a keyboard can put some words on a page but very few can write something meaningful.

    It’s tough but like a lot of creative services, people don’t seem to put the same value on it. The trick is to find the people who do.

    I think this was my favorite line: “don’t associate yourself with low quality content by accepting underpaying jobs.” RIGHT! And once you work for peanuts, it’s almost impossible to wake up one day and say ok, now I want some caviar. You will never get what you’re worth if you work for nothing. Then again, I think I’d rather work for nothing than a pathetic amount. At least I could say I was “donating” my time. Getting paid $5 or $20 or something ridiculous like that is just insulting.

    I’m glad you found better clients! I have taken a lot of underpaying jobs (not for writing but for plenty of other things) and it has NEVER never never never been worth it. Good advice here for anyone creative who struggles with being undervalued.
    Carol Lynn invites you to read..Write Better. Stop With All The Crazy Formatting Already.My Profile

    1. Hi Carol,

      That so, so true. No matter what, it’s never worth it to accept underpaying jobs. It’s a waste of time and an insult we throw to ourselves. I’m so mad at myself for having done that at all. Yuck, don’t want to go back there 🙂

      Yes, you said it all right, writing for a handful of dollars is working for minimum wages if you can write fast. That’s just ridiculous and people need to stop accepting those gigs. They are just putting themselves down as well as the freelance writing industry.

      Thank you for your feedback, Carol 🙂

  4. I wouldn’t know about freelance writing Sylviane but I can assume this really can pertain to any type of service you’re providing.

    I know when I started out I was helping people for free. So they didn’t really value what I shared and never did the work. It’s funny though when they pay you for the same thing they have more incentive to actually do what was suggested. I know it’s not exactly the same thing but you get what I’m sharing here.

    I’ve purchased PLR content in the past and I have to admit it was horrible. I was so shocked that the company that sold it approved of such low quality work. Sure, it was inexpensive and it’s not like I was going for the lowest price. I was going for what I wanted and if that’s what they had that’s what I bought. Unfortunately you can’t always see the work before you get your hands on it so you’re kind of stuck.

    I think we all need to be paid what we believe we are worth because if we don’t value ourselves then how can we expect other too.

    Glad you shared this and like Kumar said, I enjoyed your story.

    Adrienne invites you to read..How To Easily Insert A Tweet Into Your PostMy Profile

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Yes, I get what you’re saying very well. People are not so much in need of help if they have to pay for it, do they? I’m so happy for you that you started charging, because too much is too much, right?

      Those PLR articles are horrible, indeed, and must be written for like a $1 or $2 the article. You can’t ever trust to put those up. No way 🙂 Plus who know how many time they are sold. I’m so glad that Google eliminated all that trash.

      I was excited and I know that I’m on the roll now!

      Thank for coming, Adrienne 🙂

  5. Hi Sylviane, You are preaching the gospel here. I have a friend who is a freelance writer who gave up because she didn’t want to have to write articles for $5 each. She felt she was competing against too many people who were willing to do that so she didn’t have a chance. She bid on a project for $75 and didn’t get it.

    I look forward to your follow up article on how to get the good writing jobs and I will be eager to share it with her!

    Thank you for spreading the word. The fewer people who accept those low paying jobs, the more pay will increase for quality writing. You’re right, there is a huge difference in the quality of the articles based on the pay for the job. You do get what you pay for!
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    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Nice to see you here.

      I’m so sorry for your friend. Unfortunately, those bidding places are trash and I do not go there anymore.

      I was so tried of struggling with this that I started listening to those who make big bucks writing, so my knowledge come from them, and as I try to implement what I’ve learned really start making a difference for me.

      I so agree with you, the more you accept low paying job the more you destroy your chance to ever get paid well. The way I see it, if you have to write an article for a couple of dollars, go find a work at McDonald 🙂 and don’t destroy the reputation of this business.

      Yes, please, share my upcoming post with our friend.

      1. You’re right, I’m surprised that anyone is willing to pay only $5 and get garbage. Those articles aren’t even worth that so why does anyone pay for that?

        I also agree with you that you should write what you know. I contacted a blog owner once because he had a guest post on tech that had so many errors it didn’t even make sense. The blog owner wasn’t a techie so I don’t know why he wanted a tech article on his blog.
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        1. I tell, you people are crazy 🙂

          A lot of it, though is that they don’t know what they are doing because they’re so confused.

          Thanks for this addition 🙂

  6. Hi Sylviane,

    I’m not a freelance writer, but if I needed to hire one, it would be you. Really…not just saying this. From visiting your blogs every week, I know how well you write.

    Especially this blog where I learned so much from you about the use of grammar, spell checking and writing in general.

    As the old saying goes; You get what you pay for! I can understand how some writers want to start off for five bucks to get a client base, but that must take some blood sweat and tears, if they know what they are doing.

    Lots of people go to fiverr for blog content. Oh Boy….when I read those posts I know right away they paid a cheap price for it. I’m not a specialist, but just trying to read through those cheap posts or articles gives me a headache!

    So as a person that would hire a writer, I wouldn’t want to waste all my time reviewing many cheap writers.

    Now you mention that you like to write about the things that interest you. That is a PLUS! I am so happy that someone came to you from your France blog (I always enjoy that one)…..

    You are putting the word out to so many writers and please continue to do so. Your expertise precedes you Sylviane…..

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    1. Hi Donna,

      Writers really need people like you. What I mean is that it’s always so encouraging when people tell you that you write well. I do the same thing with a some people myself, especially the ones that underestimate themselves when they shouldn’t.

      I know some people like you and Adrienne, for example, who have told me that they would hire me and I’m sure some wouldn’t, but that OK, because it’s very important to feel well about your client and your writer.

      That’s as important as the money in my book. I have refused to write for some people because I just didn’t feel comfortable with them at all, so I can understand this both ways.

      Thank you for coming, Donna 🙂

  7. Hi Sylviane

    I had looked into getting writing jobs and then when all I could find was cheap pay for articles I decided it wasn’t worth it. The figures just don’t add up. I would be better doing surveys online. My articles take some serious thought and time. Someone paying $5 for one would be like 1960 wages! The only good paying jobs I found were for tech writers and I surely couldn’t do that. Writing for my own site is work enough. If someone wanted me to write for them they would have to pay a decent price. Not sure what that would be but it would definitely be more than $20 dollars.

    Looking forward to your next post on this subject.

    Mary Stephenson invites you to read..Brain Fog and How to Grab it by The TailMy Profile

    1. Hi Mary,

      I know what you mean, and that’s why MOST freelance writers get stuck. They fall into that trap of being the ones who ask, and they ask to the worng people, as well. Meaning those posting their jobs on gig sites. That’s why it doesn’t work for them.

      In my upcoming article, I will try to show how to break that vicious circle.

      Thanks for your input and for coming, Mary 🙂

  8. This is wonderful advice Sylviane and the best one anybody who is writing can get is to write about what we know.

    What i don’t understand is how some folks would pay for “cheap” articles. Our reputation as being in an expert in our respective field is questioned when we post any article just for the sake of posting content. I personally wouldn’t go there.

    I loved your clarification between a “cheap” writer and “good” writer…made a lot of sense.

    Thanks for putting this post together for us…can’t wait to learn about those freelancing gigs! 🙂

    Hope you had a great Monday! See ya in the socialsphere :).
    Corina Ramos invites you to read..Monday Work-from-Home Job Lead MadnessMy Profile

    1. Hi Corina,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      What some of those writers don’t get is that accepting low gigs only works as a vicious circle where all you’re going to get is that – low paying gigs.

      Then after you’re so worn out of working like a slave for peanuts, you just quit.

      In the end we get what we expect and we’re responsible for our success, so it’s up to the writer to stop that vicious circle.

      Thanks for coming Corina and have a good one!

  9. Hi Sylviane,

    Super advice! I remember meeting a great blogging buddy. We chatted once or twice. Then he sent me a message staying how $25 – I am not kidding – was way too much to charge for an article.

    I set him straight quickly lol…..and he learned that you get what you ask for in this world… asking for $3 per 500 word articles, well, it is not the way to live.

    Now it is $35 and up per 500 words. We spent years honing our craft and earn our keep!

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Ryan,

      Yes, I see what you mean, and that’s because of dudes like this one that our craft is going down the drain. I really wish those so called writers stopped selling themselves so cheap.

      Yes, in life you get what you ask for. If you ask for low gigs that’s what you’re going to attract and get.

      Thanks for your input on this.

  10. Awesome tips, Sylviane 🙂

    I am planning to pursue freelance writing, once I establish my upcoming blog. The only thing I am worried right now is my grammar (I probably need to brush up on my grammar before I go into freelance writing).

    I haven’t thought about much about it (Frankly, I don’t have much of an idea about freelance writing). I have done a lot of guest posting. So, writing for other blogs/clients shouldn’t be much of a problem. My main concerns are on presenting, pricing etc (I am guessing I should price by the number of words?).

    And should I have a refund policy? (I think that sounds kind of weird, because once you publish an article, it is out there, right?).

    Thank you, Sylviane!

    1. Hi Jeevan,

      Well, first off, it never appeared to me that your grammar is bad, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem with practice.

      If you’re already used to guest post, that’s a plus for sure and the way to go.

      I’ve never heard of freelance writer that has a refund policy, because worst case scenario, if the client requires some adjustments we just do it for them, so there should never be a need for refund.

      I hope I answered your questions and concerns, and thanks for mentioning them here 🙂

      1. I am trying to brush up on all my subjects – history, math. I just need to add English grammar to the list 😀

        Oh, okay 🙂

        Thanks, Sylviane 😀

        No problem!

  11. Hi Sylviane Nuccio,
    Thanks for such a nice & wonderful article. Sylviane, I’m also a Freelance Writer but I don’t earn sufficient money by blogging. I don’t understand what I do worg in my work.

    1. Hi Taniya and welcome here.

      Do you do guest posting? The best secret weapon for freelance writers is to guest post on other blogs that have some type of ranking.

      I will be posting about this soon.

      Oh, and do you have a blog? You really need one too if you don’t.

      Let me know 🙂

  12. Now let me tell you one thing I love about this article: Your “honesty and “transparency”. I just mentioned two lolz 🙂 . But you see Sylviane, I tried freelance writing once but twas a bit different from the usual freelancing job…

    The client payed some initial $ for the article and we both agreed that I earn some commission from each sale the article produce.

    It’s been over a year now and I’m still profiting from that deal… I had to quite freelance writing because I do not have the type of motivation that you posses.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I just shared mine 😀
    Ebenezer invites you to read..Some Secrets I Know about the Rich you probably don’t Know….My Profile

    1. Hi Ebenezer,

      Wow, that’s great that you’re still profiting from that deal 🙂

      I understand that writing is not for everyone, no doubt. It’s like anything else in life. I hope you’ve found your thing 🙂

      Thanks for coming

  13. Hi Sylviane,
    Yes, that is the difference between a good writer and a cheap writer. But it is unfortunate and true that many good writers are not paid according to the quality of their work just because they have just started and don’t have a big name on their back. But yes, there are freelance writers who are making decent, infact big money I should say.
    Though I never really went into freelancing but I have written articles as guest authors and it was a great experience too. One day I might try my hands into this
    .Thanks for sharing this Sylviane.
    Regards,Vineet Saxena
    Vineet Saxena invites you to read..3 Important Features of WordPress 3.7 – BasieMy Profile

    1. Hi Vineet,

      Yes, a name help, but following the right course help to build that name too. Once you’re ready to write, if you have any questions, just let me know.

      Thanks for your visit.

  14. Hi Sylviane

    Freelance writing has interested me for a while but I wouldn’t know where to start.

    I had thought about putting up a hire me page, so I guess that would be a start at least!

    I’m looking forward to your follow up article as I think that will really help me decide how I take things forward.

    I bought some terrible PLR articles when I first started. They were so lifeless and had no personality.

    Writing needs a personality I think and without it, readers won’t hang around for too long! I suspect I didn’t pay very much for them…
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    1. Hi Tim,

      To start with that’s why I created this blog; to help others with their writing. So, the more knowledge and experience I get the more this blog will be able to do just that.

      Yes, having a hiring page will help and I will also write in this upcoming post the dos and don’ts about the hire me page, so people can start on the right foot which is important, because it will eliminate the unwanted type clients from the beginning.

      Thanks for coming and have a great weekend.

  15. Sylviane, I believe some people will see your price and wonder why you are charging so much.

    They say that if i pay that much the article will be good. There is the old cliche you get what you pay for.

    I really would want to pay more than five dollars for an article because that is what you get, low quality.
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    1. Hi Michael,

      Those who wonder why some writers charge them so much money can go ahead and write their articles themselves or they can get low quality articles and rewrite them.

      Thankfully some companies understand what it takes and also understand that copywriting is a craft that deserve its equivalent in pay.

      Thanks for your feedback.

    1. Hi Jijin and welcome here.

      I certainly hope it will be helful to all new freelance writers and I hope you can share this with those you might know.

      Thanks for coming.

  16. Hi Sylviane,
    Our company creates, but also purchases quite a lot of copy for our client projects. One of the ways to increase revenue per article is through creative “packaging”.

    The wholesale value of a blog post may be only $30.00, or $50.00 directly to the website owner. Yet, optimized for the client’s keywords, inserted into the their blog with a $10.00 stock image, tagged and posted to a half dozen of the client’s social networks, and bundled into a much broader online marketing strategy, that same post may fetch $250.00.

    Some of our writers have grasped what we do with the content we purchase and have volunteered to increase their value to us. If we were able to purchase a post for $30.00 as a raw material, they rightly assumed that if all we had to do was drop outstanding ready-to-use content into place, we might be willing to pay more.

    Several writers now provide a well researched, highly optimized post, with an amazing title, tweaked and fine tuned so it’s perfect, checked in Copyscape for duplicates, with a carefully selected photo that illustrates the content (PDF of stock image purchase invoice included for our records), with 5 or 6 unique posts for the major social channels (URL already shortened)… ready to go for $100.00 apiece.

    One writer admitted that she invests 20 minutes more per post and her revenue has more than tripled. A quick calculation indicated I would save money by having outsourced writers do the work instead of our in-house staff.- Cole
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  17. Very true! I too have written articles that were $5 and I felt that were worth so much more. I have learned my lesson and agree with what you have said. Great advice for us freelance writers! Thanks for the great post.
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  18. Hi Sylviane,

    This article is an eye opener for those freelance writers out there who are just struggling with peanuts as you referred. I just got confident when you mentioned that you turned out some clients who were willing to pay 5 to 10$ per article. I too got some paid writer opportunities for 8 to 20$ which I refused but I later thought I should have accepted but after reading your article I feel confident that I did not make a mistake. Indeed last month I got my first ever $100 from an article which I did not get paid but still I felt happy that some how I got a costly gig.

    For a freelance writer initial days will be tiresome until some good clients recognize our work. I felt instead of writing for cheap its better to write for our personal blog forgoing those low payments which does not meet any of our requirements. One day or the other we will get some good paying writing gigs.
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    1. Hi Vijesh and welcome to my blog. Sorry for the late reply here.

      I’m glad you refused those low pay article, and shouldn’t have felt bad about it. I hope you do get paid for your $100 article though.

      Thanks for coming.

  19. Hi Sylviane,

    I am not a freelance writer. I need to learn a little bit more grammar in order to be able to do that at a higher lever.

    Nevertheless, I am no stranger to writing and I know that sad and ugly state that seems to rule on freelance sites. Everybody wants long articles, with no mistakes, in 5 minutes and with 1 dollar.

    I tried my hand at this, too. I wrote 500 ads for $17. Also, I wrote articles about cars and the price was $1.5 each. I got offers for $6 per article but the topics were so explosive that I immediately changed my mind.

    There is a widespread opinion that everybody can write and everybody can write about anything. It is not true.

    You are right. The quality of those $1 articles is miserable. However, it takes time until the market realize what happens. Sometimes maybe years. Finally, it happens. I think things will change soon.

    Have a wonderful day
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    1. Hi Silviu,

      Wow, those prices are terrible and I hope you’ll never write for that little ever again. I’m sure there are some jobs you could do for more if you needed that money.

      It’s really up to the writers not to accept these garbage offers and eventually they will stop.

      Thanks for your input.

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