Today I discovered this post about how much one should (or does) get paid for blogging, and it really got me thinking.
The author divides bloggers up by quality and price into four categories, which correspond to four department stores: The Dollar Store, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, and Nordstrom. It’s a cute concept.
As it stands, I think I qualify as a JC Penney writer. Basically, that means that although I’ve had my blog since 2008, I’ve only been working on SEO and actively trying to find work for less than a year. I’m also a recent graduate and, it turns out, my rates are too low. I have yet to charge over $50 for a blog.
I suppose I did what most new freelancers do — I just started out charging a price that I figured was low enough to get work and yet high enough to (though sometimes it really didn’t) justify my time.
Along the way, I found one job that definitely qualified as a Wal-Mart style blogging mill, where work was pumped in from various websites and then bid on by writers who would make only a fraction of what the client paid. I’m here to tell you that I once worked 3 full days on a project for only $15. I wasn’t desperate– they just kept sending me back to do revisions on what should have been a simple task. You don’t have to do the yearly salary math to know that I wasn’t paying the bills with that one.
During my first month freelancing I worked a few hours as a hostess to supplement my income… at just $11/hr, the going rate for a waitress.
I figured that anything above that would be “good enough” for launching my writing career. But what I wasn’t figuring in is that freelancing takes a ton of research and self-promotion to make any $$$ at all, so a gig priced at $15/hr (officially the lowest rate I’ve ever agreed to) comes out to significantly less than waitress pay. And waitresses don’t need Master’s degrees.
I’ve only been freelance blogging for 3 months, but I’ve already stopped accepting those kinds of low-paid gigs. If only the good gigs weren’t so much harder to find! Last month, I broke $1000 for the first time. I’m on track to do it again. That’ll keep the lights on for now, but not forever.
Reading this post and others like it (though this was my fave because of the department store reference), gives me a lot of hope for the future.
The deeper I get sucked into the world of blogging and freelancing (I don’t just write blogs, after all), the more I hear about people who really do make superb money. I don’t expect to make $5000/month anytime soon, but I do hope that, in 2017, I’ll be able to afford rent in a decent 2-bedroom flat with a nice kitchen.
Until then, it’s vacation time. I’m off to Paris!