One of the best lines from the newer Batman movies with Christopher Nolan came from Heath Ledger’s character, the Joker. “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”
So the question is, as a writer, how much can someone make? This is an important question to ask as you embark on a professional career, because you can’t really build a life for yourself until you know how much money you can expect to survive on.
The truth is that you can make millions of dollars as a write. Heck, you can make BILLIONS of dollars as a writer. You can make two thousand dollars a day just from writing emails! You can make thirty thousand dollars writing twenty thousand words. What you can earn as a writer can be impressive… or nothing. You could also make nothing.
At the end of the day, these are just numbers. They don’t actually tell you anything about the amount of work that was involved with the type of writing project that you’re looking at.
Know How Much Your Time Is Worth
Different types of writers will make different amounts of money and this is true even within the same industry. You’re still going to find variations between what different writers will be able to earn.
Somebody can be a business writer who writes business blogs, they may only get a penny a word maybe less. But there are other people who will write a business blog and they’ll get two thousand dollars for a five-hundred word article. The reason for this is because content itself, the value of it, is entirely dependent on the person paying for it, which isn’t always the person READING it.
When you’re getting paid as a writer, and we’ve already gone over in another article ways for you to get paid as a writer, you’re getting paid for the amount of time the payer BELIEVES it will take you to complete the project.
And that’s the rub.
Because they don’t want to pay you as much as they want to pay, say, themselves. Nobody ever does. The reason why people don’t want to pay you as much as they want to pay themselves is because they haven’t learned to be a writer.
And so, they want to pay what they can pay just about ANY writer to do the work that they feel that almost anyone could do, including them. Whether or not they’re a writer or not. Most clients who have never worked with a writer before simply do not understand how EXPENSIVE it is to hire “cheap” writers.
That’s why when you find yourself in front of a paying opportunity, it’s incredibly important to understand that what the gig is worth is what YOU are willing to TAKE for your BEST GUESS at how long it will take you to complete the project. Whether it’s a few minutes or a few hours, you need to know what your time is worth so that you can say it with confidence, rather than guilt or uncertainty.
Once you know what your time is worth as a writer, the only thing that’s left is for you to find some opportunities that are, quite literally, worth your time.