Have you considered hiring a freelance writer but have a few preconceived notions that are holding you back? You’re not alone.
Before I became a full-time freelance writer, I fell prey to many of the same myths that I now work actively to dispel. Here are seven of the top lies about freelance writers that you might believe and the truth behind them.
#1 – Freelance writers must have deep tech/industry experience
This is one of the biggest myths about freelance writers, and it’s because there is something about good freelance writers that most people overlook: writers also have mad research skills.
You are a pro in your field and that involves many layers of expertise. Freelance writers are no different; they are pros in their field and will research your industry to learn the info, news and jargon necessary to write effectively.
#2 – Freelance writers need an English or journalism degree to be good
This is another myth that gets passed around frequently. While a degree means the writer probably has a good grasp of language and style, it’s no guarantee that they are educated with up-to-date information on content and SEO, formatting, social media, trends, etc.
A professional freelance writer will bring the whole package. Sometimes that package includes a degree. Sometimes it doesn’t.
#3 – Freelance writers outsource the work and sit back collecting your money
“Do you outsource your work?” We get this question a lot. While some writers and most agencies do outsource, for most of us it’s just not a feasible option.
First of all, in order for outsourcing to work out for us financially we would have to hire a writer at mere pennies per word. Have you ever seen the result of paying a writer two cents per word? It’s not pretty. Then we would either have to completely rewrite the piece or submit it as-is and risk losing our clients along with our reputation.
However, some writers outsource. Whether or not it’s ethical is an ongoing argument, but it all boils down to this question: If you are pleased with the end result, does it matter?
#4 – Freelance writers are schedule-free spirits
Freelance writers are often perceived as free spirits who can just write when the urge hits them and spend the rest of their days…well, I don’t even know how to finish this sentence.
The truth is that about half of freelancers do have a schedule and stick to it like glue, and the other half don’t have set working hours but might work late at night while you are sleeping. No matter when we work, we have a real job with very real deadlines.
#5 – Freelance writers have an easy job
We wish. Freelance writing is an exhausting labor of love, as is any business where you are your own marketing and advertising agency, IT department, PR & HR departments, sales and customer service teams, and accounting department. Oh, and the writer.
#6 – Freelance writers overcharge
Whether a writer charges per word or hour, there are several things going on behind the scenes that factor into our fees, we just don’t itemize them.
For example, an 800-word blog post includes research, time spent properly formatting and editing, writing in keywords for SEO, searching for an effective image, finding reputable sources to link to for more information, and telling an engaging story that makes a connection with you, the reader.
#7 – Freelance writers have low overhead so it’s all fun and profit
Our home is our office and we need everything in it to do our job well. We have the same rent and bill expenses, marketing and advertising fees and business software requirements as any other small business. So the next time your writer sends you an invoice, please treat it like every other bill and help your writer meet her numerous business expenses.
Are there any other myths about freelance writers you would like me to dispel? Please let me know in the comments!
Nice post Karri,
#7 is definitely one I encounter all the time! In my first month as a freelancer, I moved house, bought a laptop, printer, ink, a desk and a lot of stationary and print paper. It was around £1,500-£2,000 overall, which isn’t cheap! Like you say: Our home is our office, even if we do wear sweatpants to the office ;)
Thank you, Karri! This is all so true.