(via D G | Press Release: Bidding for writing jobs online: a really bad idea!)
Do clients always pick the low bid?
EL asked me this question recently.
"Quite often I see assignments on freelancer.com that are awarded solely on the basis of lowest price. How cheap should we writers bid to get the work?”
My advice to EL and you: avoid bidding sites like elance.com, freelancer.com, and guru.com like the plague.
For every service sold under the sun, there are some clients who buy based solely on price — and other clients who buy based more on value, quality, and reputation of the vendor.
It is the latter clients you want.
The trouble with elance.com and other bidding sites is that virtually every buyer who posts a project there is buying based largely on price and looking for a low bid.
As a result, these sites are frequented by many inferior writers who are willing to work for slave wages.
The only way for you to beat them out for these writing jobs is to bid even lower.
The problem with that, as EL notes in his e-mail to me, is that "writing for nothing doesn’t pay the bills."
In a business like writing, where you are earning money based on your labor, competing on price alone dooms you to starvation and misery.
Also, clients who buy solely on price are usually the worst clients to work for. They pay peanuts and require more hand-holding than well-heeled corporate clients.
They do not respect their writers, and why should they?
Their writers work for less than minimum wage!
EL also notes that “you get what you pay for.” That is why clients for whom the quality of writing is important do NOT go to elance to find writers.
I advise EL - and any other freelancers reading this, in any profession, not just writing — not to compete solely or even primarily on price.
Instead, get good. Writers: improve your writing skill. Collect client testimonials, including results. Ask clients for samples of your copy and permission to post them on your web site.
Work in a niche that pays well … and preferably, has limited competition, too. The more specialized the niche, the more you can charge - and the less competition you’ll have. Example: one small ad agency specializes in marketing for audiologists and has little competition; another does only direct mail for restaurants.
If possible, write for clients who use some metric to measure the results your writing generates. If they can clearly see that your writing gets the results they want, they will pay your fee without shopping around for a lower price.
Also write for clients for whom the quality of writing is important, either because it generates leads or sales - or because it reflects on their company’s branding and corporate image.
The best clients for writers include:
Direct marketers - companies that use your words to generate leads or orders.
Online marketers - companies that use your words to generate clicks or conversions.
Corporations - midmarket and large corporations insist on professional quality copy and are both willing and able to pay for it.
Technology marketers - selling technology is dependent on clear, accurate, persuasive copy.
Small businesses - but only those who rely on marketing to acquire new customers and make additional sales to existing customers … not those who advertise to build their “image.”
The worst clients to write for include:
Local small businesses - especially mom-and-pop operations like your neighborhood dry cleaner or gas station. They have no money and do not appreciate the value of professional writing services.
Doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, accountants, HVAC contractors, real estate agents, and other professionals - they value their expertise and service but not yours.
Bob Bly Copywriter / Consultant
P.S. For help choosing a lucrative writing niche, click here now: Writing for Niche Markets…