freelance writing rates and outsourcing

Illustration by John Leech

Well look at what we have here. Un petit billet-doux which explains (partly) why freelance writers are treated like so many cattle on bid sites. A little fluttering of printed cambric of the finest denier called the Outsource Report.

Now what's this on page 6 - "How to take advantage of other people to DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOU" .. well yeah 'taking advantage of' can simply mean making use of their resources .. but wait ..  'also, how to pay them a fraction of what you'd normally pay for online projects.' (My emphasis).

See, bidders ( those people in business) will tell you (another person in business) that they have no money (so they want YOU to subsidise THEM) and play on your heart strings and try to make you feel sorry for them (playing the victim, in other words).

Look, if you want a really nice dress you see in the window, you do not go in and say to the salespeople 'Hey, I want that dress but I only have $5. It's not worth any more than that anyway so just hand it over and don't argue.'


'Hey that dress in the window is lovely. I'd really like it but I only have $5. I'm sorry, I just don't have any more money but you'd like to help make me look nice, wouldn't you?'


'Here's $5. I'd like $200 worth of dress please.'

No, none of that works. It doesn't work because if you want something good, you pay for it. You don't try to bully people into accepting less and no-one should be selling their writing for less than it's worth, or devaluing their own skill. Fair enough there are some people around saying they're writers but then you have to go and look at their portfolios and make up your own mind, and I dare them to demand professional rates.

I've even seen a freelance site saying you only need to be able to string a sentence together. And the rates they offer for different standards of work? One of the categories is "legible". I kid you not.

The sooner we can make sure that there are more sites where you can find decent writing, professional writers, and clients who respect the value of a job done professionally, the less chance there will be for these charlatan Scrooges to bully freelancers into working for tuppence a feature.
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