Any writer who has tried to earn a little extra money by freelancing knows that unless you have a solid connection, freelancing can be a cruel experience that can make you give up hope on humanity.
Too often freelancing jobs are humiliating and make the prospect of asking customers if they want “fries with that” tempting.
When trolling Craigslist for
NSA freelancing gigs, I can across a rather humorous post. The title reads: “Writers don’t need to eat (write for free).” This is obviously from a fellow wordsmith scorned by freelance posts that ask writers to basically work for free.
So, I thought I’d reach out and asked what exactly prompted the post.
This is what the author of the post had to say:
“I wrote the post in response to a string of ‘job’ offerings on the list. They all wanted significant time and skill, for no pay.
It’s annoying that I frequently see these ads for writers, only. Some people really seem to think writing should be done for free.
I’ve got a degree in Journalism, and find a lot of freelance work. …
It is tough… but, I am finding my way. It’s taken a long time. Not rich, by any means, lol.”
I’m sure this is a sentiment felt by most journalists who try to freelance on the side. I know I have had freelance assignments where I was working for less than minimum wage. I once took a freelance assignment and couldn’t transfer the interview to my laptop and had to transcribe the entire conversation from my iPhone. I ended up making less than $3 an hour. Not the company’s fault, but still disheartening. The most soul-wrenching freelancing assignments are the ones for content farms like DemandStudios, where you take that college degree and apply it to write an articles on insurance requirements for the state of New Mexico and California laws regarding tips (both actual assignments) for sites like ehow.com. Surely, this is the kind of work that goes into your clip file and onto your mother’s fridge.
And let’s not even get started on not getting compensated for re-edits and re-writes.
The worst though is dealing with companies that actually don’t pay you for the work. I had that happen with a local community paper and with AOL through its Seed program. Apparently they don’t call it free for nothing.
What are some of your freelance horror stories? Tips on companies to work and not work for?
Oh, if anyone is looking for a freelance writer, contact Jen, the author of the Craigslist post on Twitter – @Xrhea.