We’ve talked before about how copywriting job sites—sites where you post a profile and bid for work—are trouble. But today I want to show you just how much you could be losing. Read on…
Today’s article is inspired by many questions I’ve received about copywriting job sites or freelance job listing sites in general. They seem like a great deal: You create a profile, then people who are looking for copywriting help post a job they need done and field proposals from writers.
Sounds great, right? People who want work done come to you!
Except it isn’t great. In fact, the reality is so not great that I strongly discourage students and readers from wasting time on these sites.
And an email I got from one of these sites really drove that home for me—but more on that in a moment.
Copywriting job bidding sites like these require a lot of effort for very little promise of return. First, you have to take the time to create a profile.
Then, for each and every job you’re interested in getting, you need to spend the time to create a proposal.
Don’t forget, too, that you’re blindly competing against anyone else who wants that job. And what’s the best way for people to get attention for their proposals? They drop their rates. Want to stay competitive? Expect to have to deeply cut your own rates.
People who post copywriting jobs on sites like that are usually looking for the highest quality they can get at the lowest rate. (Which is natural—but not practical.)
What they usually opt for, instead, is mediocre quality at a low rate.
Do you really want to compete with that?
Some of these sites, too, require you to set a “price per word” which, as we’ve discussed before, is exactly the wrong way to charge for copywriting.
Not only does charging by the word fail to take into account the time you spend thinking about the strategy behind your writing, it penalizes you for being concise and on message.
And to really drive this home, I want to show you part of an email I received from one of these companies, showcasing their writing talent.
(I blurred the faces for their anonymity.)
This email is promising me writers with more than five years of experience who are writing for just 10 cents per word!
That is absolutely insane.
But let’s really do the math on this.
I recently wrote an email series for a client of mine. It was a five-email series, and because I’ve been working with her for a while and she sends me referrals, I give her a bit of a discount.
I wrote those five emails and charged her $500.
The word count of those emails was 2,578.
If I were one of the writers in this email, the most I could hope to earn for all of the time I put into those emails would be $258.
Oh, and that’s the top-paid person on this list. What if you’re making six cents per word? Go ahead and slash that down to $155.
You’d be forcing yourself to take roughly between a 50% and 70% pay cut on every project you write!
Let’s spread that out across the year: Are you comfortable making $24,000-$40,000 instead of the $80,000 you deserve to be making just because you’re using these sites instead of finding your own clients?
You’re paying a fee of at least half of your income just to work for these sites!
That is an absurd price to pay for “convenience.” And, if you ask me, having to blind bid and put in all that work with a low chance of getting the work isn’t that convenient at all.
So what do you do instead?
Find your own clients.
Develop your pitch emails and start with local small businesses. When you’ve got some of those under your belt, move on to solopreneurs, and then small design studios. Move on from there to ad agencies and in-house agencies.
(If you’re a student in our Academy, you’ve got the step by step plans to do all of this.)
They all need your help, but you’ve got to reach out to them.
And, the extra wonderful thing is that once you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ll start generating referrals like crazy and won’t have to prospect nearly as much.
The “easy” way isn’t really that easy at all—and it requires an absolutely huge cost. (And people wonder why they can’t make a living as a writer!)
Put in the extra effort to find your own clients. It’s the only way to make your copywriting career successful—and you’ll give yourself an automatic 50%-70% raise.
Your turn! Have you had experience with this copywriting job sites that make you bid for work? What happened? Let us know in the comments below!