Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Most freelance writers are paid for productivity. This means you get a certain amount of money for a specific amount of work. Unfortunately, how much you make per word varies greatly depending on the system and the contract.
No one can promise that you’ll make “X” amount of dollars per word unless it’s in the form of a contract from a client. Even claims of making so-much money per hour is often misleading.
Content Brokerage Systems
Most content mills and brokerage systems, like Textbroker and WriterAccess, pay their authors a set amount of money per word. For example, a level 4 writer in Textbroker makes about $0.014 cents. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, does it?
However, most of these articles are insanely easy to complete and often take me less than an hour to finish a 1,000 word article.
The trick is to keep yourself busy and crack out as many of these articles as you can. Even the small $1.90 articles are worth your time if they only take you two minutes to complete. That’s $57 per hour if you can keep it up!
Because of the way these systems are designed, it’s easier to see how much you’re worth by determining an hourly rate based on income. For instance, a level 4 article at 350 words usually take me about 10 minutes depending on what the client wants. This boils down to about $29.40 per hour…as long as I continue to do these articles one after another.
I try not to focus on how much I make per word but how much I can make within an hour of writing.
Each system is different, and you can make more or less depending on the client and what he or she is willing to pay for certain work.
If you use systems like Textbroker, you can earn far more if you get a couple of good Direct Order clients who are willing to pay your asking price per word.
In fact, how much you make per word is vastly better for team and direct orders than in the open pool.
One of the reasons why I like content brokerage systems and mills is because of the work. It’s usually some of the easiest you’ll come across and everyone is looking for content. That’s because of the importance of content marketing today.
This also means you’re competing against thousands of other writers who want the same article. However, not everyone will have your skill. And you may find yourself getting more work from select clients and teams because of your specific abilities.
How A Lot of Contracts Work for Writers
In most cases, contracts from major clients work by giving you a set amount of money each month for a specific number of words or articles. For example, a person can make $1.00 per word…if they have a contract which pays them $2000 per month for 2,000 words worth of content maximum.
The sad thing is not every client pays that well. In fact, a lot of them don’t simply because writers are so easily replaceable. The market is massive for content creation, and many companies will hire the cheapest bidder.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as hiring for quality. I know quite a few who will hire writers and pay them more simply because they want good content.
My point is you can’t get excited over what you make per word if you’re still not making enough to pay the bills.
I’m not saying that having these types of clients is bad. However, you want to have more than one if you seriously want to get ahead.
Even though my current retainer client pays well, I still have to work content mills. Otherwise, I don’t have the money to do some of the fun things in life.
One of the biggest benefits to having a retainer contract, though, is you’ll have a semi-guarantee you’ll have regular income. You don’t need to worry about whether the content mills are out of work for the day.
Falling for the $35-$45 Per Hour Trap
Another element you need to watch are companies who offer a high rate of pay per hour. Sure, you can make $42 per hour…by doing a 350 word article in seven minutes for $0.014 per word.
What if you only did one of those per day from that company? A lot of businesses like this cannot guarantee you’ll have constant work.
Can you really live off of $4.90 five days a week? Because that’s how much that 350 word article will pay. For this to be a viable form of income, you’d have to do a lot of these articles.
I can’t say that all platforms are like this. However, I have seen many of them suck freelance writers in with this promise only to deliver a paltry number of jobs. Some of them will even ask you for money up-front to gain “private access” to lists of companies who pay writers.
You can do this with a simple Google search.
How I Determine What I am Worth
To determine how much money I make per hour, I take the total amount I make for the week and divide it by 40. This is what I make if I was to work full-time at some other company. And it’s also what I base contracts on.
For example, you’ll average about $12.50 per hour if you make $500 in one week.
I keep track of my income throughout the course of a whole year. It’s quite a convoluted formula, but it provides an estimate all year long regarding how much I make.
Why do I do this? Because some days are heavier than others. If you make only $25 today, it doesn’t mean you won’t make more tomorrow. There were days when the work flow was so low I only made a couple of bucks. Then the next day, I would make nearly $200 in team and direct orders.
Don’t just focus on how much you made today. The longer you record your income, the more accurate the numbers become.
Pay Per Word is Subjective
I don’t focus too much on what I make per word. For me, it’s all about how much I can make in an eight-hour period for the day. Even though $0.01 per word doesn’t sound like a lot, you can make a lot of money if you’re quick and stay focused. Remember, freelance writers are usually paid according to productivity.[template id=”2089″]
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