Freelance Blog + SEO

Q & A: When do you say 'when'?

I'm still on vacation (blogging from my beachside lanai - highly recommended!), but I did want to offer some advice in my own words, rather than relying on my fabulous guest bloggers for the whole month. Here's a question that a reader emailed to me a few weeks ago. I have a few more guest posts to post, but I'll be back in full force very soon!

Q: How do you decide when a freelance project just isn't worth it for you, in terms of amount of research, backend work, writing time, etc. in relation to pay? I'm writing because I am in the midst of a freelance project that's kicking my butt (writing SEO articles in a very regimented format that always get kicked back for revisions, lengthening the short writing time they promised), and I'm starting to feel a little browbeaten by the amount of work required for what I'm being paid. Any advice?

A: A lot of writers (not including me, unfortunately) charge by the hour so they can avoid this type of situation. This isn't always an option, so you want to look at how much this project is earning you per hour by adding up the time it takes you to research, write, rewrite, and invoice each piece.

But more importantly, consider what you're learning and if having these writings in your portfolio this will help you land more of the type of projects you want to do. If your goal is to become an SEO guru, then you might want to learn as much as you can now so you can move up to higher paying SEO projects. If you're really hoping to write poetry or query women's magazines, then it might be time to refocus.
Here's a test I sometimes use with new-to-me editors: I test-drive one project before I commit to several or a longer term project. I pitch an idea, and if it's accepted, I'll write the article and see if the editor asks a million questions and demands multiple rewrites or if she thanks me for the article, makes a few tweaks, and promptly sends a check. Unless it's a very high-paying (or high-profile) client, I'm unlikely to work with someone again if they fall into the former category. There are enough opportunities out there that you don't need to write for people who don't respect your work.
A little over a year ago, I gave up a regular gig that wasn't giving me the money (or clips) to take me to the "next level" like I wanted. Moving on has given me more time to pursue my dream projects, and I've never looked back and second guessed that choice. If your instincts are telling you it's time to move on, then I doubt you'll regret your decision, either.

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Q & A: When do you say 'when'? + SEO