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Why You’re Getting Paid $3 Per Article

one dollar billDepending on who you are and what kind of writing you do:

It could be $1

It could be $5

It could be $20

It could even be $50 an article

As long as it is much less than what you deserve and what you really want to earn, there’s a reason why you’re getting paid lower, and I bet you’d want to find out what this reason is!

How I Went from $100 an Article to $40 an Article in One Year

If you’ve been reading blogs dedicated to freelancers and professionals for a while now and have paid attention to articles on pricing, you’ll notice that the general consensus is that your rates will increase the more you work, and the more experience you ha.

But let’s be honest, this isn’t always the case for everybody!

I knew it wasn’t the case for me awhile ago.

I had written earlier about how my first client was willing to pay me $100 per article with my first contact, a year ago. What I didn’t say, explicitly, was how the amount I was paid per article (for the same client) eventually simmered down to $40 per article.

Yes, $40!

That wasn’t just a little reduction in price per article, but significantly less than half of what I used to be paid when I started.

The funny thing was I’d have thought the problem was with the client, but when something similar happened with one of my other clients, I realized that the problem was with me.

The same way it is with a lot of writers reading this now, who are probably experiencing the same thing.

The Worst Enemy of Any Professional

Whether you’re a writer, a blogger, a musician, a programmer, or even a politician, not getting rid of this enemy can spell the end of your career.

It is the reason why my payment per article reduced from $100 to $40 in one year.

It is the reason why a lot of people reading this can only make $3 per article, and it is the reason why so many writers find it difficult to get any clients at all.

It is STAGNANCY.

Read that again, aloud!

The Truth

Stagnancy can be in many forms.

For some people, it is doing the same thing you’ve been doing for the past 5 years the same way you used to.

For other people, it is learning that new technique which just expired.

But irrespective of which category you fall into, stagnancy will always be a threat to your career.

Let Me Explain…

To get my point across, we need to dive into economics.

According to Wikipedia, the 3rd law of demand and supply states that:

If supply increases and demand remains unchanged, then it leads to lower equilibrium price and higher quantity.

demand and supply graph

I have highlighted the 4 important points related to the current state of freelance writing online at the moment, and I hope they get my message across.

Here’s how things are playing out.

1. The economy in the US (and all over the world) is tanking every year. The rate of unemployment keeps increasing, and more and more people are starting to see that the best way to feed themselves is to be self-employed. They are starting to see that the best way to feed themselves is to be a freelancer.

2. Since the majority of the new population of freelancers only have general skills, the general market has a lot more supply of articles and freelancers, but an almost unchanged demand for freelancers and articles.

3. This only leads to higher quantity of everything – as a result the value of the “commodity” becomes lower.

*By “commodity”, I’m referring to the service being offered by freelancers.

4. Due to the above 3 factors, not only are new freelance writers affected in regards to low pay, but even existing highly paid freelance writers will be affected, since the overall perceived value of their service has reduced.

Note: Nothing was said about quality above. The market dictates what “quality” is, and even if you’re writing the same article everyone used to drool over 2 years ago, it could be entirely useless today.

Taking a look at the above points, we can easily say two things:

1. It is not your fault. After all, it isn’t that you’re giving your clients dross – compared to what you used to offer a year ago.

2. It is not your client’s fault. No, they wouldn’t pay you $50 for the same article everyone else is paying $5 for, especially when there are more than enough people willing to write them for a lower price.

Is There a Solution?

You bet!

There is indeed a solution, and that solution is to specialize, improve, and evolve.

Yes, evolve!

Instead of being complacent with where you are today, keep learning new skills every day.

Instead of writing in the same marketing space where everybody else wants to get their own piece of the pie, go into more competitive fields like health and law.

Of course, what you learn is totally up to you, but the only solution is to evolve.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but, no matter how great you are, if the general population in your field can do the same thing you’re doing, you probably don’t deserve a higher pay; or at least, according to market standards.

If you’re writing the same article you used to write a few years ago, you probably don’t desire a higher pay!

Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results – Albert Einstein

Learn new skills, keep improving, keep looking for better ways to write better articles that help your clients get better results, and don’t be afraid to dabble into unknown but profitable markets.

You don’t need to be an expert at it, yet.

It is going to be very difficult, but you should also realize that if it is easy, everybody would be doing it!

Do you think you deserve more than $3 per article? What are you doing to constantly increase your worth?

Share in the comments below, and spread the word about this article!

55 Comments on "Why You’re Getting Paid $3 Per Article"

  1. Ray says:

    We currently pay $80 for articles that are approximately 1500-200 words each. I dont mind at all paying for it if the return on my investment is there. If im showing up and clients are calling because of that article then its well worth it.

    Ray Perez
    http://www.miamifloridahomesecurity.com

  2. Wonderful post indeed!

    I had to re-read that subhead that mentioned that you went from $100 to $40, thinking at first that it must be a typo 🙂

    But yes, you are so right that with so many freelance writers out there doing the very same kind of writing, why should anyone pay you more when they can get the same kind of work for less – unless you are truly unique and different in your work.

    Or as you mentioned, diversify your niche and evolve to begin learning new skills that make you different from others. I lately started writing for magazines and being a freelance writer that’s another good option I found. However, you do need to hunt and apply for the ones that really pay well before you find something worthwhile.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Aha, I knew that part can be a little confusing.

      The key to succeeding online today as a writer is to keep evolving; the more you know and can do, the more people will be willing to pay you what you’re worth.

  3. You’re so right – freelance writing rates don’t automatically increase according to “time served”. And good writers don’t necessarily get paid better than bad writers! It depends on the client’s requirements.

    I’ve found that the only way I consistently get work at good rates is by keeping up-to-date with a lot of news in the blogging industry and in my specialist topics, so that I can write a more detailed, engaging and insightful piece than the average freelance.

    Specialise, improve and evolve – as you said, it’s the way forward for any writer!

    • Exactly, Sophie!

      It’s all about your client and what you’re able to offer.

      Specializing, improving, and evolving really is the key!

  4. Mahesh verma says:

    What a Post Oni , writing good article can be a good source of income, but you have to write something unique and different for earning more and more. We are offering $10 per article for original article.

  5. Hmmmmmmmm! Oni. You did it again!

    This is an insightful post that will help serious freelance writers reposition themselves and become exceptional from the mass of non-serious ones.

    You really hit the nail on the head when you said
    “specialize, improve and evolve.”

    The above three words are very powerful when put into perspective.

    Once again, I’m so proud of you, Dele.

    Lest I forget, when is the subsequent ebook coming out? I’m patiently looking forward to downloading it.

    Keep up the good work.

    Saeed Sikiru Ajagbe

    • Aha, thanks bro!

      In regards to the ebook, my plate is full right now, but I think I should get something out by next month!

  6. Very true. Freelance writing gigs have become competitive and the market is now flooded with new talent. There are writers who are willing to work for less than a dollar for a 500 word article. Seriously, where are we headed?

    As you said, we should all get out of our comfort zone if we want to stand a chance of making from article writing.

    Good job, much appreciated.

    Peter David.

  7. Naveen says:

    Onibaluci,

    You well said in this article, more freelancers are increasing these days willing to write the articles for cheap bucks. For example if someone write for me $10/ article and other one willing to do same thing for $8 or less.

    When other one see this, they demand for $5 and provide bulk orders and people willing to accept that too, so I personally believe there is no end for this.

    But, quality is indeed one in order to get conversion rate, see if you write for someone and they mention ‘written by Onibaluci’ means they can get 200+ comments, more likes more shares, so everything goes virally, but instead if someone write for very cheap (not cheap) bucks means there will not be any waves in the post.

    So quality is ultimately win here.

    • Hey Naveen,

      Quality matters indeed, and that is one reason why we need to keep improving; it not only makes us better, but it also help our clients and help us get paid more.

      BTW It’s “Onibalusi”, not “Onibaluci”

  8. Rahul Ghosh says:

    This is one of the best written article by you Oni…Very true words.

  9. Once again EPIC Oni. You are absolutely correct. Stagnation is the major cause of downfall and the best solution to overcome it is to “evolve”.

  10. This is true. And you are right about specialising. I was fighting up a storm trying to make money online in the same way other people are doing it. Turns out, we all have different talents and I could never do what those people do.

    The great news is that they can’t do what I do either. So, I’ve hung up my affiliate jacket (I still do a little, but I don’t place much emphasis on it). I don’t bother much with ads etc. I write and I edit. I can’t fit in their boxes, so I’ve made one of my own for which I’m the boss – so I know exactly what to do.

    You cleverly quoted, Einstein – you can’t do the same things the same ways and expect different results. Your idea about specialising is a different way to go about doing the same thing (writing). You’ll definitely get different – better results.

    Build your own box and stand tall on it!

    • You’re right on spot, Anne!

      I also love your closing line on building your on box and standing tall on it, and I think it’s so true!

  11. “Instead of writing in the same marketing space where everybody else wants to get their own piece of the pie, go into more competitive fields like health and law.”

    So I have to head back to school and get a law or medical degree to make big money writing articles? Not quite as easy as I had previously been led to believe!

    • Actually, you don’t!

      Freelance writing is mostly about writing in fields you know nothing about, and nobody will progress if we all had to get a degree to write in a field.

      It’s all about conducting your research properly, and helping your client pass her message across.

  12. Puneet says:

    I thought Its typo that you have fall down from $100 from $40 but I as I read the article I got to know more about it. Nice post Oni.

  13. keny says:

    Nice post at that;

    Not too long post and easy to understand.

    I want to ask: Do you really think that freelance will be the best in the nearest future as people are beginning to see it as the only way of being self-employed though you said it all and that’s, specialize, improve, and evolve. even with this?

    • Thanks, bro!

      Yep, I think the field will only get better.

      The market will soon be overloaded with more crap than ever, and people will be able to get articles for relatively cheap, but the price for REAL work will only increase; and only those who can learn to specialize, improve, and evolve will benefit.

  14. Phlos Mudis says:

    Great thoughts there Oni. The mention of writing articles in fields like law is a good idea. And it is really great if one has some knowledge on the laws applicable to a particular country or region they want to target.

    And may be that is one of the easiest ways to keep moving from $3 to something like $11 or more.

    Had to check the Wikipedia article on supply and demand. Thanks for the link.

  15. Great post, Onibalusi!

    I know what you mean about stagnancy. I started out writing articles that only want to drive traffic into the site, regardless of quality, and did the same for almost six months. It wasn’t until my first client challenged me with a new assignment – writing health news articles – did I find my true niche. In this assignment, I did what I do best: research, produce high-quality original articles, and in words that are easy to understand for readers not familiar with medical jargon.

    I also discovered how well I do in writing blog posts about fashion, beauty, and even celebrity gossip. And I have more to explore!

    • Awesome, Nelle!

      I’m glad you’ve experienced this yourself, and that you agree with me 🙂

  16. I was about to get into article writing for $, but immediately realized that wasn’t going to bring in enough money. I think you’ve got to create an interactive eBook package and back it up with a wealth of support articles. You can pretty much give the articles out for free as long as you get the backlink to your eBook package.

    I don’t have the time to write enough to make money creating articles.

    Oni, you’ve gotta write a biography about your own life. Chris Guillebeau’s book $100 Startup is just one example of what you can do just writing about experiences. It’s a NYT best seller and a top Amazon seller too. He’s gotta be killing it.

    • Aha, I’m flattered!

      I don’t have any plans to write a biography, but I hope I can write one some time in the future when I’m very successful 🙂

  17. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I strongly agree with you! Freelancer writer is getting more in the market and the problem is that they can charge as low as they can to get a job. Like you said, there will be a reduction if supply is more than demand. It goes same to blogging world, everyone is doing the same thing, therefore advertisers look for the cheapest blogger to advertise their product.

    It’s getting difficult to survive these days, the only way is to keep learning new thing and EVOLVE, otherwise we got no way out.

    Well said Onibalusi!

  18. Great post, innovation is the key word in the competitive world.

  19. Having enough knowledge in any particular field is what will bring in the cash…I hate to say, people who claim to write on all subjects get paid for less no matter how long they have been doing this for…

    The blogging world or freelancing world is heading towards specialization.

    The idea of going into specialized fields like law is great but you should note that, Law is a complex discipline and no one will hire you to write on law if you do not have substantial formal knowledge…

    I have a degree in Law from a London University, Diploma in Para Legal and also studied Law at college level but the dicey nature of the principles of Law makes it exceptionally difficult to write on Law compared to other topics (the research that must go into law writings in itself is a big load)…I am therefore wondering how a freelancer with no formal education in such a field can even tackle it.

    Even if he/she can, the one giving the job out will not be willing to hire such a person, knowing the nature of Law…

    So I agree that specialization is the way forward but not all subject areas can easily be specialized…Example is LAW

    • So true!

      In regards to having a degree, while some fields are very technical, I don’t think you need a degree to write on all.

      The most important trait a freelance writer can have is the ability to research, so writing about any field isn’t impossible. Of course, there’ll be a difference if an expert in that field is the one doing the writing 🙂

  20. Danny says:

    Bamidele, awesome article man. Yes, just evolve!

    “1. It is not your fault.
    2. It is not your client’s fault. ”

    Such key points. People sometimes choose finger-pointing over getting to work! The world is a dynamic place, and chances are if you aren’t changing along with it, you’re going to get left behind.

    Great blog man 🙂

    • I’m glad you caught that!

      Success is all about forgetting who’s to blame and focusing on changing things 🙂

  21. Becca says:

    Because of more writers arises in the market today, some freelancers
    accept the job even in a small amount.

  22. Tony says:

    It all depends on what niche you’re writing about. For example, my niche (finance) pays quite a lot because people who really understand the stock and commodity markets are hard to come by.

  23. Chris says:

    Hi Bamidele, thanks for sharing your experience. Progress is really important, not only in writing business. The same is with SEO, blogging and even offline things – you must be the best from the bests 😉
    BR, Chris

    • Exactly!

      “You must be the best from the bests”; so true! 🙂

  24. tcs0 says:

    This makes so much sense now. Thanks.

  25. PrIyAnGsHu says:

    The number of freelancers are increasing day by day, and because of that, the demand is being distributed among them. So, you will surely need to lower down your price in order to get more clients. That’s what has been found to be working these days in the world of freelancers :).

    • So, you will surely need to lower down your price in order to get more clients

      How sure are you about that?

  26. Lance Clancy says:

    Hi Bamidele,

    I really love what you have written here, every sentence and paragraph let me hang on for great tidbits of information.

    You are right, we should continuously strive to improve, not only in article writing but also in every aspect of our daily lives.

    Even in my work, I can apply what I have learned in your article. From now on, your thoughts and insights here shall be my guide in what I write in my own website.

    • Thanks Lance for the great comment!

      I’m glad I could be of some help 🙂

  27. A. Kayastha says:

    Interesting article!

    Your story is very much inspiring Oni. Thank you so much for sharing. Every writer must read!

  28. Hi Bamidele, I’m not interested in being a freelancer, but this post is very useful also for who writes for his blog.

    I agree with you: one of main point in being successful is to provide fresh contents, especially in these days when there is a very large competition.
    It’s very important to have new ideas and to try new things.

    Thanks for this very interesting post.

  29. sai krishna says:

    Its really great that getting 100$ per each article, I really shocekd when reading your monthly revenue, Also I saw your hard work in your income report.

  30. Ray says:

    I highly agree. If everyone has the same general skills as you, then you don’t deserve to be paid more than they do. Yep, stagnancy. And i highly agree with the solution as well. If you spend more time learning more and more, you should get paid more. I like the idea that your client should always pay you based on how much you know.

  31. George Ngosi says:

    Nice post. I am one of the writers getting paid $3 per article. Not only does it suck, but the workload is like a prison sentence. Reading your blog has made me realize that i need to view my writing career as a gift which needs to be appreciated. I will no longer accept low paying writing jobs. Thanks a lot Oni

  32. GADEL says:

    Thanks again for this insightful reminder.

  33. Gary says:

    This is a great post…I just found and bookmarked you thanks to another nice blog spot: probogger.net.

    Take care!

    Gary

  34. James Hannan says:

    Yes… Oni its not easy to get client $100/ article in this competitive world. This post will surely help.
    Thanks

  35. Chimezirim Odimba says:

    Oni!

    You definitely hit the point: Writers have to differentiate or perish — I don’t see how anyone can really build a great lifestyle by earning $5 per article. And, that’s what is inevitable (I mean $5 per article) if your work as a writer is just a commodity (When a product is a commodity price becomes the major point of differentiation — Ask walmart).

    We all need to take many steps forward: But how can we do that? You’ve actually dwelt and explained one…

    Getting into niches that most won’t dare to consider (Because they are complicated or very demanding). Some other points come to mind…

    1. Why do some copy writers earn as much as $50k per salescopy (along with royalties)?

    2. Why are you, Bamidele, able to charge as much as $800 per article (I saw in another post)?

    While the reasons may NOT be very obvious to many people, it is…

    1. The fact that they affect their clients’ bottom line directly (I mean top copywriters). Increase conversion rate from 1% to 2.5% with great copy and you’ll experience a 150% increase in revenue (for the same advertising dollars). Let’s assume that a company is able to get 50,000 visitors to their sales page and offer a product that sells with a profit margin of $500. They will make…

    50,000 visitors x 1/100 conversion x $500 per product = $250k

    or

    50,000 visitors x 2.5/100 conversion x $500 per product = $625k

    Depending on how good their copywriter is. So do you think a business owner would happily pay $50k for just one sales copy if it brings in $375k more for the same efforts (on his part)?

    Any smart business owner would gladly pay $50k to get a writer who can do this for their business.

    So beyond just writing articles, writers should focus on showing clients how they can affect their bottom lines (But that requires skill sets that many are unwilling to acquire).

    2. The fact that you can’t find that class of copywriters without knowing somebody. I once had to do a negotiation for a deal where the client already felt privileged making my acquaintance — It makes a big difference when a client is anxious to NOT miss having you on their team. They are they “beg mate” in the transaction — NOT you. This gives a big advantage.

    They’re so good at what they do that there are scarce (Many businesses are lining up for their limited time). How replaceable are you? That’s one way to look at how much people would be willing to pay for your service.

    For those writers who are asking about how Bamidele makes $800 per article, just take some time out to create a resource as valuable as this (I mean this blog) and see if wonderful things won’t start happening to you.

    Can your potential clients see proof that you will make a difference (it’s NOT enough to make claims)? Youngprepro.com is proof that this guy can get traffic to his clients’ sites with quality content (preselling and then selling them).

    It’s hard work and that’s the good thing about it — Many people won’t even try and that’s why those who do will be in an elite class.

    There are many other reasons that come to mind but I don’t want to hijack a great post. But my point is: It’s all up to us as writers to determine what we get to earn. Don’t forget that content is the true currency of the web.

    What would you do if you had legal rights to print and use your country’s legal tender on demand?

  36. Charles says:

    Thanks Oni for yet another intriguing post. To be honest, I usually ignore unfamiliar fields such as law and medical writing. However, my attitude has changed after reading this post. I’m getting ready to come out of my comfort zone this year :-).

  37. Dan Clarke says:

    I just started reading your posts today, and I am very impressed.
    I do freelance writing part time, and while I make sure to make at least $20 and hour, I’m making a lot of notes so that I can increase it.
    And you’ve just made it so that my day is now packed editing my site to make it more specialized.
    Cheers

  38. Jayne says:

    It’s nice to see a professional writer not blowing smoke up everyone’s as#. Seriously, it’s flooded and we’ve all experienced downward pricing pressure. The blog writers who lie and act like they are immune to the economy really bug me, because I know they’re lying and it hurts their credibility. … I will come back and read your blog again and again.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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