From 75 rupees per article and climbing…the journey of a freelance writer
After I decided to officially freelance as a writer, I started approaching companies. I created a decent-enough introductory email with relevant information portraying what I could do for a company. I chose to freelance because my husband had a transferrable job and I was what you call an accompanying spouse.
Within a month of sending out my “applications” I got a positive response from a company based in Chennai. Eager to kick off, I agreed to their terms (without negotiating) and began. They needed a ghost writer to write up to 5 articles a day across various topics. The articles were mainly for seo purposes. This was the first mistake, no negotiating.
So I remember sitting at my desk and writing about window grills this one day. I got paid Rs. 75/- per article and that was a really low figure. But when it came to freelancing, I was a novice. I had just started and believed in the concept that something is better than nothing. Second mistake, showing that you’ll work for anything.
I got so secure in the rhythm of having a work order sheet in my inbox every morning that writing those 5 mid quality articles per day and choosing not to work on Saturdays and Sundays seemed like a good deal. I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I was spending hours researching on the subjects I had to write about. For 75 rupees a piece.
A month turned into three and eventually a year. I was doing the same thing.
That was the third mistake. Closing my own doors
If you freelance, you are doing so at your own risk. You have to keep looking out for opportunities, the opportunities won’t come to you. To do this you have to stay on top of things. By getting cosy, you are closing your own doors. Keep looking at what companies want and need.
They say it takes a life changing incident to really wake you up. I was always raised to be looked after and suddenly I had to look after myself. Money didn’t just become something I needed, it became the core of everything.
The jolt that 75/- rupees per article is not going to be enough to pay for groceries woke me up. I started exploring full-time opportunities on sites like monster. I applied wherever I saw the word vacancy. I didn’t stop looking for places that needed freelance writers through all this. At around this time, a friend had referred me to someone who ran a small social media agency out of home. She always needed writers. She gave me a project or two and offered to pay Rs. 700/- per blog article.
From 75/- to 700/-. What had I done wrong. Or rather, what had I done right? I realized, I hadn’t compared opportunities before. I took the first thing that came my way, spent long hours working and at the end of the month the total efforts definitely did not correspond to the pay. And I had done nothing about it.
I still write. Its been a long time since. And it kept growing from there. Because I had learnt from my mistakes.
The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous