Writer’s Log #17: Can Beggars be Choosers?

By Joe Dyton

It’s been a week or so since I started using my new Letter of Introduction and the replies have begun to trickle into my inbox. A few have been along the lines of “All of Company X’s writing is done in-house” or “We don’t have a need right now, but let’s keep in touch.” I see plenty of those on a daily basis, but this past week, I got two responses that were a little more interesting.

The first response ties into the title of this post, “Can Beggars Be Choosers?”. I heard back from a sports blog, and I was excited about the opportunity. Sports is one of my favorite topics to write about, along with pop culture. After showing them a few of my writing samples, I was offered the opportunity to cover one of my favorite sports teams for the site. Getting paid to write about sports has been my dream since I was a freshman in college, so this seemed like an ideal situation. But, as I read more about how I’d be compensated, it sounded like my pay would be based more on how much traffic my posts generate as opposed to a per post fee. I emailed the editor of the site about how exactly their pay structure worked, and am currently awaiting his reply.

If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you know my goal is to land at least six steady clients by the end of 2014. I currently have two prior to starting The Aspiring Freelancer. So with a big, fat “0” is still staring me in face as far as new clients go, should I even be questioning this site’s pay structure? Should I just accept the gig and see how it goes so I can get that “0” off of the board? Personally, I feel my time would be better spent searching for a client that pays a straight-up, decent wage than writing for an unknown, and possibly small income. I know how tough getting that first client can be however, so I ask you more experienced freelance writers out there, do you take any client on at first, or use your time to land the best ones possible? Sound off in the comments section below.

The other response of interest is one I’ve gotten a couple of times in the past when I look for freelance work; a company asks if I’d be interested in a full-time gig. This happened again this week; I saw a high-end sports apparel retailer was looking for a copywriter, so I reached out asking if they had a need for freelance writers. I got a reply back saying my experience and background were of interest and the retailer asked if I was up for discussing the opening it had. Going in, I knew I wasn’t interested in another full-time job unless the salary was out of this world. After talking with one of their reps, it wasn’t a good match; from a full-time prospective anyway. I didn’t have enough writing experience in the areas they were looking for (product writing, social media), and as a start-up, they were looking for someone to put in more hours than I was willing to give. I did let them know if they could use an extra writer, to please keep me in mind. So, we’ll how that goes.

Overall, it looks like new letter is getting a half-decent amount of responses. I’ll keep sending it out (and maybe try a few other variations) and see what happens. 

Thanks for reading!

The Links:

Joel Runyon offers up suggestions on how to become uber-productive when working for yourself. 

Alexa Mason has tips for preparing for the instability of a freelance life.

Speaking of landing a first freelance writing gig, Tow Ewer explains how he got his.

Lauren R. Tharp explains how NOT to treat a fellow freelancer writer.

Koty Neelis lists six mindsets you have to dominate to become a freelance writer.

Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He may be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com.


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