Free at Last From Being Free: How to Stop Writing for Free

“Should I write for free?”

I hear this question a lot from new freelance writers. The answer?

Well, when it comes to writing.

Many freelance writers start off their career thinking that they should do a little free work to build up their clips so they can get paid gigs. The problem is, once you start down the free road, it’s hard to take an exit. People want to keep getting free stuff as long as they can and will baulk at paying your new rates.

Well, I say tough. If they want quality work, then they need to pay. I encourage new writers not to go down the pro-bono road, if they can avoid it at all. (Here’s how to get clips and gigs, even if you’ve never written for a client.)

Be free from writing for free.

If you’ve fallen into the free trap and want to start earning for your work, I’ve come up with a script that can help:

“I really enjoy working with you, but I am advancing in my career and my time is becoming limited. I can only do work for paying clients. I would love to continue working with you. My rates are XYZ, would you be able to continue with me as a paying client?”

This script gives the client no wiggle room. Either they decide to stay with you, or they set you free to make an income. This approach is non-threatening, though, so there’s a good chance you’ll convert the client into a paying client.

Have questions? Ask me in the comments!

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