..and I never saw it coming. My good friend M runs a web development company and about three weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to do some freelance work for him for a few months… writing! So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing 16 hours a week for him writing articles and copy about various things for his websites, including new phones, scrap cars and second-hand clothes shops. Most of the work is for SEO, which means cramming as many keywords in as I can to get the websites to rise up the Google rankings. I enjoy this, it’s quite a challenge to get the word “scrap yard” into a 700-word article 28 times without starting to look crazy. I seem pretty good at it too.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t know how much to charge him, and he didn’t know how much to offer. I know a freelance copywriter so I asked her about daily rates. She told me she charges £300-350 a day.
Yes. £300-350 a day. Minimum £250, she says.
Now obviously that’s not what I’m charging M (far from it) but if I could charge that and could get the clients, I could work a couple of days a week, at my leisure, and that would be plenty. I could fit it around (fingers crossed) childcare, too. And if (god forbid) the path of motherhood doesn’t open to me, writing could be a career path into which I could throw myself.
this whole experience has certainly got me thinking. I’ve been thinking for a few months now that perhaps I was flogging a dead horse with the career I’ve been trying to get into, but I felt utterly at a loss as to what to replace it with. I might have found a possibility here. People have been telling me for years that I should write for a living but I’ve never thought about how that might actually happen. Perhaps I could be a freelance copywriter.
Although the idea of chasing clients terrifies me – how do I make myself and potential clients believe that I am a professional when I feel like a 14-year-old girl most of the time? – I love the idea of writing for money. In fact, when M asked me if I would like to do this for him, my whole body went YES! in a way that none of the jobs I’ve applied for in the last couple of years have really pinged me.
What I’m doing at the moment is easy – it’s primarily for SEO so the quality of the writing matters less than cramming keywords in. I do feel a bit anxious about trying to write good copy for money, because writing on cue is something I find difficult, hence the reason I’ve let my “write the guest post” goal slide for so many months. But I have done it before – at school I studied English Language right to A-level, and I wrote on cue and to a variety of prescribed styles every day for years and years. I’m motivated, too, by the idea of others being pleased with my writing. I’ve always been motivated by grades and being judged good at something.
I need to give this some thought. I don’t really know how to go about this but I have a strong feeling that, if this is the right path for me, it might actually happen by accident. It has so far.