How To Solve The 5 Biggest Issues Freelance Writers Face

8 months ago, I was sleeping in a sunroom at my mother’s house, unsure of how I would leave home without taking a 9-5 job that I would hate.

7 months ago, I started working as a freelance writer for Tommy Joiner and Tyler Gillespie at a company called Gingerbread Marketing.

5 months ago, I stopped bartending. I enjoyed writing A LOT more than bartending, and it paid me more per hour too.

1 month ago, I took a one way plane ticket to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The past month has been a whirlwind of new experiences, new people, and new lessons.

And none of it would have happened if it wasn’t for Gingerbread Marketing.

Gingerbread Vs Other Online Writing Jobs

Maybe you’re thinking, “well, Zak, that’s ridiculous. Of course you could have written for other companies and gotten to Thailand just as easily.”

Not so fast.

Talking with more experienced content and copywriters here in Thailand, I learned:

For someone with great writing skills but a short track record, it’s HARD to get writing jobs that pay well.

After comparing what Gingerbread paid me, and what other writers made working for other companies or on Upwork, I realized:

I had a SWEET gig.

My job with Gingerbread:

  • Gave me direction
  • Protected me from bad clients
  • Showed me the ropes of tying content writing and copywriting together
  • PAID a lot more than I would have been able to make on my own

But enough of my story, as fun as it is to write about.

Let’s switch to YOUR story. Why are you reading this blog post? Are you writing currently, but unhappy with it?

Or maybe you haven’t been paid for writing before, but you are a native fluency level English speaker who has written in college or other settings.

And you’re reading this blog post thinking: “I want a different job. I want to try writing. Maybe Gingerbread is the place for me…”

Let me tell you two things before moving into the “meat and potatoes” of this article:

  1. You have to PRODUCE at Gingerbread. Your writing doesn’t have to be literary, or poetic, or anything like that. But it must provide real value for the reader, and it has to be done on time.
  2. Working for Gingerbread solves 5 of the biggest problems a freelance writer would have to deal with otherwise.

The 5 biggest problems freelance writers face are:

  • Low pay / not paid on time
  • Pitching and dealing with clients
  • Lack of consistency with work month-to-month
  • Ridiculous / unrealistic deadlines
  • Lack of organization with the companies / clients you work for

Problem #1: Low Pay / Not Being Paid On Time

writing-for-gingerbread-pays-well

“So many employers and clients don’t understand that high quality writing can’t be had for $5…writers can’t live off that and will starve.

Gingerbread understands that and pays WAY more than the average client you’d find on Upwork.”
Noam L, writer at GB

Let’s be brutally honest: there’s a lot of freelance writing out there that doesn’t pay SHIT.

I remember looking at Upwork before working for GB, and seeing a job that paid $10 USD for a 1000 word blog post.

In other words, about a penny per word.

My friends, that is NOT good money. If you can do research on a topic, write about it in a way that gives value to others, and proofread/edit well for errors and flow…. You need to be paid more.

Much more. And GB’s rates for blog posts are the best that some of my more experienced copywriting friends have heard of. You can find out more information as to what they pay here.

But remember: sending a huge invoice doesn’t mean anything if the company doesn’t pay the invoice on time, every time.

If you’re like me, there’s been many a time in life where you would have huge problems if your cashflow doesn’t remain relatively consistent and predictable.

When companies don’t pay you on time, rent checks bounce, cell phones get turned off, and the gas gauge reads “empty.”

All because a client didn’t pay your invoice when they said they would.

At GB, I have ALWAYS been paid for my work on time.

You send your invoices in when your work is done and has been approved by your project manager. Those invoices get paid on the 1st and the 15th of the month.

It’s a huge relief – based on my current projects, I can predict my financial future pretty accurately.

The result? I’m able to dial my budget in and not have to worry about uncertainty too much.

Problem #2: Pitching and Dealing With Clients

If you’re working on your own, you have to pitch the clients, sell the clients, figure out exactly what they want, and then give them the work.

At GB, you just have to write. You don’t have to interact with the clients unless you choose to.

If you haven’t done freelancing yet, you might think: “what’s the big deal?”

Here’s the big deal: being a good writer and being a good salesperson / relationship builder are VERY different skillsets.

For example, I’m currently pretty bad at pitching work and selling clients. My writing skills are much stronger.

Tyler and Tommy are great at sales. So they go out and find good clients to work with, and then give me the writing.

We all win, because we can all contribute our skills as a team to the final product.

Even if you like sales, you’ve probably had the experience of dealing with clients that are very demanding and hard to work with.

It can be emotionally draining, to say the least.

At GB, my project managers act as a liaison between the clients and me, which lets me give the clients what they want while shielding me from client craziness.

Problem #3: Lack of Consistency Month to Month

“Freelancers crave both freedom and consistency. With this team, I’ve been able to maintain an ideal balance of work hours and downtime.

Working with Gingerbread means having my cake and eating it too.”
Ian H, writer at Gingerbread

Let’s get this out of the way: if you are a freelance writer, you are making an intentional choice to give up some stability and consistency in exchange for flexibility and freedom.

However, when you are always pitching clients on your own, or working with a less than stellar content marketing company, you might get tons of “one off” projects.

If it’s not clear, a “one off” project is a project that only happens one time, rather than a monthly recurring package like we have here at Gingerbread.

While the variety might be nice with single projects, the lack of financial consistency can be a killer. While you THINK you’re going to have work, you never know for sure.

GB can’t guarantee anything. A client could go out of business, and they would have zero control over that.

But generally, Gingerbread requires all of their clients to commit to a minimum of 3 months paid work.

And some projects continue for quite a long time.

That’s a huge deal. It gives you a bit of security and stability in this crazy world.

The “3 month minimum” package also makes you a better writer. You get the chance to get real feedback from paying customers who care about the quality of your work.

If you are doing a single project on Upwork, you probably WON’T get useful feedback if you mess up. The client will just choose to hire someone else next time.

 

Problem #4: Ridiculous / Unrealistic Deadlines

gingerbread-writers-have-reasonable-deadlines

Have you ever worked for a client that said they NEEDED the work done yesterday?

When you NEED money from that client, an email like that can create sleepless nights.

Although you’re a freelance writer in theory, in reality you’re closer to a servant. You write when the boss person says you write!

With Gingerbread, while they are quite serious about hitting deadlines, everything is laid out clearly and fairly.

There are two schedules you can be on.

With Schedule A, you get your content templates on the 1st business day of the month. The completed posts are due by the 12th.

With Schedule B, same goes, except you get the work on the 13th and it’s due on the 25th.

Your projects almost always stay in the same schedule once you start. So if you make sure not to overcommit yourself to projects, you have plenty of time to get all of your work done without stressing or pulling long nights.

Granted, some situations outside your control can make it tough to hit deadlines (like when I was getting everything ready for my trip to Thailand). I’ve found that Tommy and Tyler are pretty flexible and understanding.

Problem #5: Lack of Organization / Direction From The Client

gingerbread-provides-clear-guidelines-for-the-work

I’ve only worked for a few clients other than GB when it comes to writing work.

But I can confidently tell you two things:

  1. Gingerbread has been 10x more organized than the other companies.
  2. Gingerbread has a well defined process in place for writing that makes my life A LOT easier.

Having well defined expectations for your work is really important. It gives you a clear target to shoot for while you are writing.

Clear expectations also help you learn and get better more quickly.

Gingerbread gives you blog post templates for each article they want you to write, and each template includes:

  • 3 pieces of similar content you can get quotes and ideas from
  • A goal of the article
  • The company you are providing the article for
  • The direction / context of the article

The template also lays out EVERYTHING you need to do WITH EXAMPLES.

Not only does this give you better feedback and make your life easier, the templates also give you a really useful idea of what a high quality blog post actually looks like.

This knowledge is invaluable for your freelancing efforts in the long term.

Ready To Take The Next Step?

Working for GB is NOT perfect.

If you aren’t willing to take constructive criticism, think on your feet a bit, and roll with the punches that come with working for a location independent company… you aren’t the right fit.

But if you enjoy writing, enjoy working for a company where you are treated well, and love the freedom of working wherever and whenever you want – Gingerbread is the place for you.

Follow this link to start your application process and take that next step towards a better work life.

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