Cheap business owners

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About Doreen Martel

Well-rounded freelance writer who contributes to various blogs, paid to write sites and revenue sharing sites. Doreen is legally blind and has worked at home for more than 10 years. She uses the lessons learned from this experience to enhance her writing and share information with others.

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10 Responses to Cheap business owners

  1. 12 at 9:45 am


    I’ve just joined the oDesk group on LinkedIn where I came across your website.

    I am new to oDesk, but am not new to freelancing.

    In fact, I’m ranked in the Top 1% of all workers on a site called vWorker:

    I am both employer and worker on vWorker, and the same on oDesk.

    In my experience as both worker and employer, I find the following rules usually help me not only to land the kind of gigs I want at the rate I want (mostly), but they also help to hire the best people for the gigs I post myself, and get the best quality work.

    I will not say that I am the one who championed this, but I heard it somewhere, and have applied for the last 7-9 years, and it has worked remarkably well for me, so here they are:

    In most freelance work situations, you will be able to get 2 out of the 3 things listed below, and typically the one you don’t pick becomes the converse.




    In a typical example, let’s say you are looking to hire someone to write 15 articles for you, and your requirements are that these are articles be done quickly (i.e. you want *FAST WORK*) as per your terms (which is relative), and you want the articles to be high quality (i.e. you want *GOOD WORK*), then it stands to reason (again, remember the last is converse) that said work will need to be compensated fairly well (again relative) (i.e. meaning it won’t be *CHEAP WORK*).

    In my experience, I find that most employers are looking to get *CHEAP WORK* (relative again, since cheap to one person could mean crazy to another), which is high in quality (i.e. *GOOD WORK*). This typically means that they will need to exercise a little flexibility in their schedule (i.e. conversely it isn’t something that will take priority to the worker [read: *FAST WORK*] unless the employer is paying very well).

    Typically I explain this to clients, and they get it almost immediately and modify their maximum budget since in a lot of cases, they don’t realize what they’re asking for (i.e. my specialty is server administration) is a bit excessive and not balanced with their budget (i.e. secure my server to prevent hacks [max budget $5/hr] for example).

    So typically I’ll explain that while they may find someone to help with this, odds are the person will cut corners (because $5/hr isn’t realistic for high-quality, scalable, server administration work) and will deliver a solution that may not be scalable in nature, or won’t be something that will really work to prevent a specific problem, thereby costing the employer more later on (which ends up increasing the factored costs).

    In conclusion, I guess the best way to put this is:




    Hope it helps, since it’s just my 3 cents. =0)

    – Eric Gillette

  2. 12 at 8:12 am

    Heh…this post sounds a lot like the gripes I presented in my own article on freelance writing site scams…

  3. 12 at 1:03 pm

    I had someone approach me wanting me to write 5-10 500 articles a day for around $1.00 per. I asked her if she thought the over 250,000 (at the time) words on my site wrote themselves. She gave me samples of unsatisfactory work she had paid for (for the same assignment) and asked me to rewrite them.

    I cannot afford to waste valuable time on cleaning up other’s mess when they got what they paid for in the first place.


    • 12 at 7:14 am

      Been there, done that :). I bid on a lot of jobs at oDesk and I often tell clients that they may not want to pay me $30 an hour to write but that in the long run, they’ll save money because I will get them to them perfectly the first time. No rewriting needed. Or, they can pay me $50 for proofing and editing per hour 😉

  4. 12 at 7:48 am

    Hi Doreen!

    I’ve seen job pots like these in bidding sites I frequent. It’s very saddening, but the thing is those of us who live outside the US, UK, Canada, or any other Native-speaking countries are often the ones “victimized” by these kind of jobs.

    It really makes me ask if clients are hiring us as freelance writers or as Filipino freelance writers. It’s like they’re paying us on the basis of nationality and not skills

    I admit though that my rates are considerably lower than yours, but only because I’m just starting out. I try my best not to give in to jobs like these even when its a dry spell.

    I know I need to put myself at a higher standard if I want to be treated fairly.

    Sadly, no seems able to control the way jobs like these are run. The very new ones who need feedback are most likely to bite.

    What can we do? Like really, what?


    Thanks for voicing out my, and a hundred other freelancers’, concerns, Doreen!

  5. 12 at 10:23 am

    I’m not sure that I’d consider myself at odds with clients… I charge a rate that is reasonable for someone with my experience and skill, and those who appreciate quality are happy to pay it. While I agree that everyone should work to the best of their ability no matter what the rate of pay, you simply are not going to get a dedicated professional writer at less than professional rates. So, while you may get someone who earnestly toils away at your job, they just are not going to have the ability to craft quality copy that gets results.

    Your survey is not working properly (there is no place to enter a rate for 500 words, and the second question seems to only address buyers) so I will answer here:

    – I am a freelance writer
    – I do believe that you get what you pay for
    – I would quote a price between $25 and $75 for a 500 word article, depending on the need for research, first-hand interviews and other factors.

    • 12 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Lara, I fixed it 😉 I do often find that we are at odds and like you I feel like I charge reasonable prices for work. I typically charge about $20 for a 500 word article myself but I’ve seldom had to do a lot of research or other types of “heavy duty” work. Thanks for commenting!

      • 12 at 11:29 am

        I get the occasional piece that requires interviews, possibly because my background is in journalism. I’d love to do more, since new information from outside sources adds more value to the ‘net.

        Just read on the sidebar that you use oDesk. When you take into account oDesk’s cut, the effective minimum rate that we are charging clients is probably about the same. I probably spend more unpaid hours on customer acquisition, though… six of one, half dozen of the other, right?

        • 12 at 11:42 am

          I suspect you are right. I have both oDesk clients and private clients and I also do some content mill work. All in all, it keeps me busy. I have a fairly steady stream of work so I’m pretty lucky there and I seldom post for new assignments at oDesk, they typically come to me at this point. :)