Here’s How You Can Compete and Win Against All Those Established Writers

Carol Tice

How Freelance Writers Can Compete Against Established Writers. Makealivingwriting.comDoes it seem like the impossible dream to move up and get good-paying writing clients?

If you’re a newbie, you can’t land bigger businesses that have ongoing work at great rates, right? That’s all sewn up by the established freelance writers.

If that’s what you think…today I’d like to give you a peek through the looking glass.

I got a reach-out recently from a website editor, who told me about her experience trying to hire bloggers for $50-$100 a post.

Given that most blogging ads seem to offer $5-$20 a post, you’d think it’d be easy to find quality writers who’d turn in awesome stuff just ready to publish.

But…it’s actually not easy to find a good writer 

Even at decent rates.

This editor related to me that she had placed an ad on one of the big paid job boards for bloggers online, with a description of the gig along these lines:

Need regular writers to contribute content relating to the tech/cloud-database industry, worker productivity, worker empowerment, etc. We are looking to pay around $50 an article, and would like to have some regular contributors that can write articles weekly around these topics.

Well! You’d think given that the majority of blogging gigs seem to pay $20 a post or less, there would be a crowd of solid writers lining up for this gig.

The editor hired 20 writers…

The editor dug through the resume stack and chose 20 writers to try out, based mostly on who submitted the best headlines. She assigned each a $50 article as a trial run.

OK, so maybe they weren’t all going to turn out to be awesome. But surely some of those writers turned in stellar work, yes?


There was a lot of English-as-a-second-language stuff. Mostly, everything I’ve gotten is like a poorly put together Wikipedia article.

I feel terrible turning all of these people away, but it’s just too much. I’m not sure what to do with all these messy pieces of writing.

I figured I would at least get usable posts. Boy was I wrong!

This editor’s quandary? She couldn’t decide whether to attempt to rewrite the 20 junk blog posts herself, or to reject all the posts and start over again trying to hire writers.

Either way, it was a big mess, and it was putting her behind schedule for launching her site.

And one thing was for sure — none of these writers was getting a second assignment.

Mediocrity is common

Yes, there seem to be a million writers out there. But there aren’t a million good ones.

I know, because I’ve been the writer called in to mop up messes like the one above. To rewrite everything into something that could be published.

These kind of writing-assignment train wrecks happen all the time.

What’s really keeping you from good pay

Now that you know there’s plenty of opportunity for you to poach gigs from mediocre “pro” writers…all you need to know is how you’re going to identify great clients who’re a fit for you, contact them, and convince them to hire you.

When I ask most writers what they’re doing to market their writing business, the most common answer is: nothing.

To earn more, you’ll need to change that.

Join my freelance writer community.



  1. Damien Elsing

    Wow .. I am curious what board your friend put the ad on. Surely if you’re going to pay $50/article you would look at previous work and have some back and forth correspondence? (I have had to jump through hoops for $15/article gigs in the past…) Anyway, going to check out the 6 steps event now. Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      That event is going to be amazing, Damien! Chris is taking the best of what is usually a 21-week course (at a MUCH higher price, obviously) and this will be like a best-of tips for getting great copywriting clients.

      I do think this editor didn’t do enough vetting…it was her first time hiring. But still! You’d think out of 20 writers you chose out of that stack of 200 you get off a big job board ad, a few of them would know how to write. But nope.

  2. J. Delancy

    I can totally see this happening. The amount of would-be writers is incredible and the good ones can talk themselves out of gigs all the time. The Webinar with Chris Marlow was very good and it highlighted how often the 80/20 rule comes up. By learning the clients needs before the pitch, the chance of success goes way up. The upcoming webinar should be great.

    • Carol Tice

      Yeah — there are a lot of writers out there who sort of apply to anything and everything. Then they’re often in over their heads on a topic they don’t know well. And hers was fairly technical.

      • Neil


        I agree topics they do not know. I have heard you say it, that even if you did not know the topic you would learn it. You ahve incredible insight and thanks for this blog.


  3. Sherri

    Bloggers write posts for their blog but that doesn’t necessarily make them a good writer- like someone who has practiced and studied the art. I think the editor was asking for writers on the wrong job board.

    • Carol Tice

      Very possibly. As you may know I would prefer they use my elite Junk-Free Job Board in Freelance Writers Den if they have a decent gig 😉

      I’ve had raves from companies that have used it and I know quite a few members have gotten gigs through the board too, which makes me really happy.

      I’ve had some requests to run a paid-ad board for the Den, but I’m not going to do that, because then it’s a situation where you’re taking any old ads, and back to wading through the junk offers. I like leaving it free to any quality client that wants to find writers 😉

  4. Thomas

    The webinar was pretty good, learned a bit and it was interesting to hear Chris’ advice.

    I missed the live version, but was able to listen anyway when I returned to the office-thanks for that.

    • Carol Tice

      My pleasure!

  5. Anna

    This was great post. Thank you for letting us in on this. It reminds me of the Bertrand Russell quote,
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    The better writers are holding themselves to a higher standard and don’t think they deserve the higher pay, while the not-so-good ones can’t even see their own shortcomings. That and lower-paying clients are often more demanding, so it’s easy to think if you can’t please someone paying $5, you’ll never please someone paying $50. Of course, that’s not always the case.


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