A freelancer should earn the same income as an equivalent level employee. In this article, I will share my actual income over the last 4 years. I will show my progress as I have transitioned from part-time to full-time freelance technical writing work.
Why would you in-source, or outsource your writing?
Cut through the clutter. Understand your options for hiring a writer.
Many of us need occasional help with our writing projects. A deadline is looming close by and we do not have enough people available to get the work done. Sometimes in-sourcing the experts in your company does not work, because their writing is too hard to understand, or your experts are too busy with their work to write.
We often need short-term help with writing, and our company does want to hire an employee. I work as a writer for ad agencies, employment agencies – and after-hours freelancer directly for companies.
What are your options for getting a short-term writer?
Instead asking an employment agency to recruit a writer for you, let me be your writer, and bring my own employment agency! Why?
- You need a writer quickly
- You have a very short project of 1 day up to 3 months long
- Your company requires you use their pre-approved vendors
- The time required to get a new vendor pre-approved will put you past the writing deadline
- Your company requires people to be covered by insurance, and meet fair work standards
- Your company requires specific levels public liability, and professional indemnity insurance
- You want to manage your own project
As a writer, I prefer working with the employment agency and an experienced recruiter. Contact me for an introduction to reputable recruiters and a referral to a trustworthy employment agency.
The rates and fees quoted on my website, are the industry standard employment-agency rates. Your company will usually pay this rate, or only slightly higher. When I work with an agency, the rate is slightly higher to cover the agency’s overhead for handling me as their employee (superannuation, taxes, insurances and administrative fees).
This includes the ad agency euphemisms of branding, creative, digital, and marketing.
- You need a suite of services from website, social, print, signage, and logo, to culture change, competitor analysis, market strategy and tactics
- You need the writer for several of those functions, but you need the writer managed within the project
- This complex effort will last for at least a year, and often 2 to 5 years
- You want someone else to manage the project, and the various people
Your “agency” will develop competitive ideas, and apply the strategy with continuity across many “channels.” An ad agency also provide project management, coordinate quoting and budgeting, and monitor your progress. A good ad agency will notice changes in your customers and market. They will translate the impact of these changes into recommendations. And, most of all, an ad agency will modify the “tactics” for you, as your market changes.
If your project is more complex than my writing services alone, I will introduce you to Glide Agency (http://www.glideagency.com/about-us/), my preferred digital marketing agency. I have been a freelance writer for Glide as-needed since 2011.
Outsourcing, Freelancers, or Contractors?
- You are looking for on-shore writing instead of overseas, online contractors
- You need a very small set of work done ranging from a half-page bio, to 6 pages on a website, to a 30 page employee training manual
- You are a small company, or can pay directly off an invoice
- The writing can be done off-site, evenings, or weekends
- The project does not require special insurance
- You want to manage your own project
The rates per hour are usually the same as the employment industry rates you see on my fees and rates page. My availability varies depending on my weekday projects, and agency clients.
If I am not able to help you, I will introduce you to another writer who can help you with your projects. You are always free to negotiate rates, and dates directly with any person I connect you with, and to work with any of us – at any time. You do not pay me for an useful introduction!
Introduction: How can a writer help you find or promote an office product? What kinds of topics help readers connect with a company, product, or service? Continue reading “Benefits of a Novel Ink Supply System (Real-world Example)”
It’s time to outsource your web updates (or start over on your web content) when your site looks like these
21 Outdated Website Features That Make Your Site Look Like Something from the Stone Age.
Thank you Red Website Design UK for this infographic and amusing guidance! Continue reading “21 Outdated Website Features from the Stone Age”
Website content has been the hot button for the last 12 to 18 months. Web content is the ghost of “PR-past.” Web content marketing is the modern, online application of the Public Relations (PR), and media placements of the past. Continue reading “Haunted by Outsourcing Web Content”
Introduction: How would someone describe an engineering or manufacturing specialty to a business person?
I have had the good fortune of meeting a fellow writer, Mohit, while working on a blog project for my client, Red Dirt International. I enjoy learning how specialised industries describe their products. Mohit offered to share this article with me as an example of how to describe a niche industry.
Differences between tubes, pipes, and cast hollow bars?
Tubes and pipes both have hollow centers but are not customarily called ‘bar’ in industry. Continue reading “Centrifugally Cast Hollow Bars (Real-world Example)”
How do a digital agency and a client use relationship-and-trust to avoid litigation?
Introduction and Editing by Shauna McGee Kinney
One of the most important factors to consider prior to worrying about liability, contracts or litigation is your relationship with your customers, your vendors and your staff.
Most clients and vendors can prevent litigation issues over copyrights and liabilities.
— from a position of trust.
Over the next quarter, I will be sharing a series of short observations around ownership and usage of online content, contracts for non-lawyers and good business practices relative to liability within online projects. Most of the legal issues that arise amongst clients originate from a lack of trust, or a lack of relationship between the business and their customer, a client and their vendor, or the business and their staff.
Successful Client-Vendor Relationships
Let’s look at some of the ideas about the vendor-client relationship that my colleague, James “Jimmy” Huang, shared with me recently. Jimmy and I have worked in parallel as subcontractors (vendors) working for a client on their client’s project. Jimmy has been my vendor, handling analytics setup, email coding and website development for my business. And, he’s been my subcontractor working technical miracles for my own clients.
Examples of successful vendor-client relationships are easy to find. So, I asked Jimmy to share his observations working with me.
1. Proposals and deliverables
Clients are good at asking for results, and stating expectations. But, often clients have no experience and are unable to check how realistic their request for proposals are. Additionally, clients often set an unrealistically small budget for what is wanted.
A vendor and a client should expect to adjust the scope, deliverables and measurements in the proposal. When a clients and vendors have a comfortable relationship, both can work together to create a realistic, affordable proposed project. Some vendors want the work to the point where the measures are distorted or the outcomes are intentionally argued after delivery. Prevent litigation by adjusting the requested work based on a discussion.
Good vendors can be helpful in controlling a clients’ budgets.
When the client and vendor share budget responsibility, the vendor can deliver the best results while staying on-budget.
3. Planning versus production
Clients may be decision and strategy makers, but most of the time they have no idea how to proceed. Clients are slow to produce necessary content (logos, product images, executives’ photos) and write their copy. Clients may be the blue-printer, but they are not the pen.
When a client commits to their plan, they need to be ready to dedicate effective internal or external to gathering or producing the details.
4. Return On Investment (ROI) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
The client may have have no idea how the ROI of an online project works. The vendor may have no idea the client is nodding in agreement but not understanding. Most of the time, after a project is done, clients are terrible at summarising what they got from the project. Client’s reports conclude, “Some money was spent with some potential effects. The SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SNS (Social Networking Services) analytics are used as the KPI’s to show immediate effects of the online project. However, these KPI’s and analytics are hard to map directly to sales, or to correlate to how much money the online project brought in.
Clients should work with the vendor to identify what can be measured and how that measurement should be used to improve the online project. The vendor should educate the client on how to use data and the purpose of the analytics. Vendors should explain to the client how to make decisions based on the differences between data from a mobile website, a social media project and a web application.
5. Productivity of in-house versus outsourced services
For online projects, outside vendors usually perform better, faster and on-budget. External vendors have higher productivity, because they only get paid for the work they do for the client. Frequently, internal employees don’t care as much, are less resourceful, or aren’t as innovative, because they have stable salaries even when plans change or the project is not working out. Alternatively, outsourced person is out of touch, repeating or omitting information.
Clients should consider using an outside vendor when an online project needs to be completed on an aggressive schedule and with an affordable budget. Clients get the most value by developing an ongoing relationship with a vendor. The vendor’s familiarity with the client improves efficiency, but does not lend itself to complacency. If a client perceives apathy or doesn’t feel they are receiving a high-level of service, the client needs to reach out with trust to talk about the feelings. Prevent litigation by co-managing the expectations.
6. Purpose versus platform
Clients should present their business ideas and needs to the vendor. Allow the vendor to be the experts in the technology, such as coding and software. Too often, clients read about a platform or technology (HTML5, responsive web design, mobile apps, shopping carts) and dictate that they need this specific technology to achieve a business goal. Ask about the technology and share the article.
The client should rely on the vendor to be a resource for assessing the best technical solution for the time, cost, reliability and lifespan of the business activity.
What We Do Best
In conclusion, as vendors, we are here to ensure client satisfaction and improve projects. Together, as clients and vendors, we need to do “what we are best at doing.” We do our best work together – when we collaborate to make proposals realistic before a project begins. The work we do to build the relationship and trust will prevent litigation later.
I will be free to discuss any such topics with you.
JoomlaCreator (New York)
109 Spring St, Suite 8
New York, NY, 10012 USA
+1 646 480-0691
6F Nanyuan Building
Nanjing, JS, 210005
Hourly Rates by Job Type
As of 1 July 2013, the fees for both Australian and US clients are as follows:
|Social Media Community Manager||$25 per hour||Weekly posting and monitoring of LinkedIN, Google+, Facebook, ONLY available to clients with active, on-going writing or website projects|
|COMPARISON Help Desk Support||$25 to $35 per hour||Hourly employee (tax, super not included)|
|COMPARISON Web Developer||$35 to $65 per hour||Hourly employee (tax, super not included)|
|COMPARISON Marketing and Communications||$35 to $50 per hour (Payscale.com)||Hourly employee (tax, super not included)|
|Web Content Loading / Management||$50 per hour||As-needed, billed to the hour (no idle time!)|
|COMPARISON IT Trainer / Training Development||$50 to $80 per hour||Hourly employee (tax, super not included)|
|Training Writing and Training Delivery||$75 per hour||As-needed, billed to the hour (cancellations with agreed lead time no charge)|
|Writing or Editing Procedures||$75 per hour||As-needed, billed to the hour (no additional super / retirement)|
|Business Writing, Biographies, Proposals||$75 per hour||As-needed, billed to the hour (no additional super / retirement)|
|COMPARISON IT Technical Writer||$60 to $80 per hour||Hourly employee (tax, super not included)|
The USD and AUD exchange rates are often near parity (equal $1 USD = $1 AUD) and will be charging the same rate in both countries.
Australian invoices are GST Not Registered as of 1 July 2013.
My goal is to keep my rates as reasonable for my clients as possible while not working below the income I would earn if I were an hourly employee working for a company.
I work to keep my rates in proportion with the salary rates in PeopleBank’s Salary Survey – Perth
The Business of Pricing
When comparing these rates, keep in mind that my rates cover my business services and have to accommodate the fact that I only get paid if I work. Based on my actual 2010-2013 projects:
- 60% to 70% of my total time is billable hours
- 20% of my time is un-billable and used for administrative / travel / accounts / telephone / email
- 10% to 20% of my un-billable time is due to project delays or cancellations
Why Not Work More Hours?
I enjoy the freedom, variety and flexibility that running my own writing business. I am your scalable, smart back-up when your staff need to get a business writing project finished, and are short on time, or not motivated by the writing work.
Most of the time I can flex to pick up surges of work. I have 1 to 3 freelancers working with me during busy periods. I understand that take the risk of becoming ‘The Bank of Shauna’ with these vendors if the projects are slow to pay or don’t pay. In being clear, I have negotiated rates that allow me to collect overhead to cover my operations.
Discounted Fees and Economy of Scale
That being said, I offer discounted fees for:
- Deposits on jobs
- Half-day or full-days job bookings paid within 30 days of invoice
- Long-term projects, with consistent on-time payments
- Opportunity to use your real-work to train my interns
Contract jobs are invoiced mid-month and end-of-month. Invoiced fees can be paid by bank transfer, paper-check, credit card through PayPal online or PayPal directly.
Finally, if invoices go past-due, I reserve the right to stop all work until the open / unpaid invoices are brought current. If you think you have a project (such as grant funded projects) that will have a slower pay-cycle, please contact me.
Please feel free to call or email me with ideas or to discuss your writing, software training or web content project.
Shauna McGee Kinney is a technology and business content writer who helps companies and organizations communicate with customers, staff and group members.
What Services Shauna Offers
- Creating website copy
– identifying topics, organizing thoughts, writing text and gathering pictures
- Web content management
– updating websites by loading text, pictures and files into web pages
- Delivering business or website training
– capturing screen pictures and steps and training you and your staff perform a business task
- Writing promotional stories and case studies
– interviewing your subject-matter experts, writing copy and fact-checking for print or web formats
- Updating product information or inventory
– entering descriptions into online business tools and databases
- Managing online files
– such as resizing, renaming and sorting pictures, video and PDF files
Who Are Her Clients
Shauna specializes in working with businesses including
- Software and website developers
- Engineering disciplines
- Manufacturing and construction companies
Her services are best suited for small-to-medium sized businesses, such as a software developer with three programmers and a project manager / sales manager or an engineering firm with 14 engineering and management staff.
Shauna has the flexibility to meet your needs on a temporary, recurring or ongoing basis. Companies choose to contract Shauna because
- They only need a writer for a small project or on a part-time basis
- Their employees are busy with projects and they don’t have time to write and update the website
- Staff are non-native English speakers
- Staff find it frustrating to communicate with business people outside of their technical field
- Staff have an annual project, such as tax preparation and only need temporary writing help
- The staff member that knew how to maintain the website left the company
- Staff don’t understand what content the web designer or programmer is asking for
Why does Shauna offer this service? She gets a great deal of satisfaction out of writing and online work. She has found that online work allows her to maintain long-term relationships (some clients have been working with Shauna for over 15 years) while her family has moved internationally for her husband’s projects.