Writers: Are you paid what you’re worth?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a TED talk about getting paid what you’re worth….

Are you underpaid and overworked as a writer? Soness Stevens (pictured above) has a message for you.

A presentation expert who has written two textbooks on the subject and coached more than 120 TED & TEDx speakers around the world, Stevens believes that many freelancers “don’t value ourselves by asking for what we’re worth.”

And how does she present her argument? In an engaging TED talk of course. Stevens says there are five myths that freelancers tell themselves about their work:

  • Myth #1: “If I do good work, the client will see it and pay me more in the future.”
  • Myth #2: “To build up a decent body of work, I should take any jobs that are offered. I might even do some jobs for no pay, just so I can get the experience.”
  • Myth #3: “If I want to make it as a freelancer, I can’t be too picky — it could hurt my reputation.”
  • Myth #4: “I’m a freelancer – and not a business person — so I’m just not good at discussing money with clients.”
  • Myth #5: “I’m in constant competition with other freelancers in my field, so if I turn down a low-paying job, the client is just going to find someone else.”

If you want to start getting paid what you’re worth, Stevens says, the secret is to interact more with your fellow freelancers. Talk to them about work. Keep in touch with them, regularly getting together for coffee. Join professional organizations in your area that help to bring freelancers together. Seek out co-working spaces. Go to meetups.

Talking to other freelancers means that you’ll stop regarding them as competitors and start seeing them as allies and supporters.

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