The importance of social proofs for writers has been stressed many times. It’s the lack or enough of social proofs that’ll subject the professionalism of a freelance writer to doubts and unnecessary tests.
The thing is, somebody who could turn out to be a regular client (who knows) is making an offer for a trial writing job. This time it’s like he’s paying. And more like he wants the piece to be discounted perhaps because the trial pieces are what they are — “trial contents.”
Based on the above I’ve seen and received variations of the questions: what do I do if a prospect wants to do a trial writing before the actual writing starts? Is it even advisable to undertake trial writing jobs whether paid or unpaid? When should a freelance writer decline an offer for a trial writing job? When should (s)he consent to write a trial piece? What would be a good (discounted) rate for the trial job? (50% of the writer’s rate, 70% or something else?)
What Do I Do If a Prospect Wants Me To Do Some Trial Writing Jobs?
First off, do you have social proofs? And am here again with this noise about social proofs… well, I think it’s the only way to break out of the trial piece cycle. Personally, my take is if you got articles on authority blogs and websites, not necessarily the big names but like on a platform with some few thousand readers; now you referenced those quality posts but your prospect will never believe or you got an inkling he might still be nursing some doubts, maybe you should keep searching. He just might not be the one. If you must know, this is one person who wants to play poker with your professionalism. Don’t allow this!
When should a Freelance Writer Decline an Offer for a Trial Writing Job?
It’s clear from the preceding paragraph — when it’s a trial piece without pay, even if it has the potentiality for recurrent assignments. I’ve come to understand that a lot of hiring persons use this psychology of brandishing potentiality for a longer task to trap unsuspecting freelance writers.
So I ask, what if the longer task or recurrent writing assignments was only an illusion? And it is most of the time — especially on job boards and bidding sites. .
Is It Even Advisable to Undertake Trial Writing Jobs — Paid or Unpaid?
Like I stated above, if you’ve got social proofs and enough of them, I wouldn’t recommend trial tasks. The actual writing should start at once. It even gets ugly if the trial task is to be at the expense of the writer. Believe it or not, I’ve personally been approached with a ‘free’ 1000-word trial piece. I declined. And same I expect from any serious writer.
If a prospect doubts your ability to deliver and so wants a trial piece where your writing samples/social proofs did not suffice, then it should be at his cost.)
Agreed your hiring managers want a trial, good enough, but that trial doesn’t come at your cost. They’re trying out a sample article before deciding upon whether you fit the bill. It’s a sample they’ve to buy at full price because it’s still some work for you. They should ideally get an idea about how good or bad you’re from your portfolio on your writer website or from your social proofs.
What Would Be a Good (discounted) Rate for the Trial Jobs? (50% of the amount, 70% or something else?)
Perhaps you got this one person who wants a discount for the trial piece. I’d say this depend. And mind you, the trial piece should be restricted to the first task. And again, need I say that the trial piece should not be in batches. Just one trial piece, in 500 words or less.
Wanting to undertake a trial piece at full price is not asking for too much. To me, it’s just being professional. Charge full price for a trial piece. I say there are too many clients in the world who’ll treat you like a professional by paying full price.
My question would be, what does the client specifically expect out of the trial piece? Are they looking for miracles? Or just a simple piece?
Though I don’t know how high the rates of the freelance writer in question, but If it’s fair to give them a deal for some reason, I think it should be only a small percentage off.
When you do want to undertake a trial piece, you could do a 5% to 15% discount. Going beyond that, to maybe a 50%, to me sounds like the client will always win; because if he can beat a trial piece to 50%, he can as well have a 75% discount on the full price. I’d say don’t throw up your rate for a debate. Negotiation is cool.
Whoever is making the offer for the trial piece shouldn’t put you in the position of having to audition your skills. You don’t need to audition for anyone. In fact, I think the contracting person is treating you less than a professional. I think it’s fine to decide by doing the trial whether they want to do more business with you. I think it’s a great way to see if you both are a match. You can offer a guarantee stating you’ll provide a certain number of edits at no cost.
As a final thought, I’d offer to receive at least 50% payment upfront
and the remaining half after the trial is okayed, whether for an old or a new client. (Old client should not have problem with this).
I think a trial writing job is a great idea if done at full rate or at some discount but just not at a deep discount.
I wonder if there isn’t a better name than “trial.” That term sounds to me too much like an audition. There are many reasons why the writer and the prospect might or might not be a match. And it’s to the advantage of the hiring person to see what small project will do, and to the advantage of the freelance writers to not miss writing opportunities while keeping their freelancing rate and professionalism.
3 Ways to Apply This Information Now
1. Have you done or are you currently contemplating on doing trial writing jobs for free or at a deep discount? Stop. Don’t worry — hiring clients will still find you and respect you for your rate.
3. Share this article on your social channels. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, thus creating conversations and potentially new business.
Sam is a freelance content writer. He blogs at 1stclasswriters.com where he shares his knowledge and experience about the freelance writing business. When Sam is not writing, he could be on his social channels chatting up like minds.