Freelancing is tough. Some people try and get into a freelancing industry in high hopes for fast cash, but it doesn't work that way. Believe me.
It's probably one of the most competitive careers you could ever have, and it's hard to make as much money as you would like. (Important quick tip: Freelance in something that you enjoy doing, or it will get old fast with the limited income!)
As a freelance writer of over one year, I can honestly say, it's a hard business to get into, and it's incredibly hard to get new, well-paying clients.
People sell themselves way too cheap every day. While my going rate may be $0.02/word, I'm seeing writers offer their services for as little as $0.0075/word. That's only 3/4ths of a cent for every word, and that means that they will only be getting $7.50 for a 1000-word article. Doesn't sound too great, eh?
Yet people do it every day. Of course, it's not without the cost of decent writing, as anybody willing to sell themselves so cheap must not respect their work enough to ask for a decent rate, but the economy is affecting everybody, and some people care more about just getting the words down than having any substantial elegance or… General good writing.
So, the trick to getting a fair rate and not having to wait months between new clients is simple: Get your foot in the door. Get your name out there, and get established.
If people know who you are, they'll know you're good, and they'll pass right over all the "ENGLISH WRITER! CHEAP!!" threads and go for guaranteed quality.
Of course, if you'd like to sell yourself cheap, you very well can… Chances are, you'll get more work than those of us with some self-dignity, even if you have to write hundreds upon thousands more words than we do to get the same payout. Your choice.
But people who do choose to do so are hurting the market even more than their wallets.
It's come to a point now where it's widely expected for you to make your prices incredibly low, even if you offer much greater quality, and, quite frankly, it's ridiculous! Not to mention turnaround times… I've seen people complain about a 48 hour turnaround for a 500-word article, when they're buying from a guy who sells said article cheap as dirt, while I've seen a TON of people grateful for such a quick turnaround from a writer who respects himself.
So it's not just quality, it's general service that they're paying for.
And I'm quite sure that it doesn't just effect writers… Designers, programmers, voice-over artists… They all need to make a living, too, and there are cheapskates out there that are sure to make it a hard time. Because, hey -- who cares about decent quality when you can get it for practically nothing, am I right?
Hell, I must be. Just take a look at all the buyers on the market. It's becoming more and more true every single day.