Dealing with competition.

A young freelancer DM-ed me the other day asking if she should quote 40p/word for writing website copy. The goal of writing content for a website is to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. So, even if she wrote 10 pages, of about 300 words each, she’ll have written 3000 words and be paid a grand total of 1200 Rs.

Imagine how much she has to write to even pay rent at this rate!

Competition in the content writing space appears to be rather fierce. There are so many writers who are willing to write at 40p/word, still making good money by writing volume. I myself started my career seven years ago at 1 Re. a word. 

But, competing on price is a race to the bottom. And nobody wins in this race, not even the customer, because quality invariably suffers. 

Which is why I don’t compete in that market. I’m not on any, Upwork-type places. I don’t bid on projects. I don’t take on ‘bulk’ assignments for hundreds of articles. 

Instead, at the client side:

  • I work in an exclusive niche. The competition in this space is surprisingly low.

  • I build relationships with my clients. The long-term value that comes from this outweighs cost savings.

  • I carefully choose clients who are the right fit for my skills and values.

  • I charge a reasonably good price that makes my work sustainable. (In the interest of transparency, this averages from Rs. 6 to Rs. 30 per word, depending on the complexity and value of the work.)

At the competition side:

  • I am open with my peers. I don’t hide info or refuse help.

  • I regularly pass on work that I don’t take up, to other freelancers.

  • I also hire freelancers sometimes to help me with my assignments.

In essence, while I’m regularly insecure looking at others in my line of work, I actively put community over competition. And it has worked so far.