If I had a penny for every time someone asked me this question I would totally be a millionaire by now. Now being a freelance writer is tough on its own but it comes with its own challenges when you are doing it in India. People don’t want to take you seriously unless you have been published in some print magazines or written on some big-shot websites.
Most of the writers just give up before even starting because they think its almost impossible to cross over to the other side of the road. I won’t say I am on the greener side of the path, I think I am still on the road struggling.
But I would love to share what it’s like to be a freelance writer in India-
1. Clients expect you to offer cheap rates
For some reason, just because you live in India clients automatically expect you to offer cheap rates. And by cheap I really mean pennies. I have met people who wanted to charge 25 INR per blog post. I mean, I might as well do it for free. When you are starting out, it might seem okay to take whatever you are getting but you absolutely shouldn’t compromise on that. Decide what your rates should be and stick to it no matter what.
2. People think money is more important than your integrity
Another major misconception. Just because I am a freelance writer doesn’t mean I don’t earn or I don’t have any work. In fact, I have so much work I sometimes have to turn down projects. But mostly, I turn down projects because I am not comfortable handling it.
This client last month was asking me to take on a project I didn’t like and I very politely declined but as soon as I said no he started going on and on about the kind of opportunity I am rejecting and how any freelance writer would die to get a permanent project.
Stay true to yourself, always. Never do it for the money, no matter how much they want to pay you. If you love writing then make sure you only write about things you like and don’t let anybody push you around.
3. If you do not have a social presence, you are doomed
Having your own personal blog, Twitter handle with a decent followers and other social media accounts is extremely important. Not only does it help the client understand the kind of work you do but it also helps when you are trying to get new projects. A lot of projects that I handle require me to post the articles on my social media accounts as well, to increase exposure.
4. You always have a dollar to rupee dilemma
Again, a lot of freelancers go through this dilemma. You charge differently in dollars and in rupee and it only makes you more confused?
Do the math. If a client is paying you in rupees, it directly goes to your account. You might have to pay tax over it but that depends on the client and how much you earn through writing in a year. But if your client is paying through PayPal, not only do you get a low dollar to rupee rate but there also a conversion fee that is deducted but you don’t pay any taxes on the amount you receive in dollar.
So sit down, put your rates down on a paper and calculate your exact rates.
Now that you know all the problems when it comes to being a freelance writing in India, you should also know it is absolutely amazing. For me, it’s like a dream come true and no dream comes to reality without a lit bit of hustle.