How To Make Over 2,000 Dollars In One Day

Matthew Donnellon

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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The writing is business is a often cruel and fruitless.

It’s filled with disappointment and the writing world is a graveyard of promising writers, some who burned out, and others whose careers never even began.

If you want to stake a claim in the writing world it’s a never ending hustle. It’s tough to break in and it’s even tougher to stay.

It’s a never ending search for more clients, more money, all while trying to publish high quality content and working on one’s personal projects.

You move from project to project and it seems like a never ending cycle sometimes.

Then, among the struggles you stumble onto a good day.

Last year, I was mainly working on creative projects while still taking on some ghostwriting and freelance work for extra money.

I started my career as a ghostwriter. For a variety of reasons. One, it paid better than any other entry level writing. Two, I wasn’t very confident with my writing voice yet and with ghostwriting you get to pretend to be other people. For me, it made it much easier to write when I started out. And three, it’s all anyone would hire me to do.

I spent a solid two and half years working as a ghostwriter before ever trying to release work under my own name.

During that time, I was able to build a reputation as a very fast writer who could deliver on incredibly tight deadlines.

I’ve always been a fast writer. It’s a skill I developed in college because I had a nasty habit of waiting to the last second to write papers.

So, last year I was still taking on some ghostwriting projects here and there. I had just finished writing for the day when I received an email from an old client. They were in a bind and they needed something done, and it had to be done by the next morning, at least the writing portion.

He sent an initial idea for payment.

He always liked to low ball the first offer. I didn’t even consider it. I would need to pull an all nighter and for that price it wasn’t worth it.

Plus, the client tipped his hand. I knew he was desperate. I wrote an email saying that I wouldn’t be able to do it and wished him luck finding someone else.

Now, part of the rules of negotiation is that you need to be willing to walk away. If you say you’re done and they don’t respond. There’s no coming back from that.

Luckily, I had all the cards. I knew he was in a time crunch. I knew that it was a very large order and the likelihood of him being able to find another person to write it was unlikely.

And while the money would have been nice, I would be okay if I didn’t get it. So if he walked I wouldn’t be ruined.

He emailed back much faster than I suspected him to.

This definitely tipped his hand.

He doubled the offer.

Now, the money for the project would have been adequate. But, there were several factors at play here. It was an extremely tight deadline. And I would have to pull an all nighter to get it done. In business you have to value your time, too many writers undersell themselves and work for far less than they should.

And, he needed it done and it sounded like he was out of options. Many times when writing you don’t often have the upper hand. In business, when you have an advantage you always press it.

So I emailed him back saying I would consider it at double the price he quoted in his reply.

Now, this is also important. I never said I would do it. I still left myself an out because the money hadn’t been final and I didn’t have the entire scope of the project at hand.

Sometimes clients like to additional work after the deal is done and it can be a pain to get them to cover the cost for extra work. So it’s important to know everything to be done before setting a firm price.

He countered a little less but still more than the final number I had in my head. I agreed. Just as it’s important to press a little you never want to go too much and scare clients away.

So he sent me the information and I started typing. I told him what time I would have it done, leaving myself a little wiggle room. He was fine with the time and it was off to the races.

It did take most of the night. I had to write like a fiend. It was intense.

I wrote and wrote and wrote.

Anyone who has written large projects in a short time is familiar with that zone what get’s in and it feels like the words are just flying out.

Annoying Internet guru’s like to call this “Flow” but that sounds super dumb so I will just say I was writing fast.

I finished before the time I said I would which left me enough time to double check my work. And it made me look good to the client who was extremely happy.

He sent the payment and I had a over 2,000 dollars in my digital pockets, which isn’t bad for a day’s work.

Remember Writing Is A Business

Far too often people often look at writing purely as an art or craft. But that can lead to your downfall pretty quick. You’re selling a product (the content). your services, and most importantly you’re time. Yes it’s a form artistic expression but it is also a money making venture.

When you first start out it’s tempting to be so excited you’re finally getting paid to write that you take anything offered. But if you think of it as a business it’s much easier to get paid what you believe your writing is worth.

So What Are The Lessons Here?

There are a couple things to take from this.

One, ghostwriting pays. If you’re looking to make some money from writing it’s a good place to start.

Two, I had a good reputation. I always brought it work on time and I was known for writing very fast. When the client needed something done with a crazy turnaround time he asked me first.

Three, be able to write fast. The more you write the more you get paid. If you can out write your competition then you’ll do fine.

Finally, you have to know when to ask for more money. When you have leverage you need to use it. Had I not done that and still took the assignment I would have done it for a third of the price. Then if you apply this across the board you can start bringing in more money per project.

So write a lot and write often so you’re prepared when a big opportunity comes.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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