I will never condone shoddy, mass output work. I think that regurgitated information is the bane of the Internet’s existence and that all employers who want quantity in place of quality deserve to be fired.
Okay, that disclaimer is over and done with.
Now that we all know where I stand, I am going to say that the freelancer who can work quickly is much more likely to succeed than the one who can’t. I’ll even say that the freelancer who can’t get his or her work done efficiently needs to find a way to cultivate the skills of speed. (Either that or find a killer specialty niche that makes him or her absolutely invaluable.) Writing, editing, and simply working faster will result in higher income, a larger client list, and – perhaps the most important of all – more time with your kids.
How Speed Pays
Most freelancers get paid on a per word or per article basis. Hourly wages tend to fall in the rare category – and that is exactly where they need to stay. When you get paid by the word or article, you don’t have to disclose to the client how much time you spent working on their project. If you can write four $15 SEO articles in an hour, you just made $60 that hour. Many clients would have a heart attack if they knew they were paying $60 an hour for – gasp! – just a writer.
However, you probably have experience writing SEO articles. You know where to find the research, how to use keywords effectively, and the type of voice most SEO clients want. You deserve to make more money for your experience. And as you add on the freelancing years, these skills only get stronger and (generally) faster. This means that your “rates” increase even though you still might be landing the clients who aren’t crazy about paying a whole lot of money.
Even if you do make money on an hourly basis, being fast can help to set you apart and get more high-quality referalls. If an employer is happy with your output for the $50 per hour that you charge, they are more likely to give you additional work and tell other businesses about “this great freelancer I use.”
Fitting More in Your Schedule
Being a fast worker can also allow you to fit more clients in your schedule. While working with 20 clients on piddly projects every month isn’t necessarily the ideal way to work, the freelancing field is filled with clients who want articles and WANT ARTICLES NOW. Much of the time, these are smaller projects (say, one or two SEO articles, a press release, a sales letter).
One of the biggest challenges to being a freelancer is keeping a full schedule. When you have tons of work to do, making bids and sending out queries is the last thing you want to do, especially when clients come back and would love to hire you if you can get the work done in three days. However, if you don’t make these bids, you’ll probably end up with a stack of completed projects and a whole lot of nothing else to do. These smaller, ABSOLUTELY IMMEDIATE projects are great for filling in the cracks. If you know you can do these types of things really quickly, you’ll be able to fit them in even during your massively busy times. A press release at the end of the day is pretty minimal for someone who can write one in less than an hour; and, after awhile, they really start to add up to big monthly profits. Plus, if you do a good job, these small jobs often lead to bigger, more substantial projects.
Quality Above All Else
Of course, the trick to being a fast freelancer all boils down to being a fast freelancer who can still produce quality work. Writing an ebook in three days is great, but if what you end up with is a pile of barely coherent mush, you’re not likely to be signing that client again any time soon (you’re also giving freelancers a bad name and I implore you to stop it).