Hope I’m finding you with an open heart, my darlings, happy new year and welcome to 2019, with the added apologies for my tardiness. If you’re wondering where I’ve run off to, no, I haven’t stopped blogging and no HR professional murdered me (yet). I had some health problems (I still do) which I’m hoping to resolve. If you like me, read me and have a good relationship with the holy guy above, good thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Now, let’s get back to our usual business. For our first article in 2019, I propose a topic that’s very dear to me and I hope you, too, especially if you like writing and you’re seeking to build a career out of it.
At the same time, I also propose an approach that’s not flowery in the slightest, one that doesn’t involve the usual „grass will be greener on the other side, all you have to do is believe in yourself.” and all of that jazz.
This text is for those looking for content writer jobs or those wanting to know what to expect when they start a professional writing career path in Romania.
If you haven’t done it already, I invite you to also take a look over my article on frequent traps to avoid in the content writing industry and how to stop falling victim to them so that you don’t rip your hair out of your head. Let’s begin....
Content writer jobs in Romania – from expectation to reality
So many people have unrealistic, even utopic ideas about what it means to be a freelance writer, content writer or copywriter. They imagine breathtaking sights or the classic, idyllic beach scene - laptop on your lap, lying on a comfy chaise-longue, with a savory cocktail in hand, overlooking the infinite blue sea, with nothing but the wind in your hair and the peaceful sound of waves hitting the shore.
To those people, I’d just like to say – wake up, it’s 9 am already.
I’ll start off by disbanding that myth – yes, it is possible, on greener pastures, however, being a Romanian Content Writer is most frequently farther from glory and closer to general rudeness and being played, finding both employers and clients who want to give you to the shorter end of the straw because anyone can write for 10 hours a day for sheer work satisfaction...duh.
Don’t lose faith - there are a few valuable exceptions to the gloom and doom picture I just painted above. Here’s what to expect, the good and the bad, if you’re seeking to become a content writer in Romania and you’re just starting out.
#1 You’ll get paid in sunflower seeds
No, seriously, if you’ll have enough money to buy a door handle after your first articles or product descriptions, be thankful. A lot of people will judge me for it, but I am going to make a bold statement regardless – most clients in Romania would bargain over 10 cents.
Why do they do that? Because they don’t value your work. I don’t want to express frustration about my fellow country mates because it’s „in” to do so or claim that foreigners can’t be scammers, however, in my experience of over 3 years, the first ones who want to bargain or pay less than you deserve are none other than my fellow Romanians. They do that either because they’re cheap or they don’t understand what your work entails, nor do they want to find out but, ironically, at the same time, they still think they can do your job better than you.
The first principle to never stray from, no matter how much your vein temple is bulging is the following – don’t even negociate if you come across an attitude like this. Keep searching until you find someone who respects you.
At first, if you don’t have any experience, you can accept lower rates. But under no circumstances should you write for 1 EURO/DOLLAR or less. You don’t have experience, but you’re not an online slave either, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
#2 Clients have no idea what they want...until the material is done.
The best advice I can give to anyone breaking the internet apart looking for content writer jobs is to make sure they are equipped with an adequate supply of patience before starting any collaboration. As a general fact, both independent clients and employers or companies who coordinate content writers have issues with communication, smaller or bigger.
In other words, you will encounter many situations such as – the client tells you they want X thing done, but they give you no information, your manager tells you they spoke with the client and that he wants this or that but they don’t in fact want this or that, no one replies to your phone calls or e-mails even though the material is in the client’s interest etc.
Or, even worse, the client tells you they want X thing done, you shake each other’s hand, you deliver the material and, as it turns out, they want something else entirely now, the changes done for free on your own time and for you to answer their e-mails 24/7 because you got it wrong, not them.
What I wish I knew when I first starting doing content writing and copywriting on a professional level and what I want you to keep in mind right now is this – set boundaries from the get-go, if you want that vein in your temple to stay intact.
My golden advice is to impose rules such as „changes will cost an additional X” (dollars, euros etc.).” or „the contract is for 4 hours/day, after this interval, I am not obliged to answer my phone.”
Refuse to start redacting a material until you have the necessary information and never improvise unless the client gave his okay on that. Value your time because no one else will.
#3 Best buddies....until there’s money involved.
Be extra cautious around those clients with whom everything runs smoothly until there’s money involved. Before starting any material, make sure you communicate an estimate in terms of costs, integrate it in an interval if you’re not sure –e.g. „it’ll be between 600-700 EURO.”so that you are covered if you haven’t accurately assessed the workload and the complexity of the material in question. Always work with an advance (up-front) and the rest of the sum to be paid after half of the project is delivered.
In my experience, most people who hire content writers are suspiciously nice and even flattering until you get to the not-so-comfortable discussion about costs. You will hear the classics – „team”, „love”, „united”, „common goals”, „to reach a consensus”, „I appreciate your work”, „family environment.”, opportunities to grow” and other telenovelas.
They are a lot like HR cliches, I promise you, especially if they’re followed by a reluctance to discuss, in plain terms, the financial aspect of the service provided.
I’m not saying you should be crazy about money and not be open to negotiation, in certain limits, but the above cliches are most frequently delivered as a way to compensate for a sub-par offer, either at an interview or in an informal setting.
Don’t forget, regardless if you’re a beginner or a veteran, you hold the key, especially if you’re a freelancer. You offer a service, you set its value and you know why you give it that particular value.
Don’t let anyone negotiate excessively until it borders on bargaining unless they have solid arguments, instead be flexible in your collaborations with those who are flexible in return. There are golden clients, too, who know how to make their case and find a middle ground that’s satisfying, financially and otherwise.
#4 Learn anything from anyone
As a content writer, you will meet a wide range of humans, either directly or through third parties. Learn something from each one, whether you write for an engineer, a construction worker or a marketer.
Not only will you improve your general knowledge of the world and you’ll be able to hold your ground in a discussion about insulation, forklifts, AAC vs. brick structures, but people from different industries also have certain distinct personality traits. Learn to be jolly, stoic, understanding, even air-headed if you must, just like the people you write for. You’ll speak the same language.
Don’t act like a smartypants thinking you already wrote about everything and life holds no secrets anymore. You never know when a discussion with a fire safety specialist can help you, same for other topics you believed to be insignificant then.
#5 Improve yourself outside of your niche, too
Maybe you are looking for content writer jobs, but you’ll see that many job ads also demand other skills. For your personal development but also for improving your chances of getting hired, it’s best to also know one or two things about online marketing, copywriting and SEO. These are the notions you’ll juggle around with the most and it’ll do you a lot of good to get familiar with them, especially if you’ll want to change your career sometime in the future or secure a better job with better prospects.
You can find resources on all of these topics on my blog and, if you have further questions, I’ll gladly answer you anytime.
If you’re seeking content writer jobs, let me know how it’s going so far. If you’re already a content writer or copywriter, drop a comment with your best funny story/client encounter from the beginning of your career because I deserve to have a good laugh, too.
I hope all of the above helped you. Feel free to return anytime, there’s always coffee and cookies here!
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