Bulk Work - Should You Take it or Leave it?

03 July 2011
cat and fish
Freelancing has its highs and lows. Job security is one aspect where holding a day job is more advantageous than a freelancing stint. 

During seasons where job projects are scarce, a number of freelancers find themselves in a dilemma to accept bulk work or not. Should you do it?

People who have had some success with online work say that going for the small fish might not be good for you. Here's why: 

  1. The volume of work can be overwhelming. Unless you work in a team or plan to outsource the workload to a third party, a bulk project can burn you out. As a single provider, can you really churn out 100 articles in a month? Fewer hours of sleep, little or no time to pursue other interests, the increasing pressure to deliver well and on the dot -- For how long can you survive the pressure?

  2. Quality could suffer. Extending your work hours will decrease your efficiency. Compromised productivity can take a toll on the quality of your output. Imagine having to pump out work in a tight time frame. The saying "Haste makes waste" drives an important point. Can you really afford to give your work a second look? Revision requests can eat up more time.

  3. You will be paid less. Most clients tend to think that freelance providers are factories and that the company is entitled to pay wholesale rates for bulk work. Don't be deceived by the total project rewards. When you do the math, you are actually paid less for the volume of work delivered... and you don't even get to charge extra for the rush.

  4. You sell yourself short. If there is at least one edge that freelancers can pride themselves in, it is freedom to set their own rates. With very few exceptions, this prerogative and your bargaining power are taken away from you once you have committed yourself to the project. Are you really worth just 50 cents or 2 dollars an article?

  5. The cycle of committing to bulk project orders can be difficult to break. The promise of long-term work has been used by companies to attract unwitting freelancers. Many bargain hunters do not want to let go of cheap but good services. You could be stuck working for the same employer for the same rates over a long time. If this were the case, you are better off seeking employment as a regular writer
Writing is a noble profession. To say "no" is easy for established freelancers, but for those just starting out and for those who rely solely on the work to feed mouths at the table, a "no" would be a very difficult answer to give.*
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