Aimee Davison is a Montreal-based web producer, social media marketer, model and actor. At first glance, you may wonder how she could possibly help you further your writing career. But guess what? She's full of surprises.
Back in 2009, Davison was an out-of-work model and actor stuck cleaning people's houses to make ends meet, and after another day of underpaid housework inspiration struck. She decided to start a blog called One Hundred Jobs to reignite her career and make more money by taking on a wider variety of jobs for a minimum payment of $100 per day. Little did she know that her vast array of skills—from public speaking to Photoshopping abilities—would lead to a completely new career in social media consulting.
Davison is candid about her project's monetary success, noting that although she originally chose a starting point of $100 a day in order to get her foot in the door, she currently commands a salary of $85/hour for her consulting services or $2,500 minimum to produce short web videos. As such, her main piece of advice for writers is to stop undervaluing their work.
“I know that competition is stiff, but you need to know and set your own worth or people will take advantage of you financially,” she says. “It's not because they are evil, mean or don't care about you, but because everyone loves to get a deal.”
In a world where writing mills pay writers as little as $5 per article, Davison's advice rings true. If writers do not value their own time and worth as service providers, why should the companies that employ them?
Davison also notes that while valuing your own skill set may mean saying no to certain offers that would otherwise put food on your table, setting a fair precedent that will pay off long-term is ultimately more important than making fast cash.
“Do you want to be known as the $10 freelancer?” she asks. “Would you put that on your business card? If no, stop accepting a pittance and pursue bigger clients with better professional standards.”
This advice holds true for writers as small business owners, particularly as they advance in their careers, and Davison recommends continuing to branch out in order to generate more revenue. She suggests writers launch their own blogging businesses to become recognized as specialists in areas of interest, attracting readers and monetizing their content by running contests, featuring sponsored content or by selling related products to their audience, in much the same way that Funds For Writers operates.
Alternately, she advocates beginning a project such as her own 100 Jobs, chronicling your individual experiences and building your business as you go, while persisting at a specific—and exciting—challenge.
“If you have a unique vision, discipline and commitment, you will see a financial return on your time investment,” she says, “and [you can] adjust your business model to become more profitable as you grow.”
If you're interested in learning more about Aimee or her blog, you can find her online at http://www.onehundredjobs.ca. She encourages others to start their own versions of the 100 Jobs challenge, and welcomes links to new projects based on this theme.
Laura Roberts is currently wrangling words for her first novel, Naked Montreal, set in the Sin City of the North. She also edits the literary rebellion Black Heart Magazine and can be found tweeting up a storm @originaloflaura.