Why You Can’t Afford to Pay Your Workers a Crummy Wage

In my time as a freelancer, I’ve used a wide range of third party providers to connect with new clients. Some of those providers have led to reliable income and projects I’m proud to say I contributed to.

But over and over again, I see people who expect me and others to work for basically nothing. For example, check out this post today from UpWork (highlight mine):


I usually average about two hours for 800 words or so. Maybe that’s slow compared to others, but I also try to make the first draft as close to publication-ready as possible. So under this rate, I’d be making $4 an hour.

That won’t even buy my lunch.

It’s not even close to minimum wage.

But here’s the real problem, aside from livability. It’s demeaning. If I see that someone isn’t willing to pay a fair wage, it makes me assume that they don’t value me as an individual. And if I don’t feel like they value me, heck no, I’m not going to trust them. And guess what you need to grow a business. To get stability, retention, loyalty.


So if you don’t pay someone a good wage, regardless of your industry, you’re shooting your own business in the foot. The better way is to formulate a solid business plan and get the investors and loans you need to take care of your employees. If you have to bootstrap by cutting pay corners, I’d argue you’re not ready to be in business in the first place. Go back to the drawing board, prove you have a model others will put their money forward for, and THEN hire. Otherwise, the talented, creative people who could have made your company soar will be more than happy to set up shop with your competitors.