Inspired by Carson's post at Content Done Better about "Missing the 'Because'", I've decided to try handling low-paying freelance job offers a little differently.
In his post, Carson talks about how many writers don't try hard enough to sell themselves and earn a higher rate, instead acting like that higher rate ought to just land in their laps. He makes the point that if we want to be paid more, we need to justify to the client why we should get more than writers who are willing to write for 0.000000001 cent per word. We need to make the client want to pay our rates in order to get top-quality work.
This evening, I ran across an ad for a freelance gig claiming "modest" payment per article. I clicked over to the site, and discovered that their idea of modest was $1 per article. I immediately clicked back to the ad and started to prepare an email about how their idea of modest was my idea of f#ck you.
Suddenly, I remembered Carson's post. I deleted the message I'd written so far, and instead wrote a sales pitch explaining how with all the crap content flooding the Internet these days, they need quality content to make their site stand out. I told them that local writers (which was what they were looking for) couldn't afford to work for a buck per article, and therefore they would be getting foreigners trying to write like locals - substandard work, for a site that is targeting locals. I pointed out that I am a long-time resident of the area, not to mention an experienced content writer. I then finished the email off with a reasonable quote per article, and an invitation to check out my website for my portfolio and my resume.
Where do I think this will get me? Probably nowhere, because I don't think this particular site actually cares about the quality of work. So why did I waste the time? Because it was good practice in selling myself, and because there's always a slim chance that my email will reach the right person and I'll get the job.
So if you're the type to send emails to low-paying clients telling them where they can stick their $1, instead try using that time to write an email telling them why they're misguided in their approach, and what you can offer them instead. If it doesn't work, you haven't wasted any more time than it would have taken to tell them off; and if it does work, you've got another job, not to mention the added confidence of making a successful sale!