Common marketing missteps waste time and money. These 5 fixes are GAME CHANGERS.

How to Pay Experts Less Than Minimum Wage

how to pay experts less than minimum wage - Carolyn Daughters

Looking to pay experts less than minimum wage? Easy peasy. Just post your below-minimum-wage project on Fiverr or Upwork, and you’ll get tons of bids.

How to Pay Experts Less Than Minimum Wage

One of the most common questions I get is this: “Did you know that I can get [service] for much less on Fiverr or Upwork?”

Yep. I’m aware.

I estimate that half of all work on Upwork and Fiverr is paid at or below minimum wage. If you can prove that my estimate is wrong, I’ll be thrilled. (I encourage you to skim Upwork’s ghostwriting jobs, marketing jobs, and copywriting jobs to put my estimate to the test.)

Let’s just say I’m not a fan of paying people below minimum wage.

Sample Upwork Job Posting Offering to Pay Experts Less Than Minimum Wage

Here’s a sample Upwork posting for an expert ghostwriter. It’s fairly representative of the 1,000+ postings for ghostwriters on Upwork.

I am looking for a great high-quality writer to work with on a long-term basis to write multiple books about Sales.

The first book will be around 30,000 words long with a pay of [$1-$1.4/100 words] ($300-$420). Pay will increase with future projects.

I will provide you with a detailed book outline and many online resources for you to use to conduct research for the book.

We are looking for a writer who is experienced, knowledgeable and most importantly PASSIONATE about writing about Sales. Topics include:

– [How to be a great car sales person]
– [How to be a great furniture sales person]
– [Endless Referrals]
– [Virtual selling]


1. No plagiarism
2. PASSION and expertise in [sales]
3. Ability to do accurate research and turn it into original high quality content
4. Write in an engaging style
5. Must be a native English writer and have excellent English grammar and sentence structure

Please provide a writing sample of yours for us to read, preferably about sales to show your experience and expertise in the field. In your application, please explain your personal experience in sales.

Lastly, please put “Apple Pie” as the first two words in your application so that we know you’ve read and understood everything.

I can’t wait to read your application and get to know you!

Job Posting Translation

Here’s what this job poster is asking in a nutshell:

  • The client ostensibly wants to put a book into print that will reinforce their credibility, win them new clients, and/or earn them money through direct sales.
  • The right “expert” ghostwriting candidate won’t plagiarize.
  • The right “expert” candidate will do research, write in an “engaging style,” “have excellent English grammar and sentence structure,” and “be a native English writer.”
  • The right candidate will be “PASSIONATE about writing about sales.”
  • Candidates must submit an application, along with writing samples showing sales expertise.
  • The client wants 30,000 words and is willing to pay between $300-$420 total.


Mid-level to high-end ghostwriters usually charge $.50-$2.00/word and up. Or they charge anywhere from $15,000-$100,000+ per project. Or they charge an hourly rate that often falls between $100-$250.

The Upwork client is willing to pay between $.01/word ($300 total) and $.014/word ($420 total) for a 30,000-word book, which equates to roughly 120 pages. Let’s assume this client is willing to pay the high end of that range ($420 total for the entire project). Here’s what that means:

  • If the book takes 300 hours to write, the writer will be paid $1.40/hour.
  • If the book takes 150 hours to write, the writer will be paid $2.80/hour.
  • If the book takes 75 hours to write, the writer will be paid $5.60/hour.
  • If the book takes 60 hours to write, the writer will be paid $7.00/hour.


The federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. For fun, try to write 120 coherent, engaging, insightful pages on any subject in the entire world. If you get it done in less than 200 hours, pop open some Moet and Chandon and celebrate. Also, please let me know so I can start subcontracting your services out to my clients.

My recommendation: “expert” writers should quit freelancing on Upwork and instead become Starbucks baristas, who are eligible for minimum wage, health coverage, paid time off, stock options, and tuition reimbursement. If I’m ever so desperate for money that I’m freelancing for under the minimum wage, you’ll find me behind the counter at Starbucks. And that is no joke.

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