I've been a professional freelance writer for about five years now. It took me a long time to figure out my worth in an industry that is overpopulated. It's a fine line between being an affordable writer and being a cheap writer.
When I first started, I didn't really know where to start. I had been a professional journalist for seven years and then marketing for three. It was all brick-and-mortar, so I never actually had to find clients or jobs.
I quickly found out that for many clients, good writing wasn't wanted or required. Bidding sites such as freelancers were offering $1 or $2 for a 500 word article and there were actually people bidding on it. They were mostly from India and other countries that farm these jobs by the hundreds. People that want these type of articles don't want a good article. They just want something that has the right keyword density that Google can index.
I started looking at different writing websites and discovered that there are people out there willing to pay for quality articles and blogs. The jobs I get are varied and often depends on frequency and word count, but I like to average anywhere $10 to $15 for 400-500 words.
I have some clients that pay me much more than that and a few that pay me less, but it all averages out. Am I in the top tier of freelance writers? No. Although, I do have a good steady clientele and have built a reputation for quality work.