Tales of a Freelance Writer
Have you ever worked one of those writing mills like Freelancer or Guru? Nine times out of ten, a client has asked you to write a sample article of some sort, to gauge whether or not you would be a good fit. They often don’t offer to pay you and to top it off, even if they deny you for the job, they publish your article anyway. The audacity, they won’t even give you a decent By Line; Jerks.
I have had this happen to me several times as I started out content development. I actually wrote nearly ten original articles for a client who always claimed that this article was lacking something and that article was too similar to another article. Yet over time, I noticed every one of these articles published with no changes made to them what so ever.
I have seen websites built on content that has been weaseled out of decent writers just looking to earn a decent buck. Eventually, I left him to smoke the very produce He so desperately needed material on as I got paid to write for his competitor; Serves him right.
Assumptions & Realities of Freelance Writing
It is easy to assume that, because you delivered an awesome piece of work, you would be a shoe in. When that doesn’t happen, and your work still surfaces somewhere, you are left looking like a sap.
Don’t let Employers get over on you. Take measures to make sure that all your work is worth the time you put in, hired or not.
- While Writing Mills urge you not to send any work without getting your contracts right, “Employers” will always find a way around that. By contacting you through outside channels like Emails, Skype, and even Social Networks they can surpass the sites typical employer guidelines. Make sure they go through the proper channels of communication to reach you and that you keep proper documentation of all conversations– for clarity of work and security of payment.
- Never fall for the “writing sample” scam. Any decent employer will be willing to pay you for the time you have invested. A smart Employer will also know that if money is on the table you are willing to put in an extra amount of efforts as if the job was a good enough incentive.
- Work with a Milestone System. This way you can make sure that you are completing the task as the client ask, but you can also split payments up based on draft deliveries and deadlines. A project of $200 and three drafts and one finalization would be four payments of $50. Not bad for a newb and no fear of back peddling.
- Some suggest using a watermark on drafts and submissions. While this is mostly with print publications, you could also try sending you drafts as pdf files with a watermark added into the background.
- Send Employers to previously published works. If you have had luck enough to find work already that was willing to give you a By Line or even reference letter, it is always best to have potential employers check it out. It shows your background and versatility, and what’s more, you’ve already been paid for it.
Notes for Hopeful Freelancers
Try not to be enticed by work offers where you have to send in drafts before-hand. Never send a draft where the employers have made no intention of paying you for it. Remember that once you give the work, it is theirs to use at their discretion, whether you have been paid or not.
Conclusion: Protect your Time and make sure that your employer values your efforts!