Freelancers Beware: Important Information

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Mike Sanchez

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There are a lot of scam schemes in the freelance writing industry. You must be vigilant of these tricks. I've been in the freelance writing industry for like 6 years and pretty much know almost every evil way on how your clients can trick you.

I've got a pretty good find regarding these scam schemes and how to avoid them. Don't know if this was already posted in this thread but I will share it to you guys anyways. :) Kindly check this out:

7 Freelance Writing Scams and How to Fight Them - http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2012/09/guest-blog-post-7-freelance-writing.html

Also, if you are just starting in the freelance writing industry... know first what your skills are worth. Learn how to decline ridiculously low offers that you know that will not be so fulfilling in the end.
 
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WordsRWeapons

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One of the reasons I started my writing company is precisely because of situations like this. Hiring a competent writer is difficult as it is, but when you combine that with scams for stealing content or people taking advantage of fledgling writers, it just makes a bad situation worse.

As someone who regularly hires writers (and for way less than they are actually worth), the best advice I could give would be the following:

1) Writing samples that are already published are more than enough for anyone looking to hire writers. Period. All samples tell a person looking to hire you is what sort of writer you are. What is your voice, what is your style. If they like what you produce as a writer, they'll move on to looking at some various other factors that they care about.

2) The worst sort of clients are also the worst sorts of employees - hagglers. If everyone is being honest, the rate is the rate. Either you are willing to take the rate, or you are unwilling to take the rate. If someone is trying to get the cheapest price they can, that's fine mostly, but once you have drawn a line in the sand for how little you are willing to work for (which probably reflects how badly you need the work), people should be willing to respect that and either walk or way or cough it up. No harm, no foul.

I encounter this all the time, seeing writers that I deserve more money than I can afford to pay them. I try to balance this out in other ways (such as making my numbers transparent, making the environment flexible, and arranging it so that the company operates as if it were owned by the collective of writers working for it rather than just me). Sometimes this is enough to make working for me worth it, and sometimes it isn't. As long as nobody's taking it personally, then we can expect everyone to act like professionals.

But working on spec is BS and should not be asked of anyone.

3) Don't be afraid to be honest. If you are concerned a company might actually be a scam, no business owner is going to be offended. In fact, they are probably worried that you are going to scam them in all honesty. Addressing the elephant in the room is a good way to clear the air, and the middle ground should generally be half up front and half on delivery for a project. At some point someone needs to take a risk, and asking everyone to share the risk equally is great.

However, there are ways you can mitigate even that.

If you find out where your content will be published - which should never be a problem - then you have a place to file a DMCA claim against them. That's bad news, and no company will want to have to deal with that.

Finding out their business information is important as well - no company should have anything to hide about how they operate. It might seem weird to ask at first, but its as simple as saying, "I'm sorry I have to ask that, but you'd be surprised at the number of folks that are dishonest. If it wasn't for a few bad apples, this would be a lot easier than everyone because there wouldn't be so much due diligence required. I'm sure you feel the same way about hiring writers, lol."

That works, because its true.
 

Jason E

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The information I have found here is priceless. Boy, do I have a lot to learn about the writing industry. I am actually looking for somewhere to get started. I have nothing published as yet. Every freelance job I have looked at seems to match the criteria for a scam. I actually got taken once. Some creep stole a story from me and I had no way to prove it. Naturally, I am quite paranoid about my work now. Can anyone here recommend a place for an unpublished writer to get started? Every job I've looked at and we're talking triple digits here, wants an experienced published writer. How do we unpublished newbies even get a foot in the door?
 

ShannonR.

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Stupid question...
Is it normal to have to ask more than once to be paid and/or for the client to have issues with PayPal? I've written a few articles for a new-ish music site, but I've had to ask about being paid each time and, even when I do, it takes at least a few days for me to hear anything back. I often have to ask more than once each time. What is "standard"? I used to write for another site and didnt get paid much at all, but he was always very prompt with payment. Then again, I was the only writer he worked with, so I might have gotten "spoiled".

My husband gets annoyed with me when I don't write for this site (and get paid) as often as I did before, but I feel like I shouldn't be doing work if I have to make so much effort to get paid. It's not a lot of money, but more than other jobs I've done. I don't know what is right, since I'm not as experienced as others and can only work part-time.
Who's right? Am I getting "too big for my britches", as my mom would say, in complaining? Again, I don't know much about the business end of writing.

Thanks!
 
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ironman

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Thanks everyone for the info. Found some useful stuff.
 

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