Part of succeeding in your web writing career is knowing when a potential client is one you should avoid. There are many scammers out there. You need to know how to protect yourself. As a long-time career freelance writer, I’ve picked up a great deal of experience on sorting out the legitimate clients from the scams.
Ask for a percentage of pay upfront.
This is extremely important to making sure that you get compensated for every piece of content you produce. I generally ask for half of the pay before starting the work and the other half when I complete the project. This is protection both for myself and for the client. If a client decides to stiff me, at least they have paid me something. Also, it helps reassure the client, knowing that they do not have to pay the full amount until I finish the writing.
Never pay for work.
You’ll often see ads or websites claiming that if you purchase a service or product, they’ll give you work. The majority of these are scams . Unless it is a legitimate contracting service, and sometimes not even then, it is best not to pay anyone for work. There is plenty of work out there and you are the one providing the service. You should be the one getting paid.
Get all project and payment details in writing.
Before you even begin the work, discuss the details with the potential client. Then, create a contract and make sure you both agree to it. Even if you are not familiar with professional contracts, this is still possible. As long as all the terms are laid out and parties are documented agreeing to it, that will be enough for a legal agreement.
Watch out for fancy calls to action.
This is a common pitfall for potential writers and others looking for work at home positions. Usually, if you see something that uses terms like “get rich quick,” “easy money fast,” “Sign up and get paid today,” and the like, run far, far away. There are cases in which people may use similar terms for legitimate offers. But most of the time, that is not the case.
Know where and how your content will be used.
This is very important. There are people out there who will pay another writer to do something that is legally supposed to be written by them. Many content sites require the writing to be 100% created by the person who is submitting it. Never produce work for someone if it is going to a place like this or if you don’t know what they will be doing with it. Otherwise, you could unknowingly be part of a scam. This goes back to the contract issue. Make sure the contract includes what will be done with your writing. This way, if the other person does something illegal with it without your knowledge, it is documented that you sold the content for other reasons.
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)