How to Avoid Freelance Scams
As I’ve been plugging along with my NaNoWriMo novel, I’ve started remembering how much I love to write. Decades ago (last century in fact!) I was a journalism major at Brigham Young University. I had been the co-editor of my high school newspaper, and had placed fifth in Southern California for an essay contest. I imagined myself writing for the rest of my life.
Well, things changed, and I ended up going down a different path into the computer realm. But now I’m starting to get back into my writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and looking at whether I could learn to make a living writing from home.
Like me, there are many people who dream of making a living from home by writing. Some need the flexibility and just want to get out of the 9 to 5 grind. Others have health or other challenges that prevent them from getting a regular job. While it is possible to make a decent living writing from home, there are many “write from home” scams to be aware of too.
To prepare you, here are 5 ways to avoid freelance scams
1. If it’s too good to be true it probably is. If the pay seems really high and requires no specialized education or experience, then proceed with caution. There are great paid writing jobs out there, but those that promise you riches with little in return are likely ones to stay away from. Many times your intuition will be the biggest help when you are trying to decide if something is a scam or not.
2. Be wary of people offering to pay considerably more than what you normally charge.
They may pay you with a fraudulent check, which you will ultimately be responsible for when the check bounces. You will have to pay back the money and any fees associated with it. Avoid this by accepting online payments like PayPal and never cash money orders or checks for a larger amount than agreed to.
3. People may ask you to write a complete “sample” article based on their project.
In most cases, this is an attempt at unscrupulous business owners to get the work done for free. Now if someone wants a test article specific to their project, ask that they pay for it. Otherwise, give them your standard samples so they can get a feel for your writing style.
4. Set boundaries with your clients and remember, you are a business owner. Decide on what hours you want to work and stick with it. Don’t let anyone bully you into working outside of your regular business hours. You may get clients that want you to work on weekends and holidays. Spell this out in your contract so there is no confusion later on.
5. Do research and let Google be your friend. Search for terms such as the company name or URL and the word “scam” or “review” to see what others are saying. Visit writer forums to see if you can find anything out about the company. Ask your writer friends about companies you may be thinking about writing for. Doing research before you accept new clients can help you avoid scam artists.
Writing from home is a great way to earn extra money and is something that can be turned into a full time career. You get flexibility in your schedule and can work where you want. You get to choose who you work with. But in your excitement to embark on this new career, don’t be in such a hurry to get a work from home gig, that you fall victim to a scammer. Be patient and keep your eyes open and you’ll find the writing opportunities that are right for you.
What to Do Next:
Get started out on the right foot and learn from other writers who have already achieved the success you’re hoping for. Sign up for the WriterHelpWanted membership to get instant access to an in-depth freelance writing course, job listings, professional writer case studies and more.
It’s run by professional writer, Alice Seba and New York Times Bestselling Author, Ron Douglas, who together have over 25 years experience in turning their writing skills into a living. It’s worth the one time, low-cost investment in avoiding mistakes and staying clear of freelancing scams.
As of today (November 16, 2015), they are running a special discounted price for membership. You get lifetime access for only $27, instead of the normal $47 membership price. Check it out!