How Do I Know If I Should Trust a Writing Job Offer?

 

Tips for Getting Paid as a Freelance Writer | Kyla Matton Osborne | #freelance #writing #rubywriter

 

Freelance offers have been popping up quite a bit this week, so I decided to write a bit about my experience doing freelance work for both known publishers and writers who need work done for clients. This type of writing work is different from writing on a paid to write site like BlogJob, or on your own blog. But when you get a good writing gig, it can be rewarding work – at least for your bank account!

Freelancing for a Known Publisher

This is the type of work that will generally pay the best, as there’s no middleman involved. Publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts will usually have a published editorial calendar and writer’s guidelines, so you know what kind of writing they want and what they will expect from your work. Deadlines should be clear and publishers generally tell you whether or not to expect contact if they don’t accept your piece.

Publishers will generally not haggle or accommodate you when it comes to the terms or mode of payment. And you may only be paid after a delay. But it’s usually guaranteed money if you can write well, and for the right niche – even if you only write for the publisher once. If you can pitch an article to an editor, as I did with my articles for The Senior Times, even better!

 

The Definitive Guide To Getting Paid As A Freelancer

 

Writing Gigs from Fellow Writers

Freelance writers sometimes take on more work than they can manage in a given time frame, and will offer the work to writing friends. I’ve done this kind of work on and off for one friend, and have been offered work from a handful of others.

If your friend is a writer whose work you respect, and that friend is very open about her expectations upfront, you’ll likely get paid for your work. If you aren’t clear about anything at the outset, ask. Professional writers know their business and will be happy for you to help them keep a contract with their client. They will be happy to clarify expectations or to answer questions about the terms of the writing gig. And they will know what they are talking about. If you ask fairly basic questions and your friend can’t answer you, or if he seems evasive, warning bells should be going off!

When it comes to getting paid, always set the price, mode of payment and deadline before you submit the work. But be prepared to be flexible! If your friend has to wait for the client to pay, and the client delays payment for any reason, she won’t be able to pay you on time. When it comes to this kind of freelance work, think of it as the gravy and not the meat. Don’t ever rely on it to pay the bills, because there are a ton of reasons why clients are sometimes late to pay.

 

How Do I Know If I Should Trust a Writing Job Offer? | Kyla Matton Osborne | #freelance #blogging #job
Before you accept that writing job offer be sure you’re going to get paid! (Image by OpenClipartVectors/Pixabay/CC0 1.0) | #rubywriter

Freelance Writing for Private Clients

Private writing clients may be referred to you, or they may contact you directly after seeing a sample of your work. When you get a freelance offer, one thing that may stump you is how much to charge for the writing gig. There are lots of articles online about how much to charge. You can also search for ads that offer similar work in your area, then use their rates as a guideline for how much you should be paid for your writing.

When dealing with private clients, be clear about everything before you start the work. Be sure you know the client’s expectations for the writing, and let him know that you will include one or two minor rewrites only. Don’t let a client string you along with dozens of corrections. This demands much more of your time, and should only be done if the client agrees to pay extra when the rewrites are requested.

Set your deadline and mode of payment, and be sure to prepare an invoice when the work is delivered. Be professional. But don’t just take a new client’s word that she’ll pay: ask for half the money upfront, before you begin the work. This is your protection, and any client who can’t or won’t pay the advance for a first freelance writing assignment, just isn’t worth working for.

Do you have any advice for writers who are wanting to protect themselves when they are offered a freelance writing job? Feel free to leave your advice in the comments below!

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18 thoughts on “How Do I Know If I Should Trust a Writing Job Offer?

  1. These are loads of good information. I have not done freelance writing yet but I am writing for a Filipino German Expat magazine for free every 2 months. I am helping a friend who published this magazine and well, it’s good for my exposure . It would be nice to get paid though😀

    1. It is great for exposure! Perhaps now you could branch out by submitting an article to a magazine on a related subject?

  2. I have ben writing for five years now. And I managed to earn some decent money from it. My offline writing is also bringing me some profit. More before than now. But, I am content. Every penny means a lot ot me.

    1. Given the global financial climate, I think most of us re happy with every penny we can earn! Congratulations on making it work, Lejla :)

  3. This is all great information. If I ever become good enough, or confident enough, to try to publish something for real, I will come back and read this again first.

    1. Even if you just start out taking small gigs on a site like Hire Writers, you can earn a bit of cash and polish your writing skills. If it appeals to you, don’t hesitate! You can do it, Cindi ;)

  4. I’ve pretty much stopped taking job offers that contained links since some of the big Google changes hit. Still, it’s good to be reminded. I especially appreciated the part about having a backup plan. That’s so very important.

    1. I’ve never cared much for the offers that contain links or highly specific keyword phrases. It makes for rather stilted writing.

      A lot of people do transition from web writing to writing for print publications, though. Or they end up doing both. Others just stick with ghostwriting, so the work product is published other than on our sites and with our names. Lots of this type of work exists, for those who want to earn a bit of extra money.

  5. I’ve never had the courage to freelance. It’s hard for me to write on a subject I’m not passionate about. If I ever get my courage up, I will certainly come back and check this out again.

    1. It is definitely a bit of a leap! And a very different experience, from writing your own content.

  6. Excellent info here. It can be hard to tell if an offer is legitimate or not. I recently had an experience that caused warning bells to go off. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I also have to protect myself. I will be sharing this on Google+, FB, and StumbleUpon.

    1. Thanks so much, Kim! I’m glad the warning bells went off for you, before you took the risk.

  7. This is all good to know. Only freelance work I have done is exchange for reviews on a book or product. Sometimes i made a few dollars.

    1. Compensated reviews – even if your only payment is the product itself – are a great way to get things you need. Of course, with a review the company needs to give it to you up front! It’s sort of difficult to review something until you have it in your possession….

  8. Its nice to have this knowledge in case I’m ever approached. So far I’ve not had to worry if its legit or not.

    1. Even with the paid online sites, there have been a number that turned out to be far less than legit. It’s good to be a little wary. And to have a plan, in case the payment program changes unexpectedly.

  9. What valuable information. I haven’t got to the paid of paid blogs except for some ads where they have sent me the content to put in. I did write one ad myself and recieved $60 which foe me I thought that was great.

    1. That’s awesome, Martha! I haven’t done the ad writing part of things yet, but once I get all my blogs updated and go back to self-hosting I think I will give it a whirl :)

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