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Finding Writing Jobs Through Freelancer
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Freelancer is a website through which work seekers and work providers can get together and come up with some form of agreement. It is easy to sign up to, and you can get a basic profile for free, so be wary. Whilst Freelancer covers a variety of different industries, I want to focus on the area of writing. Having been both a writer and an employer in Freelancer, I have had a range of different experiences.
Trial articles are tricky. There are some employers on Freelancer who request trial articles for a number of reasons. This could be to gauge your style of writing, check your tone of voice, or simply to determine whether you meet their required standard of writing.
Always be careful in this situation. If someone requests a trial article from you, then check their profiles first. See if they have a good reputation and whether their payment method has been verified. Also, ask if they would be happy to simply read though previous examples of work.
I have done trial articles before for potential employers, and they have been rejected. Whilst this is no big deal, I have then gone on to find out that the articles were used anyway - meaning that they lied and I effectively did work for them for free. On the other hand, I have done trial articles that have gone on to land me the job.
When you start off as a freelance writer, it is tempting to take any work that comes your way. In some circumstances this is a good idea, because it helps you to build up your reputation and your portfolio, but you do need to know when to stop.
Most of the payments on Freelancer are low. Why is this? There are a lot of writers signed up, and they know that some of them are going to do work effectively for free. A lot of the work that is advertised is $1 or $1.50 per 500 words, which is ridiculous.
Depending on the subject matter of an article, and the research needed, a 500 word article takes an average of 1 hour to write; more for some, less than others. This means you are getting paid $1-1.50 per hour. Do 10 hours of that a day, 5 days a week, and you will be making approximately $200-300 per month. Is it really worth it?
Milestones are a form of advance payment. If both you and your employer agree to a milestone, then it basically means a certain amount of money is put on hold for you. The money leaves the employer's account, and is held for you by Freelancer until the work has been done and the milestone has been released.
It is always advisable to request a milestone, even if they have a fantastic profile and reputation. If they refuse to put any money forward for you, you should probably be asking why. There are a lot of employers on Freelancer who are essentially scam artists - they promise you pay in return for your work, and yet they never deliver.
Freelancer is a great way for new freelance writers to begin their career. It helps you to build a portfolio whilst making a little bit of money, and it also gives you more experience of working to deadlines and broaching different subjects. You just need to be careful.
Always do research into the employer before accepting a contract. Always as for a milestone payment to be set up. Always ask them if they would accept a previous sample of your work rather than a trial article.
Just be sensible, and it can be a great stepping stone experience!
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