There are plenty of writing job scams out there. Within a couple of years of searching for freelance writing jobs on the net, you’ll be able to sort the good, bad and ugly pretty quickly, but if you’re just getting started in the freelance writing industry, here are a couple of red flags to watch out for when choosing freelance writing jobs.
Freelance Writing Job Red Flags
- Megabucks: If you’re promised thousands of dollars per day/week/possibly even per month, tread lightly. Sure, there are freelance writing jobs in which writers bill thousands per month, but these opportunities are more likely to come through networking and contacts, rather than through a random, anonymous posting.
- Little or no experience necessary: Okay, maybe there are freelance writing jobs out there with little experience necessary, but be sure to refer back to #1 above before diving in. Keep it real.
- Spammy ads: Employers don’t really need to resort to begging to get employees.
- Page views and exposure! New enterprise!: Alright, so this may not be a scam, per se, but it’s likely an equally risky use of your time. If a new enterprise, webzine, or blog network can’t pay something up front, move on. This is not the place to “make your fame.” You can't pay your light bill with "exposure." And, if you're paid solely based on traffic generated to your articles . . . be careful.
- Fuzzy math/Fuzzy details: Related to the above, don’t be forthcoming with a potential employer who is not as forthcoming with you. Pay rates and responsibilities should be discussed up front and openly.
- Fuzzy site: No potential employer who is on the up and up will hide behind the net. You should be able to garner info about the company, who they serve, and what they do within just a few emails.
- Send us samples: Some samples are required—many samples are overkill. In addition, you shouldn't do custom samples, either. What you might say to this potential employer: "I might be able to provide you a paragraph on your topic, but I simply don't have the time to generate an unpaid article on the off-chance that you might hire me."
- Bad reputation: You should be able to get a feel for what other freelancers think of the company with just a tad bit of investigation. Check out your favorite blog communities and writer forums. Ask around.