Tips to avoid getting screwed when starting as a freelancer

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If you’re just starting your career in the world of freelancing, welcome aboard. It’s a great time to be a new freelancer, with loads of opportunity out there as companies of all sizes from small to large are continually looking to outsource many types of services.

Starting a new career can be fun and exciting but you should take care of a few things in order to ensure that you are not getting screwed as a freelancer.  This article will explain a few points on how you can avoid being exploited and start earning real money.

Understand the Requirements!

When you are starting as a freelancer, every opportunity where you get to connect with a client seems like an exciting opportunity. Don’t let the excitement get the better of you. Always try to understand the work that needs to be done before accepting any project. Most of the new freelancers make this mistake wherein they don’t have a scope of project defined and directly jump on getting work started for the project. In order to avoid this situation always ask questions. Things that are not clear should be clarified before starting work and not after that.

Don’t take up trial tasks for Free!

You will find majority of the client asking for a certain part of the work done to showcase your skill free of cost. They might ask you to write a couple of articles for free on the topic of their choice or something similar. Never take up trial work for free, ask the client to may moderate sum for these small tasks as well. If you have relevant work sample that you completed earlier show it to the client, instead of doing something which is part of their spec for free in hope of getting more work.

The vast majority of these offers are scams. Your article, photo, or design likely will be used without pay or permission, and you will never hear from this “client” again.

Always Ask for Advance Payment/Escrow

If someone asked me what according to me is the number one cause of trouble with the freelance market, I would say its the Freelancers willing to start work before they see any money or before they have a guarantee of a payment.

Asking for advance or escrow is never a bad idea and almost all the clients understand this. If a Client is willing to escrow funds this ensures that the Client is good and you won’t have much trouble in getting payment for the work done. If a client refuses for escrow you are always at risk and there is a very high chance that you mightn’t get paid after the work is done.

Discuss and Finalize Payment Terms with Milestones

The best way to go about any freelancer work is to break it down in several milestones and ask the client to make payment for each milestone with a delivery date mentioned for each of them as per your expectation right at the start of the project.

Having well defined Payment Terms ensures that you are paid frequently for the work completed and also the deliverables are clearly visible for both you and the client along with deadlines.

Don’t Jump the Gun

This is another over-excitement problem. Lets take an example where you hear from a client who says that he needs something delivered urgently and you think this being a great opportunity you start some basic research work on it even without the guarantee of the payment and after a day or so the client comes back saying that the project couldn’t be materialized.

Now, you’ve wasted hours of time on a prospect that didn’t turn out to hire you.This problem is fairly easy to prevent: Don’t start working until project is awarded and fund is escrowed.

Keeping these few points in mind can help you get started as a freelancer and will avoid getting you screwed. Do share your thoughts and ideas on the article with us.

  • stdps1080

    Great Points ! I already got myself burned by some “free” loaders.

  • Soumen Sahoo

    How did i contact for job?