Freelance work is becoming more common thanks to the advancements of the Internet. Nearly anyone can find work depending on their interests in this digital age. However, not all opportunities are legitimate. While there are a lot of ads out there for job in writing, you need to be careful not to become a victim of a scam. Here are a few ways to protect yourself.
Ways to Identify Legit Online Jobs in Writing
Working from home and being your own boss has great appeal for a lot of people. Unfortunately, the Internet is full of scams ranging from identity theft to outright stealing your money. Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen a number of so-called online jobs in writing which led nowhere.
These are the methods I use to ensure I get paid for my efforts.
Never Pay to Work
One of the most common scams asks for a fee to set up your account or give you access to work resources. In reality, legitimate jobs in writing will never ask you for upfront payment. You should never hand over money for maintenance, up-keeps or any other administrative fees before you even accept work.
Most legit online jobs in writing use what’s called a “brokerage” setup. This is when the company will connect you, the writer, to clients who need content. They work as the middle man. In this instance, the brokerage firm takes out a percentage of the money you make. You don’t pay the brokerage company a single dime until you actually sell a piece to a client.
Think about it this way…would you pay McDonald’s just to accept your application without guaranteeing work?
Research the Company
One of the greatest tools you’ll use when looking for good jobs in writing is Google. If there is a company you’re interested in, do some research. If there is one thing you can depend on when it comes to the Internet, it’s that people will complain in forums and blogs after a bad experience.
Here are some of the terms I use in Google when looking up a specific company:
- (company name) complaints
- (company name) reviews
- (company name) scam
NOTE: Remember, not everyone will have the best experience working for any company…even legitimate ones. Read the negative reports yourself and compare them to positive experiences of others – if any.
Here’s an example of what I mean: I’ve been a writer for Textbroker since January of 2012 and love the system. However, some people out there complain about pay being too low or not enough work available. My experience has been stellar while others have not. Always get both sides of an experience before making judgments.
Never Give Out Completed Works Without Payment
When you go to the grocery store, do you pay before or after you eat the food? As a freelancer, you need to be careful of those who will try to scam you out of completed works before accepting payment.
With systems like Textbroker, clients deposit funds into the system like a kind of escrow account. If the client accepts your article, Textbroker releases the funds to you. In fact, most brokerage companies work like this, and it’s a safe way to make sure you get paid.
I’m not saying that all clients are trying to get something for nothing. Just be wary that a lot of them do, and you need to protect yourself should you decide to complete online jobs in writing without a third-party.
Always Use a Secondary Email Address
If you want to protect yourself from spam, it’s a good idea to use an email address specifically for online work. You never know the intentions of contact forms, and you could find yourself flooded with all manner of junk mail.
You can easily set up an email address with various online hosts like Yahoo or Gmail. Personally, I use an address on my own web hosting server.
If you’re unsure about a company being legit, you can always use a temporary email to register and test the website or contact form. Just make sure you register with a real email if you find it to be useful. Temporary addresses only last minutes, and you don’t want to use one should you find good online jobs in writing.
Peruse Social Media for Opportunities
Social sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter always have groups dedicated to finding opportunities for freelance work. In fact, I belong to several that include some excellent sites and popular user profiles.
For example, you can search for “jobs in writing” in Facebook and find all kinds of websites, groups and posts. Hashtags are a good way to reveal some insight in Twitter.
The point is that social media plays an intricate part of everyday life. Employers and clients are constantly scouring these social hubs to find talent for writing projects. It’s a good idea to spend a bit of time everyday scouring them yourself.
Promote Yourself as a Writer
On the Internet, “Content is king.” This drives millions of clients looking for writers of all kinds. If you promote yourself as a writer, you will find a few golden opportunities. For instance, I have a client retainer right now while I work side jobs on Textbroker. This means I am paid a certain amount of money whether I write 400 words a day or 3,000.
You have a number of ways to market yourself as a writer, and I can say honestly that promoting yourself is an excellent method for attracting quality clients. Just make sure you do a bit of research before committing to a specific client or organization.
When it comes to working online in any fashion, it all boils down to branding. Instead of a business, though, your name is your brand. It’s definitely worth the effort, especially if you can establish yourself as a high-quality professional.
Work is Out There
Online jobs in writing are quite common today. You just need to be careful about which services you sign up for. Currently, I have a list of a few websites I frequent which have paid me in the past. If there is one point I hope to get across is that you should never have to pay someone else in order to work. Protect yourself, and good luck finding legitimate online jobs.