We have heard it an ample number of times. We have probably experienced it numerous times. Yes. The cheaters and traitors under the garb of prospective clients.
This is a sad story- almost all freelance writers recount incidences where their services were either not paid for at all or partially paid.
Money matters, because that is what you gain out of the work you do as a freelance writer.
It is unfortunate to realize that being fraud-proof is not that difficult- I say it is unfortunate because the incidences of fraud with freelance writers reveal they don’t know how exactly they can prevent themselves from getting tricked.
So, today, let’s fraud-proof our Freelance writing career.
In a previous post, I had addressed the matter, and it contains the tips and tricks of fraud-proofing your freelance writing career.
You can check it here- How To Ensure A Fraud-Proof Freelance Writing Career
So, let’s talk about some other ways that I have used in the past and find useful till date-
A quick background check
A lot of the times, I have earned clients through LinkedIn. When that’s the case, you can easily check their profiles, their activity, their connections, and so you can gauge their authenticity.
For other clients, when they are a company or an enterprise, go ahead and search their name on Google. Look them up on LinkedIn, and even check their presence on other social media platforms.
This will give you an idea of their business, their reviews on Google, and will help you measure the genuineness of the prospect.
An LOA, albeit informal
Even if a Letter of Agreement is an informal one, it can serve your purpose. It is crucial to lay down the essential conditions of your association with any client in the LOA.
You can make an LOA for yourself if you deem fit, or refer my previous post to know how I go about it.
It is crucial to remember to edit and update the LOA format for each client. Any additional conditions like duration of the project, additional services such as keyword research and incorporation, etc., should be clearly stated so as to avoid any hassles later on.
I also like to mention the frequency of the payments- whether I would have the amount upfront, or it can be made post the delivery of the work every week/month/15 days.
I feel more comfortable when an agency or an established company is involved. However, when there is no reliable information pertaining to the organization, and it is just an individual interacting with you, be more doubtful.
I absolutely don’t entertain clients before they have signed up my LOA.
Identify the Risk
I recommend you to decide on the payment terms as per what you find and realize in your background check.
Let’s say your prospective client is an established firm with a number of employees, you can trust this company since it has a public image it would like to protect. And, so, there is no risk in laying out a long pay cycle, such as once per month.
However, if the company does not have a foundational online presence, stick to upfront payments, or once a week. The lesser the risk, the better!
Ask for Advanced Payments
I was curious as to what other freelance writers in my field do to ensure they are safe from frauds. One of my fellow freelance writers revealed she did not use LOAs but demanded advanced payments from her clients.
There is a pre-requisite for this, though. You must have a reliable and verifiable profile, too! Your clients are humans, and just as you need to be sure they will pay you after your work is done, they need to be sure you will do the work after you have been paid.
If you think you have built up this credibility for yourself on your various profiles across social media, and that you don’t come out as a doubtful person, there is nothing wrong in demanding upfront payments, and the right clients and companies will understand this!
Check Through References and Connections
There was this freelance writer who had received an offer from a company who happened to be one of my clients.
She went through the company’s profile, the CEO’s profile, found out I was in the mutual connections, realized I could tell her more about the company and its ethics, and bam! She asked me about the company, and I assured her they were genuine.
Isn’t this something all of us can do? A little research and observation can save freelance writers a lot of money, time, and effort.
The next time you reach out to a prospect, make sure you have already done your job!
I would love to hear your tips and tricks to stay safe as a freelance writer.
Share in the comments below!
Happy freelancing! 🙂