1. CatFace
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    CatFace Member

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    Has anyone done freelance work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CatFace, Jul 16, 2016.

    Hi,

    I've just been offered paid work for writing some web content. I've never done anything like this before - never worked freelance and never been paid for writing, so I don't really have any point of reference. I mean, how do I know it's legit? It sounds legit, looks legit. But what if it's some elaborate scam?! I honestly don't think it is, but I was wondering if anyone could share any of their experiences. Are there certain red flags you should look out for, things you should be wary of and avoid?

    Thanks a lot in advance to anyone with any opinions/insight!
     
  2. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a freelancer.

    Who's offered you work?
     
  3. CatFace
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    CatFace Member

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    They're called Per Call, a Leeds based UK company
     
  4. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    I almost went for it. Here's the site.
     
  5. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    What is the project? How much work is involved? What are they offering you (in terms of pay)?
     
  6. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    OP, is this where the job was posted?
     
  7. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    Disregard this post. :p
     
  8. CatFace
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    CatFace Member

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    It's writing short pieces of web content (250-300 words) for tradesmen websites, 5 pieces per week, £9 per hour, (working on the basis that each article will take an hour). Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    Nope, there was a advertisement on facebook asking for writers, but they offer freelance work to all types of people. It all sounds pretty reasonable to me, and it popped up on my newsfeed just at the perfect time. That's why it seems a bit too good to be true. But, as I said, it seems as above board as anything, I think what's making me suspicious is that they seem so eager, which is great, and clearly it's the mistrustful and paranoid part of me but their eagerness is making me convinced that I'll surely stand to end up the less well off party. Does that make sense?
     
  9. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if you want to build a career as a freelance writer, this could
    be a good place to start. Build up your portfolio.

    Personally I wouldn't accept those terms. I know from experience that it takes
    much longer than an hour to produce 200-300 words of quality copy.
    They're not factoring in research, idea development, and redrafting. Plus
    you may need to spend time clarifying the brief.

    (Also, £9 ph is a too low for me.)

    I suspect the reason they're eager is because they're looking for the cheapest
    supplier of copy for their clients. More profit for them. They probably
    don't value writing as a professional craft.

    However, as I mentioned: it could be a good way to start off your portfolio
    and get experience. So even if it takes you more than an hour for each piece,
    see it as an investment. Take your time and craft some good stuff.

    When you have more experience and a portfolio, you can negotiate better terms
    and go for better jobs.

    It won't harm to do a couple of jobs for them, see how the land lies as it were.

    We all have to start somewhere.

    If you need help with anything freelance related just give me a shout.

    Good luck with it.
     
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  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm dubious. I believe that a website that cares about their content is going to vet their writers more than this.

    Note: I'm NOT SAYING that the specific site being described does what I say below. They might be a respectable site that wants real copy to be read by real human being. Below, I'm describing why I distrust the general idea.

    Some sites, as I understand it, essentially want bulk "content"--English-language words that kinda sorta look like sentences and paragraphs, that are kinda sorta about a given topic. Imagine that you're a baker and you thought you were making lovely delicious crusty knot rolls or some such thing, and you discovered that the person hiring you really just wanted to shred your bread into bulk breadcrumbs. Would you be OK with the fact that you're getting paid the agreed amount and who really cares what happens to your work? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Even worse than don't-care-much copy, some websites "spin" copy--they'll take a piece of copy and run it through software that replaces some percentage of the words with synonyms from an electronic thesaurus. So instead of

    The small boy ran to the store.

    the spun version might have

    The paltry stripling drain provision.

    They then publish dozens or hundreds of different versions of the story to different copies of their site. The goal is to keep search engines from knowing that the copy is identical, so that some poor searchers are fooled into clicking on the links when they find them, so that the sites get a decent ranking. Then the owners of the site can sell advertisements based on that ranking.

    In this scheme, it really doesn't matter if anyone ever reads the copy. It's an advertising-dollars farm. Your copy is just the compost.

    Again, I'm NOT SAYING that the specific site being described above does what I say above. I'm saying that there are sites that use generic compost copy, so if the idea of your work being used that way makes you queasy, check carefully.
     
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  11. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chickenfreak makes some good points. There are content mills that essentially
    exploit writers and churn out bad copy. Very unethical. Though, this particular company
    might not be a content mill. Might just be looking for entry level writers in order
    to make the most profit. (Either way, I personally wouldn't work for them. Though,
    ]if I was starting out, I might do a couple of pieces just get some practice and a little
    bit of pocket money.)

    Having said that, I think the profitability of content spinning is on the decline.
    Content marketing is evolving and business owners are getting savvy. They want
    to provide users with the best experience as per Google's guidelines.

    I should say that internet users are also getting savvy.
     
  12. CatFace
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    CatFace Member

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    Thanks very much for your opinions ChickenFreak and Solar. I'd never heard of a content mill. From everything I've seen I don't have reason to believe this is how they're using the copy. Obviously they could just be good at covering it up, it wouldn't be that hard, but I think it's more likely they genuinely are just looking for fairly cheap copy to sell onto tradesmen websites for a profit.

    Solar - I think I'm going to take your advice and use it as an opportunity to build up experience and a portfolio, and see it as a segway to better things.

    Thanks a lot, that's much appreciated :geek:
     
  13. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're welcome. Good luck with it all.
     
  14. dmgwriting
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    dmgwriting New Member

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    Currently I freelance write on Upwork and freelancer.com, the task you have described doesn't sound too far fetched and I myself would be encouraged to take it up. Being new to these freelancing sites, I can be a bit edgy myself, it is difficult to know who to trust.

    I suggest that maybe you ask the client could you complete the first task on one of the sites or a similar freelancing site. They could create a writing task and award it to you, that way you can be assured of payment, as there is a number of verification processes that you have to go through on these sites.

    Hopefully it turns out to be legit!
    All the best!
     
  15. CatFace
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    CatFace Member

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    Thanks dmgwriting! And doing it that way would have been an excellent idea, only I already submitted the work yesterday and didn't think of it. I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to ask them to do anything differently to the way they usually do it anyway since I'm surprised/grateful to have been offered paid writing work in the first place (not that I should be - I'm far better at writing than anything else I've ever been paid to do to date... make of that what you will) and don't want to rock the boat.
     
  16. dmgwriting
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    dmgwriting New Member

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    A fair sensible point, hopefully it isn't too good to be true and your writing services are worth their cash. I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors!
     
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  17. Georgina Bass
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    Georgina Bass Member

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    I agree with your say. It is completely true that our writing is worth of their cash. I have been working as a creative content writer for more than a year but I have observed the least appreciation. I don't know why it is like this. They only want us to be a content machine and produce tons of work while quality matters the most. They should understand that quality and quantity are inversely proportional that leave affect each other spontaneously.
     

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