If you are entering into the world of freelancing, it’s a great time to get started. There are a number of opportunities out there as companies started to outsource many services. There are many clients who can trap freelancers and get work for free. How can you avoid being exploited and start earning some money? Here’s a quick guide that helps you not get screwed by clients.
When you start your career, you’ll be much excited when a new prospect calls or reaches out on email. Most often you’ll not have clear idea on what you have just agreed. So, though it is your first call try to be very clear on the requirements, project specs, deadline and pay.
Don’t Provide Free Samples
If you don’t have samples to show, it is better to create a few that can show you. Do not provide free samples for every client as they may use it for their purpose without pay and you will never hear from this client again.
A lot of work gets assigned through email. You need to be wary of anyone who wishes to hire you as the chances of fake clients are too high. You need more info than you think if you are working for the first time. Make sure you get complete info and research whether the company is real or fake before you sign in.
If a client is willing to pay you advance, then most probably he/she is a good client and there is no problem in getting your final payment. Today, advances are routine and taking 50% before starting the work is a standard practice. In case of foreign clients, you can get the whole payment up front. When clients pay you advance, they are committed to get the project done. However, when you are working for publications, you should not expect advance. Other than this market, any business either nonprofit, or government-agency should pay in advance.
Have a Written Contract
You feel good when you receive an email requesting your services, but think twice about the invoice. If there is no written contract, the client has no legal obligation to pay for you. You should have some legal support to stand on. Other than this, you should also be clear on whether you retain ownership of the work, or is the client buying all rights. In contract, each and every point should be clearly specified to avoid future problems. Freelance firms are a good resource for sample contracts and referrals to an attorney.
Don’t Get Over Excited
Suppose you hear from a blogging client who says they will send contract shortly, but they did not turn up. If you have started working on it immediately, then it is totally waste of your time. So don’t start till you sign contract and deposit check arrive. Keep marketing and looking for clients till you get enough number of clients.
Think Before you Meet
Mostly, local clients ask you to come to their place and take in-person meeting. But, in-person meetings consume a lot of time, hence try to avoid this. You can easily blow a half-a-day sitting in traffic or taking public transit. Instead you can use the phone or Skype to chat.
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