When you are a new freelance writer who is hungry for work, it can be tempting to bid on any and all projects that you see. While enthusiasm is good, it is important that you take steps to safeguard your time and your work. While many freelance writing jobs are advertised by well meaning buyers who are willing to pay what they say that they will pay for work which meets their expectations, there are some bad apples out there. The best defense against unscrupulous buyers is to be selective about which projects you bid on. Here are a few tips that you can use to help you sift through all of those project listings that you see advertised. Please keep in mind that these tips come from my experience with Elance. Other freelance job posting sites may have similar features and information available for you to use to evaluate projects, as well as to help you protect your work and get you paid.
Before you bid on a project, take a peek at the buyer’s profile. If there are many jobs posted and few jobs awarded, don’t waste your time bidding because there is a low likelihood that anyone will be awarded the project, even you. Also, read feedback that other contractors have posted regarding their experience with the buyer. If you are able to see the job history and you see that a few other contractors (with otherwise good ratings) have tried their hand at it and have not met the client’s expectations, think twice before bidding because the client’s expectations may be unrealistic.
When you look at the project itself, it should provide clear expectations. If you find yourself having trouble deciding what you would bid on it because you can’t quite understand exactly what you would be doing and how long it would take, pass on it. When you select a project with a clear description it is easier to bid and you know what you are potentially signing yourself up for. Whenever possible, find jobs on websites such as Elance that use escrow and “Work View” (or similar) features. These features are designed to ensure that you get paid for the work that you do.