In the beginning of a writing career we all spend a lot more time applying for writing jobs than we do actually writing. Don’t worry; it will change once you start collecting clips to show off. Don’t take on a freelance writing job just because you’re getting anxious. You may regret it later. In the meantime, pay attention to the job descriptions. Look out for the following freelance writing job red flags.
No Pay Mentioned. The least the job poster could do is state “pay varies” so we would know we could expect to get paid for writing. However, it makes my stomach turn to even think about applying for a writing job in which the description mentions nothing about the pay. The pay should be mentioned in the description. If you are really interested in the job shoot over an email first to see what the pay scale is. You might get a response of “there is no pay” and then you’ll know not to waste your time applying.
Vague Description: It’s important for the potential client to understand what it is he wants of the writer he plans to hire. When the writing job description is too vague, so much so that I have a hard time coming up with an estimated fee and time of delivery, I get nervous. Some clients like this can easily make their description clear after answering some questions. It’s the ones that can’t answer the questions that make the job very difficult. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell which client the job poster would be before asking a bunch of questions. The only way to find out is to start asking…it all depends on how bad you want the job.
Long-Term/Bulk/On-Going Work: One of these phrases in a freelance writing job description isn’t bad. What you want to look out for is the potential client posting this and then saying that because it’s long term/bulk/on going work you should consider a lower fee. You shouldn’t. Unless the person posting this signs a contract and pays you upfront there is no guarantee that this writing job will turn into on going work. And even if it does why does that mean you should lower your rates? I’ve given a discount on bulk orders in the past and regretted it. It’s not worth it. Stick to your guns and avoid these posts unless it’s within your writing fees.
Read and reread the writing job description and ask any questions before you apply for the job. Otherwise, you will have wasted your time applying for something you don’t want. Be careful.
What red flags have you seen on freelance writing job descriptions?