Freelancing is an exciting online career, but not without challenges. And the biggest challenge freelancers face every day are job scams.
Imagine working on a freelance project, putting in all your energy, you submit, and the client ghosts you without paying.
[T]e biggest challenge freelancers face every day are job scams.
The worst thing, the “client” benefits from your work!
Yikes! Job Scammers are all over, and they take advantage of beginners desperate to earn income.
The only way to avoid being a victim is to set your freelance business the right way.
Below are ways you can take to avoid job scams as a new freelancer.
6 Ways to Avoid Job Scams
1. Learn the Rules of the Trade First
The reason there are loopholes for job scammers in the freelance industry is the lack of enough information and set guidelines for all. Scammers will take advantage of a lack of education to dupe you into working for free.
The first step you should take when starting out as a freelancer is to learn as much as you can.
Learn how successful freelancers find clients, how they get paid to write, and how you can be successful too, as a freelancer.
You can educate yourself about freelancing by reading blogs – like this one – and watching videos on YouTube.
There are tons of free freelance courses that can help you learn the tools of the trade.
This process will take you a lot of time and energy, my friend! But not to worry, the results are worth every time!
On the other hand, you can make your learning process easier and fast by taking reputable freelance courses online.
These premium courses will show you the blueprint and help you avoid the loopholes in the industry. You can focus on a course depending on your writing niche.
If you’re interested in freelance writing, check out Elna Cain’s free writing course to get you started!
2. Design a Website for Your Service
The biggest mistake you are making as a beginner freelancer is not having a writer website and this can open you up for a job scam.
A self-hosted website shows your credibility, makes your marketing seamless and convinces your potential client that you’re the right candidate. The good news is that creating a website is affordable these days.
This does not mean job scammers will avoid you because you have a website, but at least you will have a place to publish your terms and conditions. And filter jokers by stating your service rates.
You can publish terms on your site that you charge up-front fees for any project you do.
Any potential client wanting to defy your terms is a red flag and you should abort the mission.
I’ve had clients contact me through my site and while most of them turned out to be exceptional clients, I’ve turned away some who had many red flags.
You can hire a web designer or DIY your site using tutorials on YouTube. Designing a site can take you a day to a week, depending on the time you put into designing.
3. Create Authentic Social Media Accounts
Listen, most freelance job scams lack an authentic online presence, including social media accounts.
Because they know that they can get away with anything on the internet. It is either they have funny names and fake profile pictures or have newly created social media accounts with no profile pictures and contact information.
The same thing applies to you when looking for freelance writing jobs. Potential clients will be skeptical to work with you if you don’t have a strong online presence.
Create your social media accounts with your real names and profile pictures. Also, be active online by posting on your social media accounts and engaging with other online users.
Not only will you be upping your networking game through social media accounts but also building credibility around your brand/niche.
You can focus on one or two social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
4. Get Legal
The least thing freelancers think about when starting out is the legal side of the business. And that is another mistake you are making as a beginner and can increase your chances of a job scan coming to you.
Job Scammers take advantage of the fact that there is no way for you to compel them to pay you.
Find lawyers who work with freelance creatives and consult on how you can protect your business and ensure it is legally legit.
Also, you can buy legal contract templates from attorneys and use them as binding contracts with your clients.
Not Your Father’s Lawyer is an excellent website I know that shares tons of legal information for small business owners.
You can get your contract templates and policy documents from a reputable attorney.
Another website you can check out is for legal tidbits on blogging.
You can do a quick Google search to find attorneys that practice within your country and learn about your legal option as a freelancer.
5. Look Out for Red Flags Before Applying for a Job
As a freelancer who is always on the lookout for exciting projects, I come across endless job posts with so many red flags.
Job scams are likely going to ask you to do free sample work and ghost you after submitting.
Or, give you work after another promising to pay bi-weekly and go MIA once you complete the project.
You can avoid scam jobs by doing a thorough background search on your potential client.
Check if they have a website or any online presence. Also, confirm that your potential client has working contact details.
Elna wrote a complete list of red flags to check when looking for a freelance writing job.
6. Work with Legit Business Owners
Here is the thing, most job scams in the freelance industry are middlemen looking to subcontract work to newbies.
There are legit subcontractors who work with a wheelhouse of freelancers to deliver work for their clients, and they value the work of freelancers.
not disputing that fact!
These types of subcontractors are legit, have a clear onboarding process for their freelancers, value their brand, and only work with hardworking freelancers.
But there are others who are looking for free work from unsuspecting newbie freelancers.
Before you take on any new freelance client, make sure they are legit business owners. If it is an agency, check to make sure they are legit.
Legit business owners will abide by your service contract and value your services.
Additionally, they have a transparent communication channel with clear policies and terms of work.
Get Legit Freelance Jobs as a Beginner
Start your freelance business the right way to avoid falling in the hands of job scams. You are an independent contractor and like any other contractor, you deserve good pay.
Follow the above steps to avoid job scams.
Do you have ways that helped you avoid job scams? Share with us in the comments.