As I near the completion of my fourth year in the freelance world, I have discovered that it isn’t hard to find available work, but it is however, often difficult to find legitimate work. By legitimate, I’m referring to reasonable paying, non-scam jobs that can help you not only pay the bills but further your craft as well.
While it can take time to build up a resume or work portfolio to help you attain the better jobs, you have to start somewhere, and starting with legitimate work can cut the time it takes to help you build success in your freelance endeavors.
It’s Out There
There is likely plenty of work out there for just about any freelance endeavor. The hard part is finding the right type of work — and at first, it’s probably not going to come looking for you.
It can take a long time to discover and find ways to best utilize the most legitimate forms of freelance work out there. And even then, your work and clients will likely be changing as you go.
Sometimes you just have to get your work out there, let it speak for itself and wait for clients to come to you. But this can be time consuming, and you may be looking for ways to pay the bills in the meantime. This means you likely have to get out there and pound the figurative payment, searching for legitimate ways to make a buck or two in the meantime.
Differentiating Good from Bad
It’s often hard when getting started in a freelance career to know what work is legitimate and what isn’t. While you can read reviews, search freelance websites and try to determine whether such sites are “scams” or not, your efforts still might not tell you the whole story.
I’ve learned though my efforts at obtaining freelance work that what one person’s definition of a scam is could be completely different than someone else’s. Just because someone had a bad experience with or didn’t care for particular freelance work, doesn’t necessarily mean it is a scam. However, in many cases, there is little else to go on in making such judgment calls than other peoples’ word.
Typically, the more information you can obtain about a particular freelance endeavor before you begin though, the better. If certain sites or organizations have numerous negative reviews by users, it might be something to bear in mind when considering working for them.
You might consider the quality of the operation as well. Putting your work amidst lower quality pieces could hurt your image. It is also important to pay attention to who owns or retains the rights to your work, and understand payments and payment policies, as well as a client’s rules and regulations for the work that you do for them, how and where it will be utilized, and under what name.
Some of the easier ways to get started finding good freelance work might be through paid-to-work type sites that provide the clients, the jobs, and handle payments, advertising, marketing, and similar aspects. This can be a good introduction to the freelance world and can help you build up a working portfolio to showcase your efforts and start to gain clients of your own. This can also help you to focus more on your work and less on the marketing and relationship building side until you feel more confident in venturing out into your own endeavors.
Good Judgment and Common Sense
Even when it comes to paid-to-work sites though, you probably shouldn’t just go ‘jumping into bed’ so to speak, with first stranger who comes along. Like most good relationships, good freelance relationships usually aren’t formed overnight. It often takes time and effort to get to know one another and build a working partnership. Conducting your due diligence and taking things one step at a time can help to keep you from getting burned and possibly form a stronger relationship with your customers and clients.
Be wary of the sites or clients who immediately start asking for too much personal information or that seem too good to be true. While they might just be trying to get to know you, as you are trying to get to know them, there is a way to do this without leaving the realms of professionalism or invading personal privacy. When addresses, phone numbers, full names, accounts numbers, and similar information begins to be requested right away, red flags should be raised in your mind, and unless you are positive you aren’t being scammed, proceed with caution.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. For financial advice, readers should consult a licensed financial advisor. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.