Freelancing is nothing like I expected and it is nothing like my really successful first month. I guess when I started freelancing I was hoping I could work for one or two people and work for them forever. I know, naive. That’s what happens when you just don’t know what to expect.
Shortly after I posted my First Month Freelancing Income Report I was put on hold from that position. He had too many articles that I had written and he was trying to catch up. It was quite devastating, but I knew that I would find a new place for me. I started applying for job after job after job. I received a few writing assignments. I was writing for one woman for about 4 months (or so) and she just put me on hold, because she was falling behind on my articles. I then got hired by a man who I only write one article a week. After my first month I have made about $200 a month. I just received another job that I will write 2-3 articles a week for and I am hoping that one is more consistent. I should make about $300 a month if this new job pans out. I am not anywhere near where I was with that first month.
After my first month of freelancing I was in denial as to how hard it is to “make it” in the freelancing world. I told everybody to freelance and how everybody should do it because it’s fun money and you determine your wage. I still enjoy freelancing, but I certainly wouldn’t tell anybody to quit their job anytime soon to do freelancing. At this point I would love to tell you the things that I have learned from my jobs at Upwork. Today, I would love to say the things to avoid/look out for while applying for jobs!
- Leaving Upwork: I fell for this a few times in my first week of applying for Upwork positions. So, Upwork has a rule that you aren’t allowed to leave Upwork for jobs (I didn’t know this when I took the outside work). What I mean by this, you apply for an Upwork job, you communicate through Upwork, you send in your work through Upwork and you get paid through Upwork. You should never leave the site to communicate elsewhere. There are two reasons that Upwork has this rule, 1. they don’t want you to receive payments outside of Upwork because then they don’t get their service fee! and 2. they can’t protect you from “bad” people once you leave their platform. For me, I left their platform. It happened so quickly and now I look back and think about how stupid I was to fall for it, but here it is. So the man gave a very detailed description as to what he wanted, I applied, he told me that I should started working for him and to meet him in Skype, I met him in Skype and began writing for him, he told me he would pay me through Paypal on a weekly basis. I thought it was legit, but I would love to explain the warning signs. A) He never actually wanted to see any of my sample work, so how in the world did he even know I was a good writer? B) He told me that he would pay me at the end of the week…so pretty much he got a week of my work before I knew he wasn’t going to pay me C). He never asked for my Paypal information D). He demanded that I write article after article all day long and on a timed schedule. After seeing all of these red flags I wish I would have know, but I was too hopeful that it was true and it was my first “writing job.” I started catching on after three days (I know, it took me that long) and I told him I wasn’t going to write anymore until I got paid. Of course, he ignored me and didn’t pay me. I brought it up to Upwork and they couldn’t really help because they had none of the conversations on Upwork because they were all on Skype. Don’t ever leave Upwork! The man was pretty much taking my articles, selling them to other people and making money for MY work!
- Payment Unverified: Payment unverified means that the employer hasn’t set up a payment method through Upwork. I am sure there are a lot of great people that have unverified payments. They might be new to the company and they haven’t gotten their payment approved of yet, or they are just waiting for their first employee to then have their verified payment. However, I never trust this! You could do a whole bunch of work, pass your milestones and then their money could be fake (from a fake account) and then all of a sudden they have all of your articles and you have zero money to show for it.
- Their Budget is REALLY high: There is a very unlikely chance that somebody has an extra $10,000 that they are willing to pay for your writing. And it is especially suspicious if they have a HUGE budget but then you notice that they haven’t spent any money. There is a spot that shows how much each employer has paid towards freelancers. I never even apply for a job that they have a huge budget yet they have spent ZERO dollars. This is most likely a scam. Just the other day I was laughing because I showed my husband one job posting who has an unverified payment method and then had $20,000 budget. I noticed that 5-10 people had applied for that job! I couldn’t believe it!
- Reviews: The employers aren’t the only ones who have to check the background of the people they want to hire. YOU need to do some research on the jobs that you are applying for. What kind of reviews have they received? What’s their rating? Do their reviews seem legit or fabricated? If you notice that their reviews are all, “employer didn’t pay me” or “really hard to work with” or “didn’t answer my questions” then this is not the person you want to work with!
- Vague Description: Whenever you see somebody who says, “I need a blogger for various topics” do not apply for these positions. If they aren’t willing to put in the time to make an actual job positing then they aren’t worth working for anyways! PLUS they are more likely to be a scam!
- Test Articles: This is honestly the hardest one to point out! So I have been tricked before and I don’t even feel stupid for falling for it because it seemed so real. . So this is how it works: a person is very specific of the job they want, they have a very well written job posting, they give a couple strict rules (that makes it seem very realistic), they take a few days to get back to you (that makes it seem as if they are reviewing all of the resumes), they then write you and ask you more personal questions about the jobs and your time commitment (they make it seem like they are very interested in learning more about you), they then ask for a test article. It makes a lot of sense to get a test article and that is why I wrote one without hesitation. The problem? They take your test article and have no real intention of ever hiring you! I just got really excited about a man hiring me. I was super stoked and he asked me to write a test article. I happily wrote him a test article and sent it in. And then the man never wrote me. After two weeks he finally wrote me and told me that they decided to not have the position. I refuse to do a test article now! He most likely just took my article, used it, and then moved onto somebody else.
The more you look through Upwork and the more that you write for different people you will definitely be able to figure out and spot the scam from the non-scam. I just don’t want you to waste as many hours that I have writing for people who are dishonest and don’t have any intention on paying you or hiring you.