When your looking for freelance writing jobs, there are some red flags that should warn you away.
Freelance writing jobs that wave a red flag include ones where the prospective employer says in the ad something like “I require frequent meetings.” This came from an actual ad.
What galls me is that, based on the rest of the ad, there is no reason for such a requirement. The fellow, and somehow I’m sure it’s a guy in this case, wants a newsletter written – a page twice a month. This could be an ideal freelance writing job, but, well, read on.
Yes, according to his ad he’s got products and I assume he has product sheets or other information. He promises either information or a first draft for each issue. And he asks for frequent meetings. Then he adds insult to injury by saying “You can do this work at home.”
In my mind requiring frequent meetings and working at home are totally conflicting messages. Or maybe he doesn’t understand how to use a phone and email. Or doesn’t get how a freelance writer actually works.
I tend to stay away from ads that indicate the prospective employer is a control freak. Control freaks, in my experience, are time sinks. I’d have to triple my rate and it still probably wouldn’t be worth it.
While meeting with a client who is close or who is willing to fly me to wherever, pay for my tme and provide meals and a decent hotel, can be fun and even informative, it truly isn’t necessary.
More freelance writing jobs that wave a red flag
There are all sorts of freelance writing jobs that wave a red flags:
- Another version of the same problems is the ad that claims it’s a freelance writing job but insists I be available on instant messaging all the time. No way. When would I write? And who wants to be on call 24/7? Not for a writing gig thank you very much.
- Anything that indicates to me requires approval of the writing will require two or more people. I’ve written for committees and it’s awful. I’ll suggest they assign one person I work with, and if they balk I tell them about the job I turned down when they bragged their committe had managed to approve a book mark in just over a year – true story, I promise.
- Any job that wants an original, unpaid sample. I might have done this once or twice in the beginning of my writing career, but now I’ve got more samples than anyone could possibly want. I will sometimes give ideas in my response. Ideas can’t be copyrighted and they do show I have some talent. And once in awhile someone will want a couple of sentences or a short paragraph as a sample. I will do those for free if they’re easy.
- Any gig that offers me a percentage rather than actually paying me my fees – I’ve sometimes won when I’ve taken my regular payment plus a percentage – that’s a bonus. Now I won’t even consider it… well, if they have a contract and a marketing expert I might reduce my fee and take a healthy percentage, but probably not.
- Any writing job that requires me to write in a belief system I can’t work in. For example, it’s unlikely I’d be able to write well for the National Rifle Association, nor would I want to.
- Any writing job that just doesn’t feel right to me. I’ve learned to trust my intuition.
I also recognize that it can seem difficult for employers to pick the right writer. That’s why my website is complete and I’m more than willing to answer questions when we get to the interview stage. Over time I’ve had too much success writing for folks I never meet in person to feel the personal touch is necessary.
What are your favorite freelance writing jobs that wave a red flag?
Write well and often,
Image from http://www.sxc.hu