Be Aware When Being Paid

I know this topic has been covered somewhere before.  But, since I am now currently going through it myself, I figured I’d write about it firsthand.  Maybe that would help give someone else a better idea of what it feels like. 

Lately I’ve been picking up a few writing gigs that looked promising.  There were a few jobs on the writing boards that I applied to, and two of them got back to me.  One was for rewriting news stories into my own words, kind of fun.  The other was work in Keyword Density and that was interesting since that kind of work is simply writing a piece around certain words.  The first job got submitted on time, but then I never heard from the guy again.  So no pay there.  The second job was submitted yesterday.  I’m still waiting for word from that gig to see if there were any problems. 

Tip: be aware of possible problems if the person you are working with suddenly stops emailing or communicating with you after you submit your work.  This either means a “hit and run” where they never meant to pay.  Or, the pay is delayed and there will be a hard time collecting.

Another job that I had two months ago also looked promising.  This job was for continuing work dealing with generic topics and research.  The people who commisioned the job would send me a list of topics to write about, usually five items, and then I’d have X number of days to submit.  All went well at first, and the money would show up about a week later.  Then the money slowed down, and then stopped completely.  But the list of work kept coming right on time. 

Tip: If at any time the income from a job begins to slow down or gets delayed, beware.  Watch to see if the delays are reasonable or if they seem to get progressively longer.  Inquire about delays if they get over two weeks without any word as to why.  Be polite. 

Tip: Always, always, keep record of any information concerning payment for work that you do.  Keep track of how much each article is worth, and try to lock down a deadline for payment. 

Another trick I’ve caught recently is when people do not put any pay information in the ad, nor do they tell you it will be for exposure only.  My feeling on this is that these people are looking for writers who are so eager or so despirate to write for anything that they can get.  The trick here is simple; get the writer onto the job then either don’t pay and explain that it was for exposure only, or simply grab the work and run away. 

Tip: Be very cautious of ads and posts that don’t specify how much they are willing to pay for your services.  Usually no mention of payment means no payment.

The last type of ad that I’ve been running into within the past two weeks, are the ads that tell you to state your pay rate.  This may sound fine, and you probably think you can get some good money since you are naming your own price.  This is not always true; especially since what you think your words are worth is almost never what the job poster thinks words are worth.

Tip: Look around the job boards, and see what the going rate per word is.  It’s going to look very small.  I’ll warn you of that now.  Most jobs go out for about a penny a word; and a slim few go out for more unless you have a proven record or it’s a steady full time job offer.  An example of the going rates that I’ve seen are $2.50 for 250 words, or $5.00 for 500-600 words.  I have seen jobs go out for $1.50 per 400 words and I’m not sure of the reasoning behind that yet. 

Another type of job that I picked up once was a job I know I will never try for again until I am sure I have the time.  The job was posted on the usual job boards, and wanted about 50-75 articles of 250 words a week.  The pay amounted to about $25 per 10 articles written I believe.  The problem, I came to realize, was that the research I needed to do took up more hours in the day than I had the time for at that point.  There is a related type of work I’ve seen as well.  Jobs wanting about 10 SEO articles written per day.  For me, I need about half an hour to write a good keyworded article without doing any research.  That alone is 5 hours of work per day.  This is why I don’t do these types of articles.     

Tip: Always be aware of what you are able to do in a certain time frame.  Some of these little jobs out there seem to pay good or great.  But the amount of work, or the deadline may not be worth the attempt to get quality work out in time.  Ask yourself if you have the time.

One last bit of work that is related to the above and which you may come across.  I answered an ad once where someone was looking to add writers onto her staff to complete assignments.  She seemed professional at first, even had a nice website set up.  What made this a pipedream is when, after the person had found about four people to work, it was revealed in an email that she wouldn’t be able to pay anybody up front.  Payment would come after awhile when she picked up enough clients.  This is a person who decided to set up a ‘writers service’, go out and look for tons of work, then farm it out and hope to get paid enough.  A few jobs came in, but were mostly the type mentioned above with many articles needed in short order.  Needless to say, the ‘writers service’ didn’t last more than a couple of months.  The website went down about a month ago, and I haven’t heard anything since.

Tip: Be aware that there are people out there, just like you, trying to grab as much work as possible.  Not every ‘company’ is an actual business.  Some of the jobs out there are from other writers who got too much work for themselves and now need to farm it out fast to get paid. 

These are just a few of the things I’ve come across within the last six months or so.  I’m sure there are more out there, I just haven’t seen them yet.  If a great job comes along, usually it will be from someplace OTHER than a job board; usually it comes from referalls or from someone who liked work you did for them before. 

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