Becoming a freelance writer: how to check an online service for credibility
As with anything online, before devoting time, and, more importantly, money to a project, you need to be confident that it is not going into a black hole. This worry holds for freelance writing; it is a growing business, and is therefore enticing for people to make a quick buck, and at your expense. That said, when it works, it works, so how can you ensure that you apply yourself to the appropriate cause?
The longer a company has been around, making money in a given field, then the more likely it is that the company is legitimate. Try to find the companies with the longest checkable track-records.
The quality of the client-base is the best indicator of the legitimacy and health of a freelance writing site. It is essential that a company makes available all information about potential clients, and that clients are subject to feedback from freelancers. If you find this transparency, the site is likely to be legitimate and trustworthy.
Take some time to explore the pool of freelancers. As with clients, a good company will display a profile, number of jobs, time with the company, and even the amount of money earned. This indicates the potential to earn on the site, and if the freelancers have long histories, then the company is very likely to be credible.
The single most important aspect of a company’s credibility is accountability and protection; a legitimate company should take measures to protect both clients and freelancers from the anomaly of the ‘bad client/worker’. A credible company should have a payment protection or escrow service that is funded and which fund is administered by the company and which cannot simply be withdrawn.
Google searches generally reveal the best, longest established companies in any given field when searched. So, a simple search for the ‘best online freelancing companies’ should provide some valuable insight, and if you follow links you will be able to gauge the reputation of your chosen companies. Reputation is everything.
Committing yourself to work on an online project, with clients all over the world, is a risk. But, with the correct research, you can minimise this risk by finding a solid credible company that will reward your hard work.