Spitting out the Bad Seeds – Protecting yourself as a buyer

Credit: Wikimedia

Credit: Wikimedia

Two weeks ago, I talked to freelancers about how they can get their dues from their clients. You can read that post here!

This week, I’m turning it around and talking to the clients.

It’s occurred to me recently that I’ve missed out on valuable insight by looking at the other side of the coin; I don’t write often enough from the client’s point of view. The fact that I am rarely a client and almost always a freelancer is no proper excuse, and I’ll try to do a better job in the future discussing issues about freelancing from a client’s perspective as well. I hope you’ll find that information as interesting as I do!

With that in mind, we’ll start with how you can protect yourself against the “bad seeds” of freelancing and get the most bang for your buck!

1 – Check The Portfolio

When you post a job ad on a site like Elance or PeoplePerHour or even Craigslist, you’re going to get multiple pitches with multiple prices. At the risk of sounding seedy, I must stress that price isn’t everything. When it comes down to it, you want someone who does the job and does it right, and a great way to determine your perfect candidate is to look at their portfolio.

Every freelancer should have a portfolio or samples of their work available somehow; don’t be afraid to ask them (though I’d stay away from asking them for work specific to the job as that just sets off red flags – at least for me personally).

If the freelancer doesn’t have a portfolio, that might indicate a problem, and it’s probably best to skip them over.

2. Don’t fall for hype

I used to work in insurance and if there’s one thing that short period of time taught me, it’s that I did not at that time have a salesman’s bone in my body. I couldn’t sell my way out of a paper bag. I’m not sure what situation would call me to sell myself out of a paper bag, but that’s beside the point.

When I started freelancing, I feel I’ve better developed my selling skills, but they’re still on the softer side. There are some freelancers who are really good at hyping themselves to make them sound like they were heaven-sent to do the job at hand.

Be cautious when freelancers appear to be hyping themselves a bit too much. Always look beyond the marketing, such as taking time to check out their portfolio, customer reviews and so forth.

3. Consider your after-interview thoughts

More often than not, when I’m contacted after I send a job proposal, the client wants to interview me via phone, Skype or through some other online medium. I think that’s great; the customer wants to get to know me, my attitudes and how I operate. Perhaps this is the sign of a potential long-term investment.

Robert S. Warren, a freelance writer and editor, tells freelance clients “Always interview, and if your head feels clearer after discussing your project with the copywriter (or insert any freelance position name here), that’s a good sign.

Warren goes on to say that if the writer understands the project at hand and you two appear to be speaking the same language, it means the writer or freelancer has your needs in mind. If they can communicate well with you, they can give you what you need.

4. Remember – CPP

Paul Furiga, CEO of WordWrite, There are three attributes he considers non-negotiable when it comes to hiring freelance writers: Curiosity, promptness and proficiency.

Your freelancer should want to know all there is to know about your company and what you’re looking to accomplish with your project. You don’t want a “know-it-all.” Secondly, your freelancer should be able to complete their work on deadline; that’s pretty much common sense. And thirdly, proficiency – if you come across proposals with typos, spelling errors and other technical errors, skip them.

Do you have any advice for clients looking to hire freelancers? Discuss in the comments below! 

And if you’re looking for a professional freelance writer, why not give me a shot? You can find samples of my professional work here

Happy Freelancing, and I’ll talk to you next week!


– Adam



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