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5 Quick Questions for Writers to Ask Before Accepting a New Freelance Writing Gig

Updated on March 27, 2015

Don't be scared to ask questions before accepting a freelance writing gig.

Most freelance writers, whether they write for Demand Studios or a plethora of private high-paying clients, spend a good portion of each day hunting for the best freelance writing gigs. Freelance work is never guaranteed, and nobody wants to be left with an eviction notice or a lack of electricity at the end of the month.

It's good to apply for new writing jobs, but be careful when you decide to take on a new client. Whether you're working for a local business or completing work for a random company you found on Craigslist, it's important to know what you're getting yourself into. Before you legally commit to a project, make sure that you bring up some - or all - of the questions below.

When will I be paid for my freelance writing?

Don’t just ask how much you’ll make for your writing gig – find out when you’ll be paid for your brilliant words. Don’t accept vague answers like “I pay fast upon acceptance”. Clients have different ideas of fast. In fact, it once took me 6 months to get paid “fast” for some freelance work that I did. I’ll never work for that company again.

How will I be paid for my work?

These days, most companies pay freelance writers via PayPal or company check. However, there are still a few companies out there that use other random forms of payment, such as gift cards or preloaded debit cards. If you're expecting real funds - not points or gift cards - that you can send to your landlord or the cable company, it's wise to make sure that's what you're actually going to get.

When is my work due?

Clients have different ideas about what it means to pay writers quickly, and they also mean different things when they say stuff like “no rush”, “take your time”, and “whenever you get to it”. Request an exact due date, and get it in writing. It’s a good idea to have all clients sign a project agreement that you’ve created, but more on that another day.

Will I receive credit for my work, or am I ghostwriting?

If you’re new to freelance writing, you may not realize that many writers don’t get credit for their work. There are several doctors, lawyers, and financial analysts out there right now with creative blog posts written by them. Next time you read an article “personally written” by a professional, accept the fact that half of the time, somebody else wrote it.

One time, I even wrote a landing page for a company that sold copywriting services. I found that fairly amusing.

But enough about me – let’s talk about you.

No, really – let’s talk about you. If you aren’t ghostwriting, you deserve a byline and maybe even a brief freelance writer bio. Use your bio to describe your talents and experience, as well as link to your personal site (if you don’t have one, get one).

Why are a byline and a freelance writer bio important? Well, besides the fact that you deserve them, they let potential clients know how to find you. It's always nice to let clients come to you rather than spending several hours a week hunting them down.

Just make sure you remember to ask the questions above when a new client approaches you. I’d hate to see you get scammed.

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