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Be A Wise Freelancer

Updated on March 26, 2016

They are called freelancers;

Why do I have to pay them?

Greg's Elance profile
Greg's Elance profile | Source

As an established freelancer, I have come to find that there are some clients that have the same thought pattern as the above statement.

So who came up with the term freelance?

It is interesting to know that in the 14th and 15th centuries, knights would sell themselves to a kingdom that would pay them the most money. When 19th century journalists wrote about these knights, they called them freelancers, and that term has stuck for anyone who works on an independent basis.

The free part means the skilled individual does not have allegiance to any one source. In most cases, freelancers are so talented that they get paid high wages; a perfect example is a free agent in baseball. Baseball's free agents are not free; many make several million dollars.

I freelance articles, blog comments, website content, press releases, white papers, e-books, and more. I do this thru several website agents. Some of those are:

I have been writing in this fashion for quite some time, as well as writing and publishing books. You can find all of those at:


All in all, the work seems to becoming more steady, and I have essentially had no problems or issues, until....

A Wonderful Update

.The battle was won, and I received payment for the job.

I am leaving this hub minus these articles as they are his now that he has paid.

There is justice for freelancers, and I want to give a big thanks to Elance dispute resolution for seeing the truth and getting my pay for me.

That One Client

I received an invitation to bid on a job through Elance. This is how the job proposal read:

"We are looking for a talented person that has the ability to rewrite our website content to improve on conveying our services and capabilities to the potential client/viewer.

Job Description:
We are seeking to work with someone experienced in writing website content to educate the potential client about our services on our website. We need to effectively communicate to our website viewer the services we offer and how it will benefits their organization.

Document Type:
Website Content, Company Brochure

Desired Length:
20 pages of Website content
7 pages of Brochure content

Content Writing, Copywriting, Marketing Writing"

I jumped at this and actually bid slightly lower than my average pay of $28 per hour. I won the job. Due to the fact it was an hourly job, as the freelancer, I must use a special hourly tracker application that screenshots my work at random moments when I am clocked in on jobs.

As I had never had any issues with clients paying, I assumed this client would pay also. We worked through Skype where he sent article requests and I wrote.

As the freelancer, I billed every Sunday, and since I started late in the week, the first bill was for only 6 hours. I sent it and kept working, but I then noticed the client's profile had disappeared from Elance. I questioned him and Elance. At this point, I had written a total of 33 articles for this client who was listed as being in Canada.

The client said he was just having a dispute through Elance, and as I was getting ready to write another article, I received an email from Elance telling me I should stop all work and file a dispute against this client.

To make a log story short, it is now in a major dispute. He owes me $300 and has not paid anything.

I have asserted my copyright on these articles. I believe this client has sold them to other people, but the fact is: until I am paid, these are my articles. You can see some of them, as I have made them hubs in this battle of making sure my copyright is asserted until paid. As a matter of fact, here is one of the shorter articles at the right.

Protect Yourself

Here are some simple words of advice if you are a freelancer of any kind:

Get a down payment or escrow. I did not do this on this job. Normally, when I take a job on Elance, the money is put in escrow.

Check the history of the client. I looked at the client's profile and all that was stated was his payment method was verified. The client had never utilized Elance before. I should have asked for more information so I could check him out closer.

Protect your copyright. I highly recommend that you assert that the copyright is not turned over to the client until you are paid. By working through the sites I have listed above, this is known by the clients upon posting jobs. I have had just a few articles not accepted via Zerys, and I have re-purposed them in different locations. All articles I have written in Textbrokers have been accepted, and I have been paid for them. Those copyrights have been turned over and are no longer mine. This is the first time I have had an issue in Elance, and as you can see, I am asserting my copyright.

There will be scammers, crooks and thieves

The world is full of them. Stores get shoplifted from daily. Banks are robbed. People get mugged; there will be someone that will try to scam, or rob you through you freelancing work sooner or later.

Am I angry?

I was, but I also put some of the blame on myself. I should have checked him out closer.

Will I ever get paid?

I am unsure. With it in dispute, I hope to. If I do get paid, I will delete all the articles I have put online that were written for this guy. I hope that the fact that he has a verified payment, Elance can force the issue. They are, after all, losing money in this situation too.

I am going to go ahead and put one more of the articles here.

By doing so, if he has sold any of these articles, when checked in Copyscape, they will come out as duplicate content. When the person asks me, I will tell them the truth. This guy will have problems not only from Elance and myself, but also from the places he sold content that wasn't his.

This image is in the public domain in the United States
This image is in the public domain in the United States | Source


I hope you never face this problem in your freelancing work.

Do everything in your power to protect yourself.

Let the client know that freelancing isn't free and assert your copyright until you are paid. No matter if you are a writer, a graphic artist, in translation, or any other area of freelance, realize there are those who will attempt to take your content for free.

As for a copyright, this is the essential law:

Copyright in the United States automatically attaches upon the creation of an original work of authorship.

As long as you can prove you are the original author, unless you gave or sold the copyright, it is yours.

By entering those articles in Elance, I showed myself being the author. It is documented that I have not been paid for those works, so.....

Just learn and protect yourself. It happened to me....It can happen to you.

New technologies will always demand and deserve careful navigation and difficult readjustments. But the weakening or de facto abolition of copyright will not merely roil the seas, it will drain them dry. Those who would pirate what you produce have developed an elaborate sophistry to convince you that they are your victim. They aren't. Fight back.

— Mark Helprin

© 2015 Greg Boudonck


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    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from In Nebraska After Hurricane Maria

      Thank you Stacie. Yes, it is scary, but if we follow the right path, we can win.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from In Nebraska After Hurricane Maria

      Thank you Stacie. Yes, it is scary, but if we follow the right path, we can win.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from In Nebraska After Hurricane Maria

      Thank you Stacie. Yes, it is scary, but if we follow the right path, we can win.

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 2 years ago

      Good tips from an experience freelancer. It's a scary world out there...

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from In Nebraska After Hurricane Maria

      Thank you, but did win, and he did have to pay.

    • ThatMommyBlogger profile image

      Missy 2 years ago from The Midwest

      I've been scammed on oDesk before. I try to keep these tips in mind before I accept a project (anywhere, not just on oDesk):

      Sorry you have to deal with this. I can't stand when people rip off freelancers.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from In Nebraska After Hurricane Maria

      Thanks as always Bill. Is there any added advice you can give sir?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's only happened to me once, and it wasn't for a lot of money, but it was enough to teach me a valuable lesson. Right on with this one, Greg, but that comes as no surprise to me. :)