You made the leap of faith of becoming a full-time freelance writer and are pitching pieces left and right hoping someone bites.
Seasoned freelancers know their niche, how and who to pitch, but beginners may feel a bit lost and not know where to get started.
While putting yourself out there is great, there are also security risks involved when handing a complere stranger your bio, email address, and creating a payment portal between you and a company.
Here are ways to ensure your freelance safety and pitch with ease like a pro.
1. Do business via websites meant for freelancers
While writing gigs can be found almost anywhere, even social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, sometimes the best approach is to keep your job search to secure freelancing websites.
Upwork tends to be the go-to freelancing portal for both employers and freelancers.
You can easily set up your own freelancer page including your niche, past work experience and rate of pay. This then allows you to search for work.
Upwork allows you, as the freelancer, to also see how many other freelancers made a proposal on a client’s project, the rate of pay, and if their payment method is verified. To ebb on the side of caution, it’s a best practice to work with employers who are verified and have high ratings and a few reviews from other freelancers who have worked with them.
Beyond Upwork, Guru is the other site in which freelancers can visit for work. Just like Upwork, Guru has a checks and balances system for both employers and freelancers to see their reviews and past work.
2. Use a virtual private network
Freelance writing makes it so you always have a bio floating around the internet for anyone who reads your posts to click on and see.
Beyond giving away a little two-sentence bit about yourself, it seems like a very vague way to express who you are. Who can find you based on the fact that you like lattes and love to travel?
Well, they may not be able to find you from that, but someone digitally savvy enough could track the IP address your work comes from. This is where a little cyber security on your end can let you pitch in peace.
A virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN, has the ability to encrypt your internet traffic or go into Incognito Mode like on Chrome’s browser.
This allows writers to feel a bit safer about putting their work out there because no one can hack your work and gather your IP address.
3. Keep your information safe
Backtracking to the former statement about using an online freelancing platform, you should also keep your information safe.
Upwork files your bank information through them, as do other platforms so that the employer does not see any private details on their end.
Employers should never ask you to simply send personal information such as bank routing numbers or your social security information via an email or phone call to properly pay you for your work.
If this does occur, then following your gut may be the best practice and cutting ties with this employer is worth more than the pay in which they were offering. There will always be other writing opportunities without the fear of identity theft.
4. Use plagiarism technology to your advantage
You wrote an article and you have rights to it — unless you just wrote something someone else said.
Now, many people are given the same information so it is possible to have multiple variations of the same story, but that is far different that blatant plagiarism.
Luckily, technology steps in and saves the day. There are now many different types of plagiarism software out there like Grammarly that can ensure you are not re-writing an article too closely to something already published.
Just like you wouldn’t want someone to take your work, you don’t want to do the same for someone else. It’s important to protect your reputation.
Freelance writing can be a very rewarding career, but it is best to impose these safety best practices early on to keep your information, identity and reputations safe for a successful future in writing.
Have other tips for keeping your freelance writing career safe? Leave them in the comments below.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!