How to Not Get Scammed on Freelancer.com
A Cautionary Tale on Freelancing
Back from my experience in Las Vegas and I have a little story to share. If you have broken into the freelancing business and are frustrated that you haven’t landed many clients, (maybe on a site like Freelancer.com) this article is to ensure you don’t fall prey to one of the many scammers that patrol these sites like freelancer.com for example!
Quitting your job that you hate may seem tempting when you hear about how many people make their living freelancing. It seems like there’s a secret world that you’ve broken into and where you can seemingly make money enough to support yourself without bothering with the 9-5 grind. While this is certainly possible for many people to achieve if they apply themselves diligently to sites like Upwork.com, there are sites and particularly one site I would caution you to avoid.
Here’s the video I just shot on the subject! 😉
Freelancer.com was a site that I was initially drawn to because I was looking for all the sites where I could possibly make an income to support myself using my English writing skills to create value for others. I was hardly able to get anywhere with freelancer.com despite having a profile at 100% with verified identity, payment information, and clearly stating my skill set.
I was contacted on the site after bidding on a particular project to write articles. The job was advertised to pay $15.00 an hour with a 40 hour maximum. I was over the moon because this was my answer to my jobless situation!
Or so I thought… The user TorBend contacted me on the site and offered me his project, although he did say in his job description “No Milestone payments.” All the work would be paid through the freelancer.com invoicing and deposited into my account on Wednesday the following week.
I downloaded the app that tracked my hours and began to work for this client… I should have checked his profile a little more carefully because he did not have any of the following requirements that I now screen all my clients for:
- No Feedback Given: This is the main one to look out for…No past history to show me he had worked with other freelancers and had treated them well.
- An Empty Profile: No profile picture, no description of who this person was, and any information for the freelancer to learn more about their client.
- Refusing a Milestone Payment: Another huge red flag, especially since Freelancer.com doesn’t offer escrow on their site (unlike the more legit Upwork.com) So there’s a lot less protection on freelancer.com; in fact your screwed if your client decides to not pay their invoice.
So after that first week of writing articles for this scammer, I became suspicious that I wouldn’t be paid, and I mean why not? It all seemed to good to be true! Not that the job itself was unreasonable to envision someone doing, just the way I was approached left an unsavory taste in my mouth. More on the types of shenanigans that happened on this site here.
I wanted it to work out, to the extent that I left my Real Social Dynamics seminar in Las Vegas on the back burner just so I could give this client the best service possible. Talk about going the extra mile needlessly.
I realized that I was working really hard, giving my gift and serving someone who only wanted to take advantage of me and my services. There’s no point in getting bitter about it, and there’s no good in blaming anyone about it.
I learned a lot in that experience, and how to screen clients carefully. It’s a seller’s market although you may hear the opposite from people. I can choose who i give my services to, and if something doesn’t feel right I will leave quickly.
The lesson here is that many people would assume that I was the victim in this situation…it would seemingly appear that way. I have different perspective on the matter however.
People who take value are dooming themselves in the long run. You can steal from people all day long, it wont change the fact that you are coming from scarcity. You can steal someones work and make money off of their ingenuity, but no matter how much you make in the long run you wont be satisfied. You wont value the money that comes from your thievery.
I used to steal. Downloading torrents off the internet. Stealing music from download sites, and yes I enjoyed hearing the music for free. But then the song would end and I would need another song. and another. and another. It never ended.
(my one stop shop for piracy…years ago) and also this one too!!!
On the other hand, if I went out and bought something with my own money, I was a lot more invested in my purchase so I was consciously monitoring my experience. I was much more aware of the value I was getting from my purchase, instead of just taking it for granted.
The whole experience taught me that nothing worthwhile comes without some sort of a price. There’s always a price to pay for something of value. You can cheat the system and fix the symptoms of whatever you’re trying to deal with. If you feel bored you can steal movies, music, or information on the internet downloading it. Once the fun stops though…guess what? You’re still where you were when you stole. Nothing has changed.
You have to realize that you can’t cheat the system by trying to get ahead through trickery and deception. It can surely happen and many might argue that yes you can steal whatever you want and keep the ride going without having to stop to feel anything unpleasant. That is not the kind of life I want to live though and most people deep down don’t want to live that way either.
Getting Better not Bitter
So again the main lesson to extract from this little cautionary tale is simple. Just make sure you know who you’re working with and be clear about getting paid through the milestone system that is setup for your protection. Scammers should be easy to spot and mostly it is, so with a little discernment you can weed out the bad apples from the bunch.
Freelancing is really quite an exciting and amazing way to make money without having to go to the office and work 9-5. Make no mistake though, freelancing is hard work. Thinking for yourself and learning to deal with the challenges that arise are rewarding experiences that teach you a lot about yourself. I was able to improve my writing and researching skills in the process of working for this guy and now I have a much more developed skill set than i had previously.
I ended up writing a ton of articles for this fake service, but i did end up finding some cool things on Amazon that I never knew existed. like I wrote about this cool speaker/music player the Echo with built in Alexa, that I am going to recommend you check out, if you’re in the market for a new speaker.
Happy freelancing my friends, and I’ll see you in the next article!