This is how wikipedia defines freelancing:
“A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term.”
Pay attention to the “free” in the word freelancing. Freelancing is -by definition- different than a regular desk/office job. You don’t have one boss, you don’t have set working hours. You don’t typically make the same income every month.
Unfortuntely, economy is almost always tough, and many employers in the marketplace have some unreasonable demands, or just demands that resemble more of the demands of a controlling office boss.
Below are some of these unreasonable, un-freelance-like demands that I run into often:
1. Hourly pays
Some employers want to pay you hourly. While it can make sense for some writers, most freelancers like to freelance because of the freedom.
Some jobs can take you 30 minutes and some can take 4 hours. When you are expected to bill in, your performance and motivation can dramatically decrease.
Of course if you manage to snatch a writing job that pays $500/hour, by all means please take it. I know I would.
But jobs that pay $10/hour? Thanks, but no, thanks.
2. Webcam on desktop turned on
There are freelance job sites (such as odesk) and employers who request that they can see you working. It is a very odd demand, as even your ex office boss didn’t probably have a chance to watch you directly, unless you worked in a very small office.
How can you concentrate or feel liberated when you know someone can observe you anytime? Yikes.
There are many bidding job sites, such as Elance, Guru, oDesk and more.
The concept on these sites is that an employer gives you his budget and you estimate how much your time should be worth. Then you make a bid at a common denominator.
But of course the employer will be likely to choose the writer that charges less, given that the credentials are equal. This doesn’t work in the favor of the writer as the cheapest most qualified writer tends to get the job. The only benefits here is obtained by the employer.
And since most projects don’t really involve impressive budgets, these bidding sites decrease the amount of money the writer is going to make.
4. No-pay jobs and Internships
The idea behind applying to a job is to make money. Some job posters do not disclose how much they are offering. And you quickly find out that this is mostly because they don’t intend to pay at all. Under the name of internship, recognition and work-experience, you are supposed to work for free. But who is going to pay for the bills?
5. Very low pay
Some businesses ask you to turn in about 10-20 articles a week. This is doable, unless you are expected to get $5 or less for each article. Then why would you do it? You could write whatever you wanted for user-generated content sites, and maybe earn even a little more, without being obliged to write about something you don’t have control over.
I am not defending content mills blindly, but I am really opposed to taking $5/article jobs. The lowest I ever went for was $10/500 words -on a topic I could write my eyes closed. Let me put it this way: I used to talk about these topics (my favorite bands) all the time when I was in high school. No one paid me then.
If an article is going to take you a lot of time, and it is not on a subject you’d write about even for free, even $20/500 words is low.
6. Low pay, but maximum quality requirements
Some companies do offer to pay you $1-5 per article, and moreover, they demand the quality of a $50-100 article. Yes, you heard right. This is not any more rational than a guy who demands a loyal wife while he wants to be allowed to sleep with whomever he wants. These are things that should never happen!
If noones takes these jobs, no matter how desperate they are, people won’t post it. If there is no supply, how can there be demand?
7. Only employing people from certain countries
Many employers have some specific location requirements. Of course being from New York would help if you are to write New York-related articles. But if you are going to write about universal topics, such as blog traffic tips, what difference does it make if you are in New Zealand and your employer lives in Japan?
8. Only hiring people of 5 years’ experience
Some jobs go very overboard with their requirements, such as demanding multiple years of experience. While experience is a bonus, not all jobs really require that much experience. Sometimes experience is wanted only for experience’s sake alone.
I mean, if you have 5 years of experience, chances are you are not applying to jobs to get clients. Clients are contacting to hire you.
9. Phone calls and face-to-face interviews
One of the most appealing things about freelancing in the 21st Century is that you can handle anything via an internet connection and a laptop.
However some editors like to treat their freelance writers as they are office-bound, or as if freelancers need to live nearby. While it might be helpful on some occasions, having to meet/see your employers is something you did frequently when you weren’t freelancing.
I’m not opposed to the occasional skype conferencing, but commuting to offices? It wouldn’t work unless you lived close to where the hiring company is located. Remember one of the most attractive things about freelancing versus office jobs: Eliminating commute!!!!
10. Revenue-sharing job ads
Many internet writers take advantage of revenue sharing sites such as Factoidz. I did. I actually still do. It is fun to get paid while I do article marketing and link-building.
However when I am searching for writing gigs, I don’t want to run into ads of a million sites who only pay according to your adsense earnings. There are already many websites that work in that fashion. If I were satisfied with their paychecks, I’d write for them only. After all, nothing hardly beats the freedom of writing about whatever you want.
11. Job ads of sites already famous for revenue sharing such as Hubpages and Suite 101
It might be a blessing for newbies to find out about as many revenue-sharing sites as they can but for a more seasoned web-writer, it becomes old and boring news. Because chances are you already checked out Hubpages or Suite 101 ages ago and you are either writing for them or you aren’t.
I really don’t want to see their ads on my favorite job-hunting sites!
What writing job requirements do you find against freelance nature? Do you agree with any of these 11 pet peeves of mine? What are yours?