How Come Freelancers Get Trampled all Over

Posted: September 7, 2012 in anarchy, featured
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I have been working as a freelance writer for quite some time now.  Being a freelancer is like being in limbo.  You work for yourself, technically, but you actually work for other people since they are the ones giving you jobs to complete.  I have lost a number of clients now that I used to work for because of the way they treated me, and it seems that I am not the only freelancer in the world who is in this situation.  So what is actually going wrong?  Why do I feel so hard done by?

How a Freelancer Works

Basically, I scour the internet for jobs.  I write articles and am involved in copywriting (there is a slight difference).  I charge or get offered a certain price for a job, which I choose to accept.  Then, I complete the job and invoice my client.  And this is where it becomes tricky.  You see, it seems other clients think there is nothing wrong with not paying me, or paying me very late.  There are a number of examples that I am going to go into.

The Case of the Indian Translation

A while ago, I did a translation for an Indian company.  It seemed a bit fishy, since the company used a gmail address rather than their own company email address.  However, the translation was for a large insurance firm in Belgium and I felt this made the whole issue trustworthy.  I worked my ass off on that translation.  It was an absolute nightmare working with banking, insurance and mortgage terminology, but I got it finished.  Phew, I thought, now I just have to wait for my $2,000 to come in, which should have been with me in 21 days.  After six months, I got sick of waiting and took it upon myself to simply contact the insurance company in Belgium.  Naturally, they were outraged and passed me on to the company they had outsourced to.  This company had outsourced to the Indian client , who had in turn outsourced to me and pocketed the money.  He finally phoned me after receiving very angry telephone calls from his own client and explained that the money had been spent.  I had to make do with a payment of $600, which I suppose is better than nothing.

The Case of A Copywriting Company

Oh dear, the copywriting company…  If you ever require a copywriting service, do your research first.  They deliver fantastic quality stuff but that is not because they are good at what they do, it is because they have good writers.  I know a few copywriters, so if you want to have quality copywriting, contact me and I will speak to them.  Let me tell you how some copywriting companies treat their outsourcers.

Now, often, they will attract you with a huge dangling carrot of a massive pay per article.  More than you will get anywhere else, basically.  You will first write a test article for them.  Mine was about a prime minister being the head of all the zombies trying to take over the world.  They loved it!  I was a “great”, one of the first to have their test blog placed on their website straight away, bla bla bla…  Once they’ve got you, regular work starts streaming in.  It’s all interesting stuff because it’s copywriting.  But then you start noticing that they haven’t paid you yet.  The money builds up and up as they pay little titbits every once in a while, but send you more work than what they have paid off.  At one point, they owed me nearly £2,000.  Fucktwats right?  But it gets worse!

Suddenly, work started to slow down.  I asked what was up and was given one excuse after the other.  I was emailing them constantly for my money as well, because they made a big show of telling everybody they had moved office, hired more writers and even hired an accountant.  So there’s money for that, but not for the writers then?

Eventually, they could hide from me no longer.  It appeared that my writing was “too controversial” and could not be used.  Fuck yeah it’s controversial, the first thing you posted was an article I wrote saying the prime minister was the king zombie for crying out loud!   But it gets better.  Every time you write an article, you get an email back saying the content of your work is “amazing”, “fantastic”, “your best work yet”.  So, if you’ve read my stuff (particularly when I told them a few times that they may want to read this first), how can you then tell me it’s too controversial?

I remained reasonably friendly and very professional until I was told that I had a lousy attitude and I was a racist.  Further proof, clearly, that they didn’t read a word of what I said.  I have been “sacked” for a few weeks now and am still awaiting a payment of £20.  I’m going to keep bugging them for this on a weekly basis.  I may be a freelancer, but I deserve to get paid.  This is my livelihood, not something I do for fun whilst the kids are at school!

In Conclusion

In conclusion, are copywriting companies the root of all evil?  No, not really  Unfortunately, there are many, many copywriting companies who simply want to rake in the money and fuck over the staff that are actually earning them their crust.  For god’s sake, stand up for your rights!  You’ve worked, you deserve to get paid for it!


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