Is it profitable to work as a freelancer?
When choosing a career path as an editor, at some point the question arises: what form of employment to choose? In the previous part of the series "How to become an editor?" we presented the advantages and disadvantages of full-time and freelance work. While the first of the discussed forms is characterized by relative stability and calmness, freelancing requires from the editor not only self-discipline, but also the need to search for orders on his own. This involves the risk of uncertainty - there will be months when we will not be able to take a break from new projects, and at other times, despite our best efforts, our inbox will be empty.
On the one hand, choosing the freelance path is good for beginning editors as a way to earn enough money to earn a proper salary. However, when we make a name for ourselves, it can be a more profitable form of cooperation than full-time work. Finding a permanent database of contacts, regularly appearing orders and the ability to independently dictate rates is a luxury that still few editors in our country can afford. Let's assume, however, that we value independence and are not afraid of new challenges. When deciding on the freelancer path, keep in mind that we will not always sleep peacefully, and there are many more pitfalls on the way that can additionally demotivate you to action. Below we will try to answer the question: is it worth working as a freelancer? We will pay special attention to the most important issues that should be mastered to perfection before the start in order to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.
How to search for jobs as a freelancer?
The rules of searching for jobs as an editor in remote mode generally do not differ significantly from those relating to other forms of cooperation. First, find an interesting job - through job sites or on the official website of the editorial office you are interested in - and then be well prepared for the topic.Construct a unique CV, cover letter and text samples, read the history of the company and the products or services offered, and then send a complete set of documents, remembering to wait patiently for a response - the optimal solution seems to wait max. 14 working days - after this date, you can contact us (preferably by phone). We have presented the process of preparing for the submission of application documents in detail in the previous parts of the cycle.
Job offers for freelancers, as a rule, do not differ from those addressed to people for positions in the stationary editorial office. There are, however, some important differences that are worth paying attention to. The selected offer is most often specified, whether it is remote work or not, in a special tab added to each advertisement on the website. If the job offer does not include information about work in the office on the basis of an employment contract, it is most likely a contract of mandate / work for freelancers.
At this point, it is worth watching out for one trap, which also applies to people looking for an eight-hour job under a contract of employment.
If the advertisement includes the information "full-time job", it does not always mean that the employer is planning to hire a candidate for an employment contract. If it is not clearly stated in the offer, in most cases it is a contract of mandate or a contract for a specific task, while the work is performed in the editorial office in an eight-hour mode from Monday to Friday.
If you contact the selected editorial office located, for example, at the other end of the country, and it initially expresses an interest in cooperation, there should be no doubts as to the form of future cooperation. At this stage, unfortunately, there are further ambiguities, related primarily to the contract and the method of settlement. How to prepare to agree these issues with the client?
Freelancer editor and the matter of the contract
In the case of an employment contract, the matter is simple. We are accepted, sign a contract, and then we are sure that the employer will regularly pay us remuneration - failure to comply with the deadlines has serious legal consequences and virtually no company tries to undermine this issue. On the other hand, working as a freelancer exempts the client not only from the obligatory social security contributions. In the case of a mandate contract, the deadlines are not so strictly adhered to. Of course, this does not have to be a rule if we work with the selected company for a long time, but it is worth highlighting a few important points in the contract at the beginning of the cooperation. It is important that the final payment date is specified - e.g. 7-14 business days from the date of delivery of the order / work.
"Pursuant to Art. 744 of the Civil Code, in the case of a paid order, remuneration is due to the receiving party only after the order has been performed, unless otherwise provided for in the contract or specific provisions."
If the contract specifies the exact rate for individual texts, a specific payment date, and the client's signature, there should be no formal problems during the settlement. Unfortunately, there are many offers aimed at using the fruits of our work without the slightest chance to start cooperation. Avoid announcements in which the employer asks for text samples, without mentioning that he will not use them for the purposes of his project. It may happen that we send a few valuable articles - just like 100 other people - and then we will not receive a reply. This is a clear signal that we have fallen victim to extortion, and we will not be able to do anything about it. The employer will receive a large number of valuable texts for free, which he can use for his own purposes, because we have unknowingly consented to it.
"Pursuant to Art. 65 of the Act of February 4, 1994 on Copyright and Related Rights (uniform text: Journal of Laws of 2006, No. 90, item 631), in the absence of an explicit provision on the transfer of rights, it is concluded that the author granted license ".
Such cases may be even more suspicious when the advertisement clearly states that you want to use the texts for your own purposes, and the job offer is anonymous. At this point, it is worth paying special attention to websites such as Gumtree and the Board - unlike websites created solely for publishing job offers, we will find there a large number of offers from private individuals who are only looking for opportunities to earn at our expense. Of course, not all offers are necessarily fraudulent, but it is advisable to look more closely at similar ads.
This is not the only trap that freelance editors may encounter before starting their collaboration. There are attractively presented offers that do not raise any doubts at the beginning. The client is interested in permanent cooperation, he liked the samples of our work, we know the name of the company and everything is buttoned up. Soon it turns out that we are asked to write a few more test texts before receiving the signed contract, because there is a lot of competition for this position or due to the development of services, the payment will be possible from next month. In the event that previously agreed conditions are changed unexpectedly, our would-be business partner makes it clear that he is not taking us seriously. There is no point in thinking any longer and it's best to give up further cooperation.
How to avoid similar misunderstandings before signing the contract?
Before you send a reply to the advertisement, check your potential client on the web. For this purpose, you can go to the official website, profile on a social network, and read the opinions of satisfied - or not - colleagues. The Goldenline portal or the LinkedIn portal associating employees and employers are an ideal place for this purpose. If a company has evidently fallen into a larger group of people, you can be sure that through this website we will find out about it. Also pay attention to the contract and every detail - in some time there was a case where a bank account number appeared on the prepared contract, belonging not to the persons taking the order, but to the ordering party. It is not difficult to guess that some people did not notice the difference because they paid attention to other points regarding the contract. In case of ambiguity, contact the employer - if he is open to changes or corrections, then do not worry. However, when there are translations or a delay in answering, it is likely that the cooperation will not turn out as expected.
Working as an editor is not all roses, even when we follow the path of a "freelance". By following the above tips, however, you can save a lot of time and nerves - the ground not to get carried away by the moment and carefully analyze all elements: starting from the employer, opinions about him, through the type of contract, to its individual provisions. Only in this way can remote work as an editor bring not only growing influence, but also relative peace and motivation to continue working. Answering the question posed in the introduction: it is worth working as a freelancer, but it requires appropriate experience, self-discipline and awareness of the emergence of a large number of orders - if any of these points raises doubts, then perhaps it is worth treating remote work as a form of earning extra money while working on full-time.