This is a guest post by Ambika Choudhary Mahajan.
My worst experience as a freelance writer left a real bad taste in the mouth! More so, because ‘wrong’ things happened to me for no fault of mine!
As a freelance writer, I took up writing assignments on various freelancing sites at the beginning of my career. I worked at odesk, guru.com, iFreelance, ScriptLance, Elance and many other freelancing sites. I also got paid for writing some blogs at sites like blogger.com (undoubtedly, one of the best platforms), b5media, SocialSpark, ReviewMe, Flixya and Sponzai.
Out of all these sites I have tried and worked for, my worst experience came from this particular site which I would not like to name here.
I am sharing my terrible experience with you here because I would not want any fellow freelance writers to be duped of their hard earned money or be taken for a ride at any of such sites.
So please friends, learn from the mistakes I made and be more careful in future.
To begin with, this site I’m talking of does not allow freelancers to withdraw amounts less than $40 from their account.
Further, they deduct their commission from the freelancer’s account at the time of awarding him the project. The commission is $5 for projects upto $250 (I am not too sure about that now, since I stopped working for them long back). And $25 for projects involving $250-$800.
Supposing, I have $50 lying in my account with the site and my bid for a $30 project gets accepted. $5 will get deducted from my balance the moment my bid gets accepted. Similarly, if the amount of project awarded is $300, the amount deducted would be $25.
When I worked at this site, my career as a freelance writer was just getting started, and I was willing to take up small assignments also- hoping that would help improve my ratings at that particular site and thus eventually help me bag more orders (perhaps, bigger ones also) from the site concerned. I did a couple of orders for them for $30 and $40 each.
How they cheated me?
After having completed 3- 4 projects at the site, I had about $160 lying in my account. I withdrew $80 and left $80 in my account because I simply did not need the money. How I regret not having withdrawn the entire amount at that time!
Soon thereafter, my proposal for writing an eBook on male health supplements for $350 was accepted out of 33 proposals! I was thrilled because it was a lot of money from ONE single project! More so because I had just about started as a freelance writer and took it as a good omen, blissfully unaware of what lay is store for me! Also because I had been chosen to work on the project out of so many bidders- I thought I was finally getting my due.
$25 was deducted from my account immediately, and my balance fell to $55. I did not seem to mind that because I was waiting with bated breath to hear from the Norwegian who had floated the proposal for the book.
A week passed without any activity. The client just did not get into touch with me. Soon, a month passed. No news at all.
Meanwhile, another of my proposals submitted earlier for rewriting news for an Indian news agency for $400 also get accepted.
Another $25 gone.
My balance fell to $30.
I waited and waited but never got to heard from any of these two clients after almost 2 months also. I wrote to their “Dispute Redressal Cell” repeatedly but never got a reply.
The smartest thing, meanwhile, was that my balance had fallen to $30, and that was less than the minimum amount I could withdraw ($40).
As I had started getting lots of work from other, better sites, I had no more time to waste to pursue the matter. And I was too annoyed at having lost my hard earned money for no fault of mine to ever bid for any of their projects ever again.
I could only thank my stars for having already withdrawn $80. Who knows- they could have robbed me of that money as well if I had not withdrawn it in time??
This, till date, was my worst experience as a freelance writer.