This is the article I wish I had found when I started out. I had read a million blogs by other writers and I had my handy copy of The Writers Digest, but I couldn’t find any information on what I was supposed to do once I actually got an assignment.
I would like to share with you some information that will hopefully ease your mind and prepare you for that big moment.
My first request to write an article came last summer. I had an opportunity from a financial company to write financial blog posts for the many companies this marketing firm represented. I was thrilled and scared at the same time. My biggest fear was that I didn’t know anything about finance. My second fear was how would I get paid?
I ended up writing one article and sending it in. The company who had offered me the assignment was happy with the content, but wanted me to edit it down to 300 words. I dreaded writing anything more, because I honestly had no idea what I was really writing about. I couldn’t tell if the article made sense because my background is just not in finance. I bit the bullet and wrote to the company explaining that I just felt this wasn’t a good fit since I didn’t have a background in this area. They were disappointed that I was giving up, but understood why.
Since then, I have written for many companies that are a much better fit. I have learned that you should write about what you know or can easily figure out. If the subject matter is too far off the beaten track of your knowledge, you aren’t going to be proud of what you are delivering. I didn’t want my name on an article that sounded amateurish.
So, let’s say that you have an assignment and you are confident in what you will be writing. The next questions you will probably ask yourself are how do I get paid? Will I have to give out personal information? Do I have to use an invoice to bill them? Can I trust that I will see the money once I write the article?
These are the questions I was asking myself. It was so overwhelming to not know what to expect, it almost stopped me dead in my tracks. I am here to ease your mind so that you can get through a tough moment like this.
First of all, you don’t need to pass along any personal information. Don’t worry about giving up a social security number. The only way that would ever happen is if you were working for that company as an employee who was writing regularly, like for a newspaper for instance.
The best way I have found to get paid is through PayPal. Anyone can set up a PayPal account. I have never found a company that wasn’t willing to pay in this manner. The best parts about using this system are: 1. You don’t have to worry about a check bouncing or being lost in the mail, and 2. PayPal uses an invoice when billing the company so you don’t have to worry about generating one.
Of course there are companies that might prefer to write a check, but if at all possible, see if PayPal will work for them. You do need to know that PayPal will take 2% of the profits, but I feel it’s still worth not giving out an address or other personal information. Plus, like I said, you don’t have to worry about creating an invoice.
Finally, the other question that you might have is will I get paid? The answer is hopefully, yes. Unfortunately, there will be people out there who will take advantage and won’t pay you after you worked so hard to write a good article.
My best advice is to only write one article at a time and them insist on payment, at least until you feel you can trust the company to pay you. Losing money on one article is a lot easier to swallow instead of having written a bundle of articles and then getting stiffed.
When you agree to write for a company, you will also want these questions answered:
1. What is the deadline for the article?
2. How quickly will I hear back if an article needs to be edited?
3. How many words should the article be (generally I have seen 300-500 words) ?
4. How long will it take before I hear if the article has been accepted?
5. How soon after the article is published will I be waiting before I get paid?
I hope these tips help you out and ease your mind. If you have any questions I haven’t covered, please feel free to ask in the comment section. I will do my best to answer whatever is on your mind. If I don’t have an answer, I will say so.
All the best, and I wish you much success. 🙂
Check out these great articles on this subject at The Renegade Writer and Editorials Freelance Association. Links are below.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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