For the past several years, I’ve been working full time as a freelance copywriter. On many occasions, I’ve picked up new clients who turned to me after having an awful experience with another freelancer. Understandably, they need me to assure them that I’m different and that not all freelance copywriters are a disaster to work with.
The simple fact is that there are good freelance copywriters and bad freelance copywriters. It’s just like any other industry. Before you hire one, you have to do your homework to make sure you’re doing business with a reputable individual.
Oftentimes, these poor experiences could have been avoided if the client had been able to spot the following red flags.
Red Flag #1: The copywriter doesn’t have any samples to show you
Look, we all have to start somewhere. I get that. But before you hire any copywriter, you have to make sure he or she can actually write. You don’t want to throw away your money on someone who just isn’t cut out for the project.
A good copywriter will be able to show you examples of past work. If the freelancer can’t show you any prior work they have done, you’re better off looking for someone with more experience.
Red Flag #2: The copywriter doesn’t have any testimonials or positive reviews
If a freelancer has satisfied clients, you’ll know. As a freelancer, I’m always looking to collect testimonials from my clients, and I display some of them on my website. There are also some reviews on my LinkedIn page. Other freelancers who participate on Elance should have reviews on their profiles that you can look at.
So, if a copywriter is unable to present you with any recommendations from past clients, that’s a red flag worth paying attention to. It’s either a sign of inexperience, or it means that they do subpar work.
Red Flag #3: The copywriter is slow to respond to emails
Communication is key when dealing with freelancers. You’re working with someone who might be located across the country or even across the world. You need to be able to communicate with them effectively if you want your project to be successful.
If a freelancer is slow to respond to emails, it’s a sign that they’ll drag their feet on your project. On business days, I typically have my email open all day, and I respond to emails very shortly after they come in. Heck, I even respond to emails at night and on the weekends from my phone.
I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back. My point is that you want someone who will be on the ball; not someone who you have to constantly try to chase down.
Red Flag #4: The copywriter’s bids are too low
Look, we all want to get a good deal. Nobody wants to spend more on a freelancer than is absolutely necessary, but there is such a thing as paying too little. Remember, you get what you pay for. Do you really think a talented, reputable copywriter is going to work for pennies? Of course not.
When a copywriter sends you a lowball quote, chances are that they do low quality work. Save yourself the headache, and spend a little more to get the job done right the first time.
Have you had any bad experiences with freelancers? What did you learn?