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How Do I Protect My Writing IP?

As a freelancer, a lot of clients are unwilling to fully commit to the job. They create/ fund "test" milestones (a tiny percentage of the budget) where you're intended to send them a full outline of the work that you intend to do. Once that is done, they become unresponsive and leave you hanging while having access to your writing intellectual property. 

 

How can freelancers avoid this? Or at least be protected?

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feed_my_eyes
Member

I don't do "test" jobs at all - ever - I just refer clients to my portfolio. Because yes, they'll fund a tiny amount of the project and then you'll have to knock yourself out trying to impress them enough to hire you, which usually takes a lot longer than the token amount that they're willing to pay. There's also nothing to stop a client from breaking up a large job into smaller pieces, hiring everyone for a low-paid "test", then never hiring anyone for the bigger project at all (because it's already finished).

 

The other problem with test-happy clients who hire writers and designers (the ones who do intend to hire) is that they can't be bothered to actually go through the proposals, look at the portfolios and choose the right fit, and/or to supply a detailed brief and discuss the project; they just want to hire a bunch of people and then choose whatever catches their eye. So it's a gamble on your part - if they like somebody else's work better than yours (because you weren't able to read their minds and magically figure out what they wanted, or you weren't willing to spend 3-4 hours doing a $10 test), you'll end up with a bad review. 

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3 REPLIES 3

Upwork has guidelines how to proceed. They tell you to only submit the work that was covered by the milestone. If the client paid for your work, it belongs to him. 

feed_my_eyes
Member

I don't do "test" jobs at all - ever - I just refer clients to my portfolio. Because yes, they'll fund a tiny amount of the project and then you'll have to knock yourself out trying to impress them enough to hire you, which usually takes a lot longer than the token amount that they're willing to pay. There's also nothing to stop a client from breaking up a large job into smaller pieces, hiring everyone for a low-paid "test", then never hiring anyone for the bigger project at all (because it's already finished).

 

The other problem with test-happy clients who hire writers and designers (the ones who do intend to hire) is that they can't be bothered to actually go through the proposals, look at the portfolios and choose the right fit, and/or to supply a detailed brief and discuss the project; they just want to hire a bunch of people and then choose whatever catches their eye. So it's a gamble on your part - if they like somebody else's work better than yours (because you weren't able to read their minds and magically figure out what they wanted, or you weren't willing to spend 3-4 hours doing a $10 test), you'll end up with a bad review. 

Thank you for this. I feel like I have a better understanding of the situation. 

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