Find Work, Avoid Scams, and Get Paid (on time is even better)

Paisley from Why Paisley sent me an e-mail yesterday, and asked me a couple of questions regarding freelancing and working from home, and I thought it would be a good idea to answer on here, as I think it’ll be interesting and useful to you freelancers. :)

Being a freelancer and working from home is cool, and you can definitely make a (more than decent) living freelancing. Of course, you want to do business with ethical and trustworthy people. Unfortunately, sometimes you end up working for a scammer. It happens, and it’s really ok, you can learn a lot from those experiences.

Paisley, and certainly many of you reading this, who are maybe just getting started, have the same apprehensions and concerns regarding the work-at-home industry, and you wanna make sure you don’t get screwed:

[…] there are so many scams and schemes in the work at home industry, I am afraid to look into any of them, as I fear I will meet a “stalker” entrepreneur along the way – Paisley, Why Paisley […]

How To Make Sure You’re “really” In Business

Before you take on your next gig/contract or join that next work-at-home opportunity, here are some things you might want to know, to make sure everything goes well, you get paid, and everyone is happy (including you).

  • Ask for references – If you’re about to sign a contract or start working on a project, it is really ok to ask for references. Who they hired before you? What company they did business with before? Then you can send an e-mail to those people, and politely ask some questions.
  • Do some research – The best tool for that would be Google (in my opinion). Employers will often google your name and try to find infos about you, and maybe take a look at your past work before hiring you. You can do the same.
  • Social/Business Networks – Try to find some infos about your next (temporary) employer by searching on sites like Linkedin, Ryze and others.
  • Keep track of EVERYTHING – E-mails, letters, contracts, basically you want to save a copy of everything, every single communication, except phone conversations (unless it is fine with both parties), but ask that everything that’s been discussed on the phone be sent by e-mail or fax.
  • What is he saying? – If, last week, your employer said $500 and now it’s more like $400, it’s not a good sign. Ask for clarifications, because you want that $500, not a penny less. That’s what you agreed on last week. Listen carefully to the explanations, if it sounds wrong, stay cool, and make your point clear: you will not work for less.
  • Don’t Over Do It Though – If someone wants to hire you, and you charge say $50 for graphics or something, it’s not really necessary to have a written contract, usually e-mails will do. If, on the other hand, you’re talking hundreds or thousands of dollars, you want everything on paper (before you start working!)

Before you spend any money on a work at home opportunity, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. And before you sign anything, read the whole thing! (you’ll be glad you did :) )

Where Can You Find Work/Gigs?

I personally don’t have to look for jobs or gigs really often, because most of the contracts I get are from people I already know, they know what my skills are, and what my schedule looks like. Usually word of mouth is a great way to find work. If you have a website or a blog, let people know you’re looking for work. Let your friends, family, contacts know about it. The more you’re “out there” the better your chances of finding a gig.

But if you’re just getting started, chances are your contact list is relatively small. There are many great places you can check out, here’s a quick list:

No need to list every single site though, you can check out this amazing (and huge!) list on FreelanceSwitch, they did an awesome job compiling all this. Also, some of those sites will require a paid membership, just so you know.

How Do You Do It?

Where do you find work? Online, newspapers, word of mouth, contacts? Any success finding work on “freelancing” job sites? Let us know how you do it. What has worked for you, what you’d recommend, and what you think one should consider before accepting a job?



  1. says

    The biggest fear for most people has got to be getting scammed and not paid. That’s where having a good network of people comes in really handy.

    Talk to some people and get their opinions on the job. If you get a lot of “yikes” feedback, it might be better to just walk on by and go after another opportunity that passes the gut-check test.

  2. says

    thank you jon…

    this was perfect.. i will inspect each link in depth,, and i am sure have a greater understanding of all of this and how it works, thanks to all of your research and expertise… thank you so much for answering my question in depth in this post…..

  3. says

    Hi Shane, yep totally, it happened to me a couple of times, and you learn a lot from that. Now I do a lot of research and ask some people I know before I accept something, if I hear “yikes”, I usually back-off.

    Hello Paisley, you’re very welcome, if you have any questions feel free to ask :)

  4. Max says

    I find work through Google/Yahoo pay-per-click ads that are targeted to my local market. I also post my services on freelance consultant directory sites like, which organizes freelancers by services offered and location. It’s free for consultants to sign up as well as free for clients to post their jobs/needs. They don’t get in the middle of the relationship between me and my prospective clients.

    I hate the bidding sites like elance, etc., because I don’t want to be a faceless consultant bidding on a project from a faceless client while my competition on the other side of the world is charging 5% of what I need to make to support my family. Those sites work better for people in emerging economies.

  5. says

    I’ve just gotten started with it and felt quite desperate at first, feeling overwhelmed by the ‘elance’ type sites out there, being wary of scams, etc. It can be pretty daunting!

    I’ve actually found success where I least expected it — I emailed a few other social media consultants/freelance writers just asking how they got started or saying that I really enjoyed reading their blogs, and a couple actually came back with some offers for work! I have yet to officially start since these emails just came in a couple of days ago, but I’m shocked and very excited.

    I’d say just being genuine and reaching out to individuals is a good approach. The least you can come away with is more knowledge about how they got started. And man, if you can score a job out of it (which I completely didn’t expect), all the better!

    Just my two cents. : )

  6. says

    I’ve gotten pretty much all of my business from craigslist, and I’ve never been scammed, nor have I even been in contact with someone that seemed suspicious =]

  7. says

    You’re right, work at home scams are very prevalent which is unfortunate because there are a lot of genuine work at home opportunities out there. Your list basically covers all of the points that I would personally look into and check out before entering some freelance venture with a company. Getting reviews online is a good step as well to get a feel of how good the company is to work with :)

  8. Zieopp says

    I found a nice work at home job which really pays me, I was forced to stay at home with my when he became sick with a terminal illness. It was hard to make ends meet, but we are able to live comfortable. This is not a get rich over night job, but you can definitely make a good living as I have. To find step by step instructions visit ……………………..

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