I have been a professional freelance writer for about 5 years and today, I look back and relive some of my not so pleasant experiences as a freelancer- here’s one that rocked me dearly:
Although I was a registered freelancer on two major freelance gig platform (a platform that connects service providers with people who need those services) – I still got side gigs from friends who outsourced some of their writing jobs to me either because the required writing isn’t in their niche or because they had many orders at the time.
I had just delivered a client’s order when another freelancer friend of mine whom I had collaborated with many times reached out to me about a client who needed 2500 words weekly on different topics, for a period of 2 months. As a freelancer, one of the things that gave me joy was to have orders that spanned over a long period of time because that meant a steady stream of income without having to bid for new gigs afresh.
After getting the needed brief about the content needed, I asked about payment and my friend told me the arrangement he had with the client was that I would deliver the work every Tuesday and get paid for each deliverable on Fridays (same week). Since my friend was the link between the two of us, I felt that there would be no need to ask for a down payment; my friend claimed to have worked with him before.
However, one thing I should have advised my friend to do was to request the use of digital escrow especially because milestone payment was involved but I didn’t and I regret making that mistake.
I sprung into action, sent out the first set of deliverables on Tuesday, and true to his words, the first installment was paid into my account the following Friday- this gave me the needed motivation that the man wasn’t playing games with me. I never knew it was just a ploy to lull me into a false sense of security.
After submitting the second part of the work, the client told my friend that there was a slight issue with his bank which would be resolved by the following week. He even sent the screenshot of his supposed communication with his bank. My friend and I believed him- especially because he had paid for the first week so we didn’t have a reason to doubt him.
The client’s ‘bank problem’ didn’t end the following week and once again, he pleaded for us to give him time. He told my friend that he wouldn’t want us to stall work because of that and even offered to add a tip for our patience. I wasn’t comfortable with that arrangement but my friend assured me there wasn’t going to be any problem because the client kept on sending updates from his bank.
By the third week, after I had written a total of 7,500 words but had only gotten paid for one-third, I told my friend I wasn’t going to deliver the outstanding 2,500 words for that month if the client didn’t pay up as required. I was beginning to suspect foul play but still managed to keep my cool- this is after I had already finished spending the money even before it got into my account! Premium tears!
It was during that weekend that my friend told me that the worst had happened- our client was no longer reachable. The name he gave wasn’t found anywhere and his lines were no longer accessible. I felt really cheated and if not for the long-standing nature of our relationship, and trust, I would have suspected that my friend had set me up
After this experience, I returned to my old policy of “no escrow, no deal” and I take my time to explain all the escrow products that have been reeled out by Vesicash so there’s really no use case that isn’t catered for.