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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  Finding and Evaluating Online Freelancing Projects

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Specific Online Freelancing Project Warning Signs

The last two sections have explored the many quality and suitability considerations for assessing freelancing clients and projects. Hopefully they have given you a solid grounding in what to look for as you evaluate listings on your favorite freelancing site. In this section, I move from the general to the specific, highlighting a number of common indicators of potential trouble in project listings, explaining what the issues are with each, and how you should deal with projects where these warning signs are visible.

I start off with two topics covering a complementary set of problems: project descriptions that are either trivially short, or ridiculously long. I discuss the problem of “magic phrases”, including one particularly infamous one that sets most freelancers’ teeth on edge. I explore the controversial issue of free samples, and attempts by clients to try to find cheap labor with promises of future payoff. I explain the value of escrow, and the dangers associated with not using it.

These warning signs aren’t always a reason to reject a project from consideration, but they often are. When you encounter them, you need to be cautious and use your judgment to decide whether or not it is a good risk to proceed despite the potential for trouble. That said, in the final topic of this section, I look at a number of common requests found in freelancing jobs that are illegal or unethical and thus, in my view, should be automatically excluded from consideration.

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