Never Stop Learning New Things

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but Cabbage with a College Education.
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of the Extraordinary Twins
Please open your eyes widely.

It is better to be used than useless
Be aware, they're out there!

I've noticed a pattern. While I may be wrong, it is worth sharing with everyone who wants to do work online through freelancer platforms. This post may well be titled "How to get free work."

No, it isn't click baiting, because nobody reads this blog!

Let's delve into the problem. You've bid for some gig, and you got a response that goes like: "Hi, thanks for your application, please do this or that so that I can know if you're the person I'm looking for."

Usually, the client asks you to do a little work to see how "good" you are. When you do this "sample" work, you never get a response again or be ignored altogether. What you should know is that a "client" will post a project, break it into small pieces and when a newbie freelancer bids he get asked to do a little part.

So, say, the person have a huge data entry job, he can break it into small pieces and everyone who applies get a piece, in the end, the "client" has the job done without having to pay or hire anybody.

Crazy, right? I blame my conspiracy theorist mentality. But, there's more.

I know this raises the eternal question of doing free work. If you're just beginning, it is okay to do "free work" for Microsoft. Never do free work unless it will add to your reputation, it 's okay to do free work for companies like Microsoft because then you'll get to "brag" about it.

If you really must do free work, then apply your expertise and knowledge in creating new products to show in your portfolio, thereby attracting the real, serious clients. The customers who will pay, and will appreciate your efforts.

Why is this important?

You may think that doing a little work for free isn't much of a big deal. But trust me. It is a huge deal. Like it or not, as a freelancer YOU set the standards, and your actions have repercussions on other freelancers. Doing free work will encourage more people to ask for it, it is unprofessional, and it's cheap quality, not matter how good it is.

Also, the whole point of freelancing is that you, not the client, are the one who is responsible for choosing. The essence of freelancing is that the freelancer gets to choose the customer. Remember that.

In the end, pay attention to this kind of pitfalls. Refuse to do free work, and ask to be paid for any "sample" work, be bold, know that if a client is real, he will rarely ask for any samples, because he'll already know that you're what he's looking for, period.

Above all, don't be desperate and don't despair. The perfect client is out there!


  1. Hi Ahmed,

    Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Hi,

    I usually ask for a paid sample when the someone want more samples than already provided in the portfolio; that seems to solve the issue entirely.

    I believe that freelancers should filter the clients, the same way clients filter the freelancers.

    Here's an extra tip for you, and for anyone reading this:

    When anyone asks you to install an unknown software. It should raise a huge red flag.

    Understand, if the client asks you to install a known software from a trusted company that shouldn't be a problem.

    But if the client asks you to install any software that isn't well-known and from a reliable company, that you can trust. Just don't do it!

    It isn't worth it.

  3. Patricia S. MorroneJuly 5, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Hi Ahmed, I'm sorry that you went through this negative experience. However, I'm afraid you're missing a tremendous opportunity for improving. I think free samples will help you to find your point of weakness. As you know, the client's feedback is the bread and butter of your growth as a freelancer, without it, you're shooting in the dark. So don't be afraid to offer free samples, unless they're as you say a part of a bigger project. My guess is that you're not yet a master of your craft, no offense. It is only fair for them to see if you fit their needs, the sample is the only way to demonstrate that you are. This is my perspective as a client but don't quote me on that. Anyway, good luck and enjoy what you do.


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