The 'Test Trap': When to Say No to Unpaid Freelance Work - Deepstash
The 'Test Trap': When to Say No to Unpaid Freelance Work

The 'Test Trap': When to Say No to Unpaid Freelance Work

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The 'Test Trap': When to Say No to Unpaid Freelance Work

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The "test assignment" trap

There are several reasons why people consider unpaid freelance work. Those new to freelancing may think that they need to build up experience and a portfolio. Even seasoned freelancers sometimes consider doing unpaid work in the hopes of breaking into a niche area.

However, some "test assignments" are borderline scams. It's usually exploitative to expect someone to work for free.

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Completing a free 'test assignment,' that's 'testing' several other freelancers is giving too much power to someone who's making money off your expertise. However, at times a quid-pro-quo agreement is in order, such as working for experience or exposure.

Other ways to build up a portfolio includes starting with small, quick jobs on gig-finding sites instead of unpaid freelance work. In addition, building up testimonials and customer feedback gives evidence of your skills.

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Some companies ask freelancers to submit test assignments out of ignorance. However, freelancers can use creative ways to convert unpaid work requests into paid gigs.

For example, when a client approaches you for an unpaid SEO opportunity, identify their websites strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Then, during a short phone call, you can review your findings without providing deliverables for free.

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