3 Most Critical Booboos of Aspiring Freelance Writers

02 April 2011
danger signMistakes are inevitable, but some are so critical to your freelancing career that a single booboo could make it harder for you to get clients and land well-paying stints.

There are some freelance web content writing essentials that you have to know. Some are learned along the way. Others need to be learned before you plunge head on.

This post will discuss 3 of the most critical booboos that could affect your freelancing career: ignoring copyrights, violating nondisclosure agreements and plagiarizing content.


Unless otherwise stated, majority of the projects assume that you are a ghost writer. As such, getting paid is tantamount to turning over the full copyrights to your client. You just can't:

  • insist that you get a byline
  • sell the exact same article you wrote
  • distribute your work in social networking sites
  • re-post the write-up on your blog
  • use the file as your work sample without the client's knowledge AND consent

Nondisclosure Agreements

Have you ever written for big companies? Nondisclosure agreements (NDA) prohibit you from divulging any  information associating you or your work with the client company. Since everything is written and signed in a contract, the company could legally run after you once you start spilling dirty secrets. Not many companies want to admit that they outsource part of the work process to freelancers. Signing an NDA means you can't:

  • brag about your work in private and public social circles
  • claim employment or association with the company
  • disclose any work-related details to anyone


Whether you're asked to create originals, rewrite articles or spin content, you're expected to produce "unique" write-ups. Some would prefer to use the term "original" but uniqueness really has little to do with originality for most clients. These people just don't want you to run into any duplicate content issues with search engines.  Do not, under any circumstances:

  • lift lines directly from other sources
  • attempt to submit plagiarized content as your own work sample
  • use more than 30 percent of quoted content (even when you attributed the source) in the write-up

Ignorance excuses no one. It is highly unlikely that anyone would like to hire or put faith in someone who does not know how to observe basic freelancing protocol. Tread carefully on the freelancing world, friends. Some freelancing booboos are common. Others are so grave that they leave indelible imprints on the web.* 

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