Whether you’ve been at it as a freelance writer for some time or recently made the switch, protecting your business is vital for building and maintaining your success. Unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job where churning out killer content is priority numero uno, you’re wearing many hats — which means dealing with additional responsibilities like finding work, managing contracts and taking care of cybersecurity (just to name a few). It can be daunting, no doubt, but there are some easy measures that can help you effectively safeguard your business without turning your to-do list upside down.
1. Incorporate as a company
Operating as a sole proprietor is the simplest way to get your freelance hustle on, but it can come with serious risk given that there is no distinction between you and your business. If you incorporate — either as a limited liability company (LLC) or an S Corporation — your personal assets are separated from your business assets and are better protected should your business encounter any legal issues, like being sued. Incorporating also lends professional credibility and may offer tax benefits.
2. Always use a reputable marketplace for sourcing assignments online
It can be difficult to build your client base, especially when you’re launching your business. Freelance marketplace platforms can open the door to new work (and much-needed income!) but beware of websites that seem too good to be true — they may be fraudulent. Be sure to do your due diligence and only source work from established, recognized marketplaces.
3. Take the proper online security measures
Hackers are out there and getting more and more clever by the day. Invest in antivirus software to shield your business from viruses, spyware, malware, phishing attacks and other online security threats. Don’t default to your childhood dog’s name for your password (no matter how cute Shadow is.). Instead, use complex passwords; if you are worried about remembering them all, you can use password managers to create and store unique passwords for each login. You should also set reminders on your calendar to change them regularly. Most experts recommend changing them quarterly but bonus points if you do this every month.
4. Make sure indemnity protection is included in all contracts
Reviewing contracts can make your head spin. Before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few non-negotiables you should ensure every contract includes, like indemnity protection. When it comes to media outlets, many contracts use default language stating you will indemnify the publication when it should be the reverse. They should agree to indemnify you, meaning they would pay your legal bills and support you under their liability insurance, should anyone come after you for something you wrote for their outlet.
Similarly, if your client is another organization, make sure indemnity protections are baked into your contract to ensure you’re held harmless for claims arising from content that was crafted, reviewed and approved under their purview. If your client refuses to provide indemnification to you, then the second-best option is to remove the indemnification clauses altogether so that neither of you are indemnifying each other.
5. Get freelance writer insurance
Libel, slander, defamation, copyright infringement, and errors and omissions are some of the biggest professional liability risks freelance writers face. You can be sued for these types of claims, regardless of if you’re at fault — and a legal dispute could lead to tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees plus any compensation you may have to pay. Enter freelance writer insurance, which can defend you and provide coverage for those crushing costs. Getting covered is now easier than ever with Dinghy, the world’s first insurance provider exclusively for freelancers. For less than one dollar a day, you can buy $100,000 of coverage, providing peace of mind and allowing you to focus on what you love to do.
You’re working hard to build your freelance writing business and you can minimize many of the risks you face with just a few easy steps. Trust us — putting up a few safety nets will be time well spent.