While there’s always a chance the you’ll be duped by someone when you’re making money online, you can also drive yourself nuts worrying about it. For the most part, the people you deal with online are just as fair and considerate as you are. Still, though, it’s bound to happen. Eventually you’re going to have to deal with someone who owes you money online and it’s not like you can just knock on their door and collect.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure you both agree on all the details before you deliver your end of the transaction. Like I said, you’re not really going to run up against too many scammers and when you do you can usually recognize them during the negotiation process. So don’t start off automatically assuming that everyone’s out to get you because they’re not.
Make sure you know exactly what ‘s expected of you and make sure the other person knows exactly what you expect in return. Trust me, in the beginning you’re going to make mistakes. You won’t ask all the questions and when you’ve delivered your client’s going to say, “Yeah, but I wanted…”. You’re immediately going to want to blame the client and demand your money, but you’ve made a common mistake and it’s your responsibility to correct it. Suck it up and fix it and learn from your mistake.
Next, if you’re talking about a substantial amount of money, your client isn’t going to want to risk it by paying in advance, and you certainly don’t want to risk it by delivering the complete project first without seeing any money. I’ve always had good luck telling my clients to pay me 50 percent before I get started and the balance when they transaction is completed to their satisfaction.
Now, keep in mind – I only do this when there’s big money on the table, say more than $100. For anything less, I give the client the benefit of the doubt. For one thing, you’re not really losing anything. Yeah, you might lose a couple of hours worth of work. But remember, most people aren’t out to cheat you and you’ll earn a lot of brownie points with that client if you let him wait to pay you until you’ve filled his request to his satisfaction.
Keep in mind, too, that I TELL my clients I want 50 percent up front before I’ll even start the job.
But what if they don’t pay you? Personally, in all the years I’ve been working online, I’ve only had this happen twice which only proves my point that most webmasters are honest people – so relax! When it does happen, though, the first thing you need to remember is that this is strictly business, it has nothing to do with whether or not that webmaster likes you or likes your work. For whatever reason he simply does not have the money to pay you.
Yes, it’s possible he’ll just disappear and you’ll never hear from him again. Regardless of how much money he owes you, you might as well just chalk it up to experience and do a better job of protecting yourself in the future.
But, generally, he’s going to tell you that he just doesn’t have the money for some reason and we’ve all had that happen. Instead of going off on some tirade and trying to destroy the guy all over the Internet, see what you can work out. Maybe he can’t pay you in cash right now, but does he have a lot of traffic? Does he have a lot of Twitter followers or Facebook fans? Maybe he could put your ad in his sidebar or tweet and share your links.
If you’re working for someone who designs website, ask him to give your blog a makeover. If it’s someone who designs software, does he have a program you’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford? While it may not be the cold, hard cash you wanted, at least you’d be getting something in exchange for your hard work. And who knows? It might be the start of a profitable business relationship for both of you.