Writers need to stop being exploited in this way

We all need to put a stop to this

Jo Driscoll
3 min readNov 24, 2022
Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

I’m a freelance writer with a creative agency on my books and was looking to add another. Browsing through Upwork, I came across a promising opportunity with an agency. I got in contact, sent through my details, and everything looked promising until those dreaded words — we’ll need you to do a trial.

An unpaid trial.


There are several problems with unpaid trials.

Imagine a business wanted a hundred articles, and they got a hundred freelancers to write them as a ‘trial’. They’d get the work they wanted without ever paying a penny. And they could keep repeating this anytime they wanted new articles.

The scenario above really does happen, and unfortunately, far too often.

Now imagine you are one of the freelancers. You spend quite a few hours researching and writing the article for your trial. Something that you would ordinarily charge hundreds for. Yet, you’re doing this for free with no guarantees of any work at the end.

You’ve effectively just given this business hundreds of pounds.

What about paid trials?