By “independent freelancers”, I mean freelance writers that do not operate through a site or service. These people are the most difficult to find and they carry the most risk (from both the writer and the requestors point of views) but in turn, they can offer the highest quality work. As far as payment goes, this is the one option where you can pay after the articles are written, but that is only with some people. Other freelancers may not work unless they receive payment upfront. Remember, the concern about getting scammed lies on both sides. The writer can run off with your money just as the client can decide not to pay.
To avoid putting yourself at risk, interview them for an extended amount of time. There are two other tricks that I like to use to keep myself and my money protected. First, ask for references. Ask for their email and get a recommendation from them. On their end, they should ask a former client if they will give them a good reccomendation and if so, look out for an email asking about that. If they can’t come up with references, that means that they likely can’t find anyone that liked their work enough to take the time to provide a recommendation. That is a red flag and should be enough to tell you that this freelancer is not a great one. The other thing I like to do is ask for a second set of samples. You should request a first set to start, to make sure that they can write to the level that you are expecting. The second request for samples is to see how responsive they are. If they blow off the request or take a long time to produce the second set of samples, you should take that as a red flag that they are not going to be writers that you can count on. Remember, working with a true freelancer means that they have no motivation to keep them on track aside from not receiving payment until after the work is complete. They don’t have a manager keeping them on track or reviews to keep up with.
Two big advantages working with independent freelancers are that you do not have to pay any middle man fee’s, which means you are getting higher priced work without actually paying a higher price, and you have full control as opposed to telling someone to tell someone. If you are a control freak, this is the way to go. One last advantage is that using the same writer means that the edits can be eliminated. Even if they are not perfect, their mistakes will be repeated. You can pick up on these, tell them to fix them and after a bit of time, you should be able to expect a consistent inflow on perfectly written articles.