Your strategy can work, if you find clients with the right personality for such an approach. E.g. it‘s easy to pretend interest, just to get something from you.
The (administrative) effort for a payment is quite independent from the amount. However, due to charges of currency transfer it simply may not be economic with small amounts. E.g. your bank may eat up much as well.
You may send the wrong signal by or of being „cheap“. E.g. if you scan freelancer platforms, you compete with programmers from India, where the requested prices are just ridiculous, at least within Europe, including Ukraine.
Taxes and fraud
This may be more valuable to research. E.g. tax duties may be complicated for you at the moment, if regulated at all.
High volume transfer of small payments may raise the suspicion of money laundering, fraud or similar. Just to make you aware of it.
Western style of job offers
Interestingly companies don‘t make a difference between hiring an employee or a freelancer (which is a different business). It works like this:
- Somebody, e.g. a project leader spots a demand for his/her project
- S/He formulates tasks, expectations, requirements
- Usually publication, search and prescanning candidats is delegated to Human Resources, either internally or externally
- If a handful of prospects are found, there will be interviews, to learn about each other
- This includes details e.g. about contracting, payment, quality assurance, keeping biz secrets and the like
- In best case one (1) person will get the job
To apply you typically need to submit your CV, a short letter, relevant documents (diploma etc.). That‘s what HR understands and can trade with …
In return this means that contacting individuals like said project leader can work. But most of the time you‘ll take them by surprise: they didn‘t wait for you, just published several job offers and your qualities were not amongst them at the time s/he thought all out. This means: be prepared to build longterm relationships before the first chance for a contract arises with him/her.
Greetings from Germany, and wishing you success
Further questions from the comments:
And please could you add a little more point(s) about the main dilemma: to offer upfront work vs to require upfront payment? I read some pages in the internet advising to always get paid before starting a project. But what if a new client would hesitate to send money to me as to an unknown person? Is the cooperation by small milestones of upfont jobs as I described the middle ground?
WHEN to pay WHICH amount ... is a matter of negotiation between both parties. So there are no rules, strictly speaking, though there may be conventions, i.e. how to handle it in your clients branch or industry. Examples:
- after the fact: contract, start working, send bill as negotiated, e.g. at beginning of next month, allow 1 month for compensation; so you'll have it approx. 2 months after start of each fiscal period (here: months)
- at milestones: similar. Start, work, send bill at/after passing milestone, allow negotiated compensation periode (can also be 2 weeks, as an example)
- before the fact: make your start dependent on prepaying a certain amount, bill regularly (which includes one time only at the end) as lined out. (Can it be, that you have to pay bills, too?)
It depends on your risk accessment and risk appetite. If it's a trustworthy client, there is hardly any problem by definition. If you can't be sure, worst case is approx. spending time for nothing.
If your client hesitates, try finding out, what's his reason. Is it convincing? Does s/he try to trick you? Is it uncertainty, e.g. of situation or you as a contracted specialist etc. Whatever you'll find out, it should determine your approach to payment.
If you feel better, try negotiating a stop condition, too, i.e. "if payment X doesn't arrive within Y days, I'll put my work (or better: reserve the right to put my work) for you on hold, until Z ..."
And frankly, if s/he doesn't want to send money, BECAUSE you are a stranger ... why would you want to work with or for this individual? I assume, your (life-) time is more valuable than that ...
And what if I can't yet sign legal contracts?
Don't really understand your point. In my country a contract exists legally, once we agree, even verbally. However, if trouble comes, and it most likely will, it will be hard to give evidence about what was or wasn't negotiated, expected, promissed etc. We are all humans, so it starts with "simple" misunderstandings.
So putting it down on paper won't hurt. Involving your attorney will be a good idea: probably your client can throw any amount of attorneys on you.
However, many times things go well, even without written contracts. Again, your tool is accessment of your client, to mitigate risks.
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Finally, it's good to research, how other people see it. However, don't stick too much to it, as some may simply be wrong in some way. You may know it from books, which advertise "approach X" ... which may have worked for the author, may be only once, ... and is less effective for my situation ...
Try and see what works for you. Try being the partner, your client wants you to be, OR the type of personality you are for your client.
You see, as a client I could exchange one webdesigner by a dozen others. Unless ... it's different with you, as you provide something which is hard to find for me (and which I badly need).