Image via WikipediaOne thing I have learned to do in writing up my freelance contracts and beginning business with new clients is to ask for half the payment upfront. I use PayPal so the buyer (client) feels they have some protection in the deal, too.
I do this because too many scammers are out there who will ask for work, not pay, and then make use of your work. Some will claim it was not up to par, others will never communicate with you again.
When I collect half the money upfront, I know it will not be a total waste of my time to create articles (or whatever)for my new client. I know that I will have at least some compensation for my work. It also tells me they are likely to be serious, legitimate clients when they are willing to pay half upfront. They understand that many businesses operate in that manner.
When it comes to freelance writing, you want your clients to feel safe and comfortable with you, but you also need to protect yourself. Asking for half the fee upfront is common business practice, and one way to protect yourself from being scammed.