Dear Creatives, If you want to reap the benefits of working for free, offer it, don’t get asked for it.

When people ask you to work for free, they usually offer something in exchange; most times it’s exposure. By so doing, a barter has occurred and they no longer see your service as a favour but a business backed by a gentleman’s agreement.

These people do not define the exposure they’re offering therefore it’s unquantifiable and because you haven’t asked for what you’re specifically getting in exchange for a specified scope of your service they have asked for, they consciously or subconsciously conclude you are jobless and desperate. Let’s face it, if your hands were full with paying clients, you won’t be abandoning their work to offer services in exchange for glorified nothings. With full knowledge of this and absolutely nothing to lose, these people treat the work process lackadaisically and become very rude at every instance they notice you are not at their beck and call because important things have come up.

Worse of all, their friends are more meaningful to them than you are so when they do give a referral, it’s more rude people demanding extra work for better glorified nothings. My experience 99% of the time? I’ll just say birds of a feather do flock together and your relationship with them will always end on a sour note – terrible exposure!

You have loads of time and want to use it to grow by offering your services for free? On your own, pick companies with good hearted owners, finish the job and offer it to them for free. If they want more, charge a stipend and let them know you’re only doing so because more value is attached to what is paid for. They might not use it but you don’t need a research scientist to tell you who will be more appreciative and who will actually say good things about you to their friends.

Walk into small companies near your home and ask to work in there for free for a period of time. You will learn how to run your company and find good clients in that time. If you’re great they will retain you. Even if they don’t take you, they are more likely to put in a good word for you if their friends need someone.

Money isn’t everything but value is. Value means different things but the bottom line is growth. If you’re not getting value for your time, don’t let anybody deceive you, you’re getting used. Have a great week!

2 Responses

  1. Great piece… Had a conversation with a friend on this same subject earlier today. I think one main issue most creatives are having is poor self image… We most times think less of ourselves, people will only accord value to you as much as you do to yourself.

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How to Get Value from Working for Free

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