An Epidemic Is Gathering Momentum
If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you will have people asking you to donate your work. It’s just part of the territory. The key is having the tools to make sure that the opportunities you agree to take really do benefit you. We’ve all been there you’re asked to sponsor an event, help out a family member or friend but my absolute favourite is the amount of “exposure” you will get for the work you produce. It’s exasperating when the people who want design & printed media value it enough to seek you out – but not enough to pay for it.
Why You Shouldn’t Work For Free
Clients should pay you if you provide a product or service. Friends and family should understand that doing work for them for free will pull you away from other (paying) projects. Most businesses should have a budget for working with collaborators especially if seeking services outside their remit. When event companies approach us they will already have been paid. So there is a budget it’s just not getting through to the right people. Clients need to know, that payment is expected in return for our time, and for putting our brand and expertise behind their brand.
Exposure Is Not Payment
It’s exciting when you get a chance to get in front of many new potential customers and see your name on promotional material. I get it. But the people who are approaching you have their own agenda. They want their event to be successful. They want to make money. They may or may not have your best interests at heart. That means you have to be smart and protect yourself from people who’d take advantage of you (whether they mean to or not.) It’s absurd to offer sponsorship, exposure a TWEET, or even worse – the chance to maybe be considered for a Tweet — to a professional business in exchange for hours of work. If a company wants you to do what you’re trained to do, they need to pay for it in monetary terms.
We Are In Business To Make A Profit
You can’t use exposure or favours to pay the bills. When was the last time you paid for electricity with Tweets? Working for free hurts your businesses’ profitability and the industry as a whole. Let’s be honest we are doing this to make money and pay the bills. Every business has time spent on administrative tasks that can’t be attributed to paying work, but when you start working for free, your unpaid time increases significantly. All of a sudden, the price you charge for a project doesn’t work out to nearly as much money per hour of your time because you have more unpaid time in your work week and less money coming into your bank account. We are in business to make a profit, we did not decide to set up a charity organisation we decided to set up a business to become self-sufficient and depend on no-one for our income. Remind yourself of that fact the next time a person or business offers you exposure or requesting a favour.
There’s Plenty Of Clients & Brands That Are Willing To Pay For Your Services.
If you are a specialist in your field you should absolutely under no circumstances work for free, it undervalues you as a person and questions your credibility. There are huge benefits to hiring outsourced workers, consultants or specialists. Savings, knowledge, flexibility and focus being just a few. Major brands like Google, Paypal, Microsoft and Facebook have discovered these advantages and frequently advertise for positions to fill by tapping into some of the best talent who prefers to work as a freelancer rather than a regular employee. Learn how to confidently find and follow up on leads, build relationships with influencers, and turn introductions into paid opportunities.
We love partnering with start-ups and those trying to get their business off the ground when they reach out. However, the reality is that the vast majority of those trying to get us to work for free should have a budget in place for our services. These are well-established businesses and individuals. I honestly don’t mind helping out once or twice. However when you have event companies seeking our services, namely design and print then please don’t ask us to provide those services for free or sponsorship. Ask us to collaborate which is equally beneficial to both parties. As long as print companies continue to offer print as sponsorship nothing will change and both companies and individuals will seek out our services for free and our industry as a whole will continue to suffer. Collaboration is best, we all need to prosper! If a client asks you to work for free or to sponsor an event feel free to send them this link and ask them to collaborate instead of sponsorship.
Please note if you check out our Charitable Giving Campaigns you will see that every year we pick a charity, organisation or individual to fundraise or sponsor. Previous years we have sponsored The Irish Cancer Society, Beaumount Hospital Foundation, Barretstown, Crumlin Children’s hospital and this year we choose Cilian Begley a local 2-year-old child battling cancer, his journey can be found here:
This post isn’t about being charitable, it’s about being paid for the work you do.
And if you need more convincing Google is looking to work with small businesses. Check out their Google Diversity program here:
If you need more convincing, here is a brilliant sketchh from Foil Arms and Hog on working for free;