Should I Work For Free?!

Face it, no matter what your occupation or skill set, we’ve all been asked to do work for free. This might be as innocuous, (and well intentioned) as helping with the annual school fundraiser, local Boys & Girls Club, or an older (sweet as hell) next door neighbor; but for many freelance professionals, especially those working in Arts & Technology, these one-off requests seem to happen more readily.

It starts innocently enough.
“Why won’t my Wifi/Printer/External Hard Drive to work with my computer. Can I invite you over for drinks and you can take a look?”
“I can’t get the f’ing Photoshop to resize this image. If I email it to you can you take a look?”
“Help I need a quickie logo/design/image, and you are so talented…do you think you would be willing to whip up something really basic?”

Great news is that people think you’re talented, and in most cases there is the “appearance” some reciprocal agreement, whether it be  dinner… or a weekend getaway to their place in the Hamptons, but then there are other promises…those that offer free publicity, exposure or stock options in a future company. The trick is knowing your worth, and like any lawyer or doctor, being able to say with conviction that you of course would love to help, BUT that they need to make an appointment, or that your fee is X per hour, makes it clear that there is value in what you do.

I think this poster by Jessica Hische says it all!
I stumbled on it last week, and thought it was so clever that I reached out to Jessica to find out what “drove her” to create this flowchart.

“Like most of the side projects I make, Should I Work For Free stared as a resource I wished was out there. I was being asked a lot at the time about if any jobs are worth doing for next to no money because of exposure and wanted a way to respond that was humorous but still really communicated my opinions on the matter. The flowchart was a fun way to convey my ideas about it, and it ended up resonating with a lot more people than I originally thought. So far the site has received almost a million unique visitors”…Which is astounding for a single page site

Buy your own poster HERE, and display it in your office with pride!

Disclosure: At the present, I owe my very sweet (& understanding) younger brother payment for some ongoing design work he has done for me. But as I value his work and time, he understands that he will be paid, even if a little late :)