Why You Should Never Work for Free
Have you ever worked for someone and never got paid?
Have you ever asked for a discount on a service from a friend?
If you are professional, you probably have had discount requests on the services you offer to make a living. Regardless of industry or work nature at some point in your careers, you will be asked for such ‘’gracious’’ favours from people you know. Often people will not think twice to spend on mere luxuries yet show negligence in paying someone for their work. If painting is your hobby, then you might give a piece to someone. If it is your bread and butter, then you shall never consider doing it for free because someone asked you to. Now you may wonder that neglecting to work for free might ruin your relationship with the person who asked or it may hinder your chance of getting exposure. If you find yourself in doubt, remind yourself of the quote -
‘’If you are good at something never do it for free’’.
So here’s why you should never work for free.
When you work on a project for free with the expectation of getting exposure, it may not always work well. Every time you say yes to working without commission it reduces your credibility in comparison to someone who charges for the same work. People may perceive as a frivolous activity rather than a professional project. When someone is requesting you to provide free service, remember that they may not hire you ever. So your free labor can always go in vain. Even if they hire you for a paid project later, you are at a disadvantageous position while negotiating your pay as you have already worked for them for free.
MarketWatch reported that the global freelance industry will be reaching USD 9192.9 million by 2027. As the number of freelancers is increasing every day, working for free is only going to ruin the market for everyone who serves.
When you start working for free most of the time, people forget how to respect your boundaries. Exceptional cases are there. However, the majority intend to take you for granted when you work for free. For example, an article that needed three key points would suddenly require ten. Since this is a non-paid gig you will have no way but to put your precious extra hours on to make those adjustments without zero compensation. So it is crucial to value your work before others do. No one will value or determine your worth unless you fix a standard by yourself.
Work for free for a social cause that you believe in or to help a friend? Yes! OF COURSE!! But refrain from working on projects that add no value to your life. Keep reminding yourself that your time is too precious to not receive anything out of it. To stay relevant to your job and yourself, YOU must set a standard of service for yourself/your service. So when someone approaches you to work for free, whether it is a friend or an eminent figure/brand, remind them too.