Trust me, I’m still learning this one. When you have a creativity related job, it’s easy for friends and family to assume you’ll do work for them for free. “Oh, it’s just a few photos” or “Can’t you just whip up a logo really quick?” We are constantly getting bombarded with requests to do things for free and free doesn’t pay the bills. So here’s what you should do if people want you to do any sort of work for free.
Be up front about your costs. Especially if you work in a creative field designing websites or doing photography, make sure people know what you charge. Create a pricing sheet or have an email template you can send to anyone who asks you to do something for them. That way they know immediately that you aren’t an intern and deserve proper compensation for your work.
Provide a friends and family discount if you feel so inclined. You definitely shouldn’t feel like you have to offer special pricing for people you know, but it could be an easy way to appease people while still getting paid.
Try the barter system if someone just doesn’t want to pay you. If you still want to work with them, try exchanging goods and services instead. Maybe they have a rental space you could use for free in exchange for some photography. Figure out a way that both parties are satisfied.
Create a site or portfolio of your work to boost credibility. A lot of the time people don’t really understand what my husband and I do for a living. The ignorance leads them to assuming graphic design or photography is just a hobby, rather than our way of feeding ourselves. Having a website or portfolio of your work will not only show moochers the quality you produce (and not for free), but is also a great way to get more clients.
Make very few exceptions to the rules. It’s super important that you don’t do a favor for someone “just this one time” because that could start becoming the precedent. You don’t want word spreading that you did Jack’s logo for free because Susan is going to expect the same deal.
Friends and family don’t perform their jobs for free, so neither should you. Just because you may have a non-traditional job in a creative field does not mean you have to be a starving artist.