with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
… but in general, freelancing oughtn’t be one of those free things.
My new husband (who freelanced for many years, in addition to being very cute) (no, the cuteness isn’t relevant here, but we’re still newlyweds and I reserve the right to be sappy) pointed me to this post on working for free. Lots of great points in the piece itself, and some insightful comments, as well.
The only thing I’d like to add (which I didn’t see addressed there) is the idea of bartering services. In general, you should be compensated for your work in some way. It’s up to you to assess each situation on its own merits and decide what compensation is acceptable to you. What you want to avoid is a (non-charity, because that’s a different issue) situation where you put in work and gain absolutely nothing.
I’ve done work purely for the “exposure.” Keep in mind that people who want to sucker you into working for free will always claim you’ll benefit from the exposure. Do the necessary litmus tests; if the people hiring you stand to profit and/or the circulation is small or non-existent, the only exposure you’re getting is to being ripped off.
I’ve written copy for a graphic designer in exchange for her design services. As two freelancers trying to keep costs down, that was a great option for both of us. You want to know with whom you’re getting into business before agreeing to such a deal, of course. I would never agree to do a service swap with a stranger because some people will promise you the moon and the stars and a pretty pony named Gladiola with no intention of delivering.
It’s possible that you’ll be asked to do work for an establishment which deals in a physical product, in which case even if they claim they “can’t pay” you should feel free to suggest a barter. Even then, of course, you have to determine if they have something you want. If a struggling local candymaker wants to offer me a case of chocolate in exchange for a few lines of ad copy, I may say yes. (Mmmmm, chocolate.) If a struggling local surfboard maker (yes, there are just tons of those here in New England… just play along, I’m making a point here) offers me a case of board wax, well, that’s not really something I can use.
Come back next week for a discussion about how to determine what to charge your clients without having to breathe into a paper bag (much)!
Subscribe to blog via RSS