Disclaimer: This was not intended to be offensive to anyone who is in the business of
playing themselves obtaining free work from hard working freelancers /independent contractors. This is my opnion that I felt inclined to share on MY blog. I’m Mika, by the way.
There was a point in time when I didn’t even know people got paid to write, post on social media and all the other things I consistently do as a blogger and freelancer.
However, when I had the ah-ha moment that these were profitable and much-needed skills, I never approached it the same. As valuable as these skills may be too many businesses and public figures, It never ceases to amaze me how unwilling people are to pay people with the skills that they need badly for ther respective businesses.
I’ve been solicited for free/lowballed services time and time again, however, one particular time stuck out to me. A site that I read often was looking for writers. After being tagged in a post I decided to apply, was later asked to write and had to decline thereafter because I was asked to write for free then $10 after 30 days. I knew the site had enough traffic, ad revenue etc. to pay me what I’m worth. No, ma’am.
Freelancing seems to be the new wave for millennials looking to break into various fields that are more often than not super difficult to break into. We have little experience in these relatively competitive fields and freelancing has allowed us to prove our respective industry’s wrong while making a decent coin. There are freelancers in pretty much every industry for great reasons.
What some people don’t understand though, specifically small business or individuals looking for freelancers is that freelance does not mean we work for free.
Here’s a quick definition from our friends over at Dictionary.com.
I’ve had my fair share of people who’ve wanted me to help build their brands in exchange for “experience” or “exposure”. After consistently being asked to do free work, here are a few things that I think people need to understand before asking any freelancer to work for little to no pay.
Stop covering up your search for free work with the word “internship” if it isn’t mutually beneficial
I know for a fact that I’m not the most experienced writer in the world. When I come across a decent internship or volunteer opportunity I go for it. What I have found time and time again though are people who disguise their hunt for free work as an “internship.”
For instance, if I’m contributing (remotely) 5-10 articles a day 5 days a week to a site that won’t even give me a social media tag, what am I “gaining” from this experience? If anything I’m creating content that you use to bring more traffic and ad revenue to your site. I’d go into detail but I hope you get the gist.
Time is money
When you approach freelancers with lowballed price quotes, it’s very clear that you’re not fully thinking about what’s going into the work. Writers, for instance, may have to conduct interviews, take photos and before actually writing up whatever it is your ask for. All of these tasks take valuable time (and sometimes money) that could have been spent elsewhere. Pay up.
Intellectual property costs
How bad would it be if the person who designed Coca Cola’s logo did it in exchange for exposure? He’d be assed out of royalties from millions of dollars worth of merchandise that has been made with his logo on it. . Another reason why as a freelancer you shouldn’t be willing to give you brain children to just anyone.
Value your business enough to pay for good work…and pay well
When you low ball a freelancer whose work you want to enhance your brand/company (whatever), it sends the message that you don’t care about your brand enough to invest in it. Hiring freelancers are an investment not a liability.
Moral of the story is, freelance doesn’t mean that we should be paid less (or not all at) because we don’t have a big name backing us.