Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular as a means of earning a very flexible income with flexible working hours. Investing in such a venture as a fully fledged career can be difficult. For it to be truly worth your while, it requires much experience, time management and knowledge of the industry. While most recognise freelancing as receiving orders through marketing initiatives, there are times when you may have to dedicate this time and effort without financial compensation. It is important to justify the right time to complete work for free and when it is definitely not worth your while. We explore the question, should freelancers ever work for free?
What Does Freelancing Entail?
Freelancing is a medium of work whereby freelancers work for themselves, manage orders, complete work for a variety of customers across professional industries. It is often completed online and includes remote access. From web design and virtual assistants to content writers and marketing, freelancers must be diverse, flexible and organised.
To Work for Free or Not to Work for Free? That is the Question
Freelancing is about being motivated and creative. It requires lots of self-discipline and adherence to important advertising efforts to create a customer base.
There may come a time in your freelancing career when working for free becomes a prominent demand. While no-one enjoys working for free, as a freelancer you may have to negotiate the potential value and drawbacks of delivering work without being compensated for it.
A look at the best times to work for free can assist in making the best freelancing career decisions.
Showcase Your Work
Most established freelancers will create a portfolio of their work. If you lack a portfolio, it makes it difficult for a potential client to determine your quality of work before placing an order. Creating a blog or website can help depict your style and accolades. If you have none of these, a client requesting a free sample of your work may be a good idea to open new doors for more business. This is a tricky one though. While many people are genuine in their requests, there are others who may take advantage of free samples or pieces of work. Always consult with prospective clients and use your own discretion to determine the worth of submitting free work.
When a free gig is requested, always remain knowledgeable of what it entails. If it is in alignment with your talents and experience, it may be a valuable option for landing a larger project. Always assess the requirements first before agreeing to commit to work for free.
Know Your Worth
New freelancers having a difficult time obtaining new clients will need to compromise a little and perhaps consider having to work for free between jobs. For those who have established a brand and a returning customer base, know your worth. If you have satisfied customers and while we cannot please everyone; have managed to make a successful income out of your freelancer opportunity, do not hand out work for free. It simply reduce your worth.
Freelancers may find it tough to justify free work. But with some research and intuition, you can determine what is worth your while and when to pass on those free work requests.
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