Should You Work for Free

Almost everyone I know has been asked to work for free at some stage in their career. The question may have come from:

  • A family member: perhaps your parents need help with their computer. Maybe your brother needs a website or some graphic design help. Perhaps your sister wants to shoot and edit a video for school. We’ve all been there
  • A not-for-profit: they do great work but need help from someone with your expertise
  • A startup: cool entrepreneurs bootstrapping their business need a lot of help. Maybe you know something that could help
  • A business: maybe things are not going so well, but with your help they could get through a recent dry spell. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for paid work down the track

It’s great to help people, but where do you draw the line? Are you in business for your self or are you giving your hard won expertise away for free? This great chart by Jessica Hische provides some handy questions that you should ask yourself before saying “yes” to your next free gig.

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