Freelancing Shouldn’t Be Free: Here’s How to Get Paid

Freelancing Shouldn’t Be Free: Here’s How to Get Paid

Okay Sophie, we get it, but how do we bring home the bacon? Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes exposure is a great way to get your name out there, especially when you’re just starting out — but there’s a time and place, and it’s important to know when and where that is.

“Hey, we need a designer, want to collaborate?”

“Hell yeah!” you respond, excited about making a little extra dolla for that sweet sweet electricity bill.

“There’s no payment, obviously, but it will be great exposure — we’ve got 100,000 followers who will see your work!”

…If you’ve had enough of the new wave of freebie culture and your hard work going underappreciated, read on, dear reader.


Not Hot off the Press

  • Exposure Doesn’t Pay the Bills: As Kerrie Hughes wrote in an article about designers’ fury over an unpaid graphic design role back in 2017: “Working for free or for ‘exposure’ is a sore subject in the design community, but, sadly, one that crops way too often.” *The advert rather boldly (and naively) read: “The Volunteer Graphic Designer at SAHMRI is a volunteer position. This means that you perform all duties on a voluntary basis, of your own free will, and you will not receive payment for your work. You are not an employee of SAHMRI and you are not entitled to a salary or any other entitlements associated with employment.” Okay then. Unsurprisingly, this was met with a lot of backlash, with Nic Elridge (CEO of AGDA) taking to Twitter to vocalise his stance: *“…our main effort today is to alert young designers to the fact that this is not ok.”
  • “It’s Not a Real Job”Until Aldi starts accepting ‘exposure’ in exchange for my weekly groceries, I’m no longer accepting this as a legitimate form of payment — and nor should you. But in case you need further convincing, Digital Synopsis compiled a list of the best (or worst) exchanges between artists and nightmare clients from Twitter account For Exposure.

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  • What’s Your Worth?Inside Design (by InVision) hosted a really informative DesignTalk with Ran Segall on how to strategically price your design work. In his talk, Ran recounts how money wasn’t the initial draw for him, and as a result, has found it difficult to know what or when to charge: _“I got in as a hobby. And starting out doing something that you love, you actually in a way feel bad charging a lot of money for something that you enjoy doing.” _When pricing yourself, it’s a balancing act between hard graft and quality of life. More clients doesn’t always equal more money — use your pricing to increase your income and decrease the amount you work, as Jake Jorgovan states.
  • Completely Free? No Thanks! In a strange instance of role reversal, we have a creator willingly offering a product for free, and the corporation refusing it. WordPress founding developer, Matt Mullenweg, recently became embroiled in a battle with Apple for cutting off updates to his app unless he agrees to adding in-app purchases to afford the most valuable company in the world 30%.

freelancing ux-design ux career-advice design

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