Should I work for free?

I’ve had his discussion more than once over the years, usually with students/recent graduates starting out who are unsure how to find their feet in freelancing, and who have absorbed the idea that giving away images/copy for free will improve their “exposure”. I usually begin by quoting a friend who pointed out once that people can die of exposure.

The situation isn’t helped by the fact most students introduction to working journalism is on a college-approved internship, usually a course requirement. We are training kids to work for free, a situation worsened since the introduction of “Jobbridge“.

If your work is good enough to publish, then it’s good enough to pay for, and any publication should immediately be followed by an invoice. Invoicing establishes you as a professional in the minds of your clients, someone who takes their work seriously and expects to be paid. If you’re worried they won’t hire you again if you invoice them, well, if you’re not being paid you’re not hired anyway, so why are you wasting your time when you could be dealing with professional clients who will pay?

If you’re starting out and need any pointers, feel free to drop me an email.

Image © Faduda
Image © Faduda

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