Below are some of the many types of "arrangements" you will be asked to do. Pro-Bono Every service business faces these requests. Especially design firms. While there are causes you may wish to assist or believe in, unfortunately doing a lot of free work can set you behind on your financial goals . While yet admirable, it is also still "free work" you are providing. You should ponder and consider carefully how much of this you will want to do as it takes away time from the paying clients. Many non-profits will request this. Keep in mind that the other services / goods the organization is using are NOT free and they have to pay their fair share of those. So you have to think carefully do you want to provide yours for free? I want to add: BEWARE also of any organization that attempts to guilt, cajole, manipulate or strong arm free work out of your. I will be frank - it has happened to me and I want to make sure it doesn't happen to you. Spec work / "Getting exposure" I don't recommend either of these under most circumstances because simply you will work and not get paid for it. The "Client" may never hire you or pay a dime for your work. You will come to resent this arrangement FAST. At a job you get paid for your work and when you run a business, so should you there as well. Provide samples of your work but do not "give away the store" - more on this later. Also avoid the entire "Do this here and you will get a lot of 'exposure'". Usually just a way of getting free work out of someone with only a thin promise that you may get hired. Usually this happens to music bands. Give you a percentage of sales when we go LIVE! I'd say in 95% of cases (or even more) RUN from this. Unless you are really deeply committed to a project, this will probably just be a way of getting free work from you. The jist of this is that you provide some service, coding, design, etc and you will get a "percentage" of the sales when it goes "live". Most of the time...in my experience, it doesn't go "live" at all and you have just given away a lot of free work and time. My advice: charge your usual rate. Or if you really feel strongly you can reduce your fee a little if you really believe that you will get a percentage and that it is a viable venture. Trading / bartering While this can be worthwhile at times, usually what you will receive from the trade will not be worth your own time or the cost of the work you will be asked to do. Being blunt - I have had requests to "trade" for things basically that were worthless to me. Remember you cannot pay your bills with trade but with cash. Friendship Fraud Fraud is a very charged term and yet I use it here Why? You may get requests for free or bargain work from "friends". Over time you can start to feel "robbed" by this. Because they are your friend, they feel they should constantly get a bargain or even free stuff from you. Real friends know the value of your time and your work and compensate appropriately. Keep friendship and business separate. Give great work to your friends, but also, if they are really your friends they will understand that you need to make a living. Doing advance work so that you will get paid! Recently I was asked by a former client to set up a Go Fund Me page and so I asked for the fee I was told that I had to set up the page so that he could afford to pay me for it! Uh, no way. Then there was some attempt at guilting me, and thus the relationship ended. It was a very bad deal by someone used to getting free work out of others. The client needs to be able to fund your work before you start it. You should not be working to fund your own fee. RUN from this kind of arrangement with both feet burning! Excessive meetings, phone calls or being asked to do things outside the business scope Speaking of the Go Fund Me client above, he also had whisked me away for a 3+ hour meeting where his tire blew, then we went around as he wanted to show me his "vision". (and then he could not even "afford" to pay me for the day. This was just part of strange texts requesting me to help him find places to sell his jewelry and other things not appropriate to my business role as a web services provider. Beware of clients wanting excessive demands on your time and this can include texts, phone calls, meeting or other such devices. Unless they are paying for it, they are essentially stealing your time. The nicer or kinder a person you are the higher change you may get taken advantage of. DO NOT let someone take you away for hours longer than you jointly agreed to spend together. This kind of thing will be a very bad deal for you!! What should I do then? Go for things that compensate you fairly for your time. Observe the businesses around you. Especially look at other firms doing the same things you are doing. Would a gas station give away "free gas"? Grocery stores may give samples but generally they do ask you to pay for the food you are buying! Your utility companies probably will not do "trade deals". Your stationary store is not going to do "spec work". If you feel you are being taken advantage of, you probably are. You may have to just walk away from these bad deals and terminate them once you've determined that there is some kind malfeasance or abuse of your services occurring.
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