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Free Work, should you do it or not?

Free Work, should you do it or not?

As a freelance Graphic Designer, I value my time very carefully. If I do any type of work, I most definitely need to be compensated for it. Time is money. Freelancers don’t have the luxury of a stable income directly deposited into your bank account every 2 weeks. Whatever work we put in, is what we get. We have to work twice as hard for our money.

There are times, however, someone reaches out to you for design advice. An old friend of mine emailed me a few days ago, asking if I can point her in the right direction so that she can learn how to make a flyer for a cultural event she is a part of. 

I get these types of asks from friends a lot and I take the time to give them information, but it goes in one ear and out the other. They don’t really care to put in the work and expect me to do it for them for free. It got to the point where I didn’t want to give free handouts anymore. When I receive inquiries like these, I simply ask myself “What’s in it for me.” Selfish right? Or is that working smart… I’m gladly to share my knowledge, but to people who actually take the time to listen and learn.

Well my old friend humbly expressed that she had no idea how to start but she’s taking the lead on promoting this event that she truly cares about. It was obvious that she was passionate about this and she was willing to do the actual work and learn the process and art. That enough gave me the answer to the question “what’s in it for me.”

I did the simple flyer for her and she even offered to promote me and have my Instagram handle on the flyer. She brought it back to her event committee and they too posted it on their instagrams and gave me recognition. I don't know what she told them, but from the reaction and gratitude I received from people I didn't even know, showed my friend's genuine appreciation and support. That alone made a probono project worthwhile.

By doing this for her, I kept my relationship strong with an old friend, gained new ones, brought in website/social media traffic with 2 potential leads reaching out for design collaboration, a dope ass illustration and my continuous joy in learning about Latinx culture!

From time to time, it’s alright to do free work if you know in your heart that you’ll see a good outcome in terms of building relationships and good vibes! Thank you, friend for reaching out and for your continuous support.

Much love always,

- Ar

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