No one likes the idea of not being paid for their time and effort, but there is a case to be made for working for free. Maybe you gain experience and build your resume. Maybe you get exposure. It's tricky, though, and author Seth Godin suggests a few important questions when deciding whether or not to work for free.
Photo by Michael Cory.
There are some solid reasons for working for free, but there are also some really bad reasons to do it. We've shown you this flowchart to help you decide, and you should also consider the following factors, Godin says:
- Do they pay other people who do this work? Do their competitors?
- Am I learning enough from this interaction to call this part of my education?
- Is this public work with my name on it, or am I just saving them cash to do a job they should pay for?
- If I get paid, is it more likely the organisation will pay closer attention, promote it better and treat it more seriously?
- Do I care about their mission? Can they afford to do this professionally?
- Will I get noticed by the right people, people who will help me spread the word to the point where I can get hired to do this professionally?
- What's the risk to me, my internal monologue and my reputation if I do this work?
These questions sum up a lot of the complexities of deciding whether or not to work for free, but Godin has some additional, interesting insight over at his blog. Check it out at the link below.
Should you work for free? [Seth Godin]