Should you work for exposure?


So as I sat down to write this post I saw this article in The Independent about how there is a “new” wave of contributors expected to work for free, whilst the publication makes money.

Great article, except it’s not new. Anyone who creates something – writers, designers, photographers, bloggers, web designers, artists, musicians etc at some point has received an email starting something along the lines of this…

“Hi, I just wanted to drop you an email to tell you how much I really love your work. I’m the editor of a new website and we are looking for writers. We would love it if you would write for us…”

Everyone loves a complement right? So that point you’re kinda feeling like this >

But then you carry on reading. And it goes a little something like this…

“the thing is we’re not in a position to pay you at the moment. However, it would be great exposure and it would get your name out to all our readers”…

That joy becomes this…

Let’s face a few facts. That website/magazine that is asking you to write FOR FREE is NOT going to be the next Huffington Post and it’s NEVER going to pay you. EVER. They’re probably not even going to have many visitors, so the chance of exposure is about as likely as Oprah Winfrey adopting me.

So you see, you have two choices…

#1  The honourable choice – JUST SAY NO

#2 Write for free and relish in the fact that you’re ruining it for the rest of us who actually like to get paid.

You see, you need to start valuing your work. If you don’t then no one is going to pay you – EVER. And whilst we’re at it, stop writing articles for less than what you can survive on. If people think they can get articles written for $1 then you know what, let them get what they pay for – crap. Just because you don’t have a tangible product, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get paid appropriately for it. It’s fucking tiring trying to put words on a screen, let me tell you.

Should I work for exposure mini FAQ 

Have I ever written for free? Yep for non-profit sites or to help a friend out. For people who make money or are running a business? No.

How about the Huffington Post? Well, that’s probably one of the only sites where you would get “exposure” and of course, you are aware that it doesn’t pay from the get-go. So only really do it if it suits you.

What if I can’t get any work elsewhere, $1 will buy me a stale bread roll, should I take it? Nope, time to woman/man up and get hustling. No one should be working for a $1 {sites like e-lance, peopleperhour etc you may want to take note that that)

So the next time you receive a request to work for FREE or for “exposure” then give it the respect it deserves and say…

Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

3 thoughts on “Should you work for exposure?”

  1. I agree in part what you are saying. I am struggling with a concept as well, not writing but doing training calls for free. I love doing them and am getting exposure but the company is doing really well and should be compensated for it. At first it was a requirement for a certification I was working towards, but I have surpassed the required hours I needed. I debate whether to give it up for now as I have so much on my plate to getting my business up and running. Thanks for the share.

    1. You simply start charging Anita. If people don’t take you up on it then you’re in no worse situation. You simply cannot continue to work for free, not when you’re trying to run a business and have a life at the same time. We’ve all worked for free at some point whether it’s to get certification or obtain clippings but seriously, you’re a professional, good at what you do, it’s time to make sure that message gets out and you can paid for it!

  2. I AGREE 100%!!!!

    I always say if you pay peanuts you get monkeys!

    I hate sites like fiverr and never go near elance as the rates are ridiculous!

    I get asked to do things for free all the time and it’s just rude. You wouldn’t go into a store and pick something up and walk out without paying so why take my services and expect them for free!!!

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