Why Not to Work for Free: Starving Artist

The Hardest part of building a business as a creative is charging without feeling like a sellout. In finding your first clients without a portfolio you will be inclined to feel like we have to do our first projects for free or for “exposure.” Let’s be honest, unless that client has millions of followers, exposure is BS! Working for free takes away from you way more than it will ever benefit you.  

  1. You don’t need a Portfolio- Most of the time your potential clients are not even looking at your portfolio, or they have a quick glance. If they are looking for someone to complete a project for them, they most likely don’t even know what they are looking for. Sell them on the experience they are going to have with you versus someone else. 
  2. Devalues your project & your time- If a client isn’t investing in you then they will not value your work. 90% of the time they will not put in their part of their project, and it will take extra effort to get the ball rolling. 
  3. No boundaries- You already started without boundaries, this means your client is going to demand more. When we are doing something for free this opens the door for your clients to ask for more, and if you started out not charging, they will expect you to not charge for anything they add to the project. In their mind you already said FREE, anything you try to sell them after will have no value to them. 
  4. If your prospect isn’t ready to invest in your project then he/she isn’t ready for the project. The only thing you can do is help them see the value your project will give to them and give them the time to prepare. A client that doesn’t have the time or the money to invest will not give you the “exposure” you are looking for. If you do it for free, most likely your project will sit there and not be seen. 
  5. You might not be following through- Most of the time the reason you are not getting your first clients it is because you are not following through. There is no value in a company that doesn’t follow through. Yes, clients do play hard to get. 

Don’t become the starving artist, set your value, become a THRIVING artist. 

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