**When you read this, remember that I’m not talking about the times when you decide that you’ll work pro bono, different scenario altogether.
If you’re a freelancer then I can guarantee that, at some point, you’ve had someone approach you and request you work for free, weaving a story of how your uncompensated hard work will only serve to benefit you in the end with endless future projects, referrals, and the ever-important portfolio building.
Over the years I’ve found a remedy that will either result in payment or the retreat of a waste-of-time-client. My method; Remove the anonymity that the requester hides behind. I insist on a real-time, vocal, meeting to discuss my “great opportunity”.
By calling their bluff and insisting on a face-to-face meeting, a phone call, video conference, etc, you have effectively removed the one thing that enables them to propose such
a peice of !@#% an awesome offer in the first place - the fact that you are a living, breathing, person, (trying to make a living and pay bills), and not just another email in their mailbox.
One of three things will happen:
- You talk to the person directly and are able to use your powers to educate them and transact a deal that benefits both parties (Huzzah! A win!)
- You’ll never hear from them again (Well, that’s a win too! Huzzah!)
- They’re still adamant that you’re better off investing your time and talent for their betterment, not your own - and are trying to convince you of the same (Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Walk away knowing that you’ve saved yourself from a nightmare. Huzzah!)
Be confident in your abilities and your worth, and next time you are approached to work for free - try talking to them and see what happens.