To Free Or Not To Free? That Is The Question

Are you trying to build your portfolio? Test a new style or offer something that’s “new”? Should you offer doing said service for free?

My opinion: no.

Why? People will take advantage of you.

Look, you’re in business for yourself. In that, you need to make money to be a successful business. Yes, doing what you love is great, but doing what you love with the lights off and no food in the fridge is not. There has to be an equal balance.

If you really feel that guilty about charging someone because you’re starting out, offer free services for your least expensive services.

For example-- if you’re creating a logo for someone, maybe design a business card for them for free, but I wouldn’t offer them a free logo.

What if they get big like Nike? Then they’re profiting off your work and you’re broke. Also, not a lot of companies will operate they way Nike did when they’re brand went global (read about Nike here).

If it’s the first logo you’re designing for someone, maybe a discount. The exception for me is a family member, but make sure you still have a contract (for record and good practice) and state over and over that this is only for them.

In my experience, the more people found out what I did was free, the more they started expecting it, so I closed that done real quick.

And you know what? The more you keep doing things for free, the more you’ll feel the need to keep being the “free” person, because you’ll have this guilt inside of you (is it guilt? Obligation? Sure).

So generally, no, don’t do something major for free. It’s not fair to you and you have to think of yourself first.

It’s OK to be selfish as a businessperson. If you feel uneasy, think of what will be less of a cost to you. If people are seeking you out, they trust you.

So have faith in yourself, buckle down on your cost and be confident in it.

Until next time,

C