Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When to Work for Nothing - Shifting Careers Blog - NYTimes.com

First, let’s consider when giving it up for nothing can work in your favor:You have no clients or portfolio. If you left your staff position without any customer testimonials or work samples, you may have to do a freebie or three for a worthy small business to prove to paying clients that you’ve done this before. Pick short-term projects (several days, tops) so you’re not stuck working pro bono until the next decade.Your dream client has shallow pockets. Writers, artists and performers are all too familiar with this phenomenon. Example: The indie magazine that barely pays its freelancers but, thanks to the power of PIE, has landed many of them agents, book deals and art shows. For business consultants, speaking at a highly publicized conference might yield similar results, in the form of new clients and paid speaking gigs. Be sure to build such unpaid work into your annual promotional plan (which can be all of two paragraphs) so you don’t give away too much time each year.You’re donating time to a worthy cause. When donating your services to your favorite nonprofit or charity, my motto is, “Give big.” Think high-profile auctions, galas and fund-raising marathons; the more PIE potential, the better. Although you’re doing the job gratis, send the client a short, informal contract clearly stating what you will and won’t do, and when.
When to Work for Nothing - Shifting Careers Blog - NYTimes.com
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