Blogging Freelance copywriting

Freelancers: know your worth – don’t give it away for free

If you’re a freelancer, it’s highly likely that you’ve been asked to do the odd piece of work for free. The offer in return is exposure, a link to your website, or perhaps a promise of work down the line.

Today I received an email asking if I could write blog posts for a business’ website. Great! But then sadly (and unsurprisingly) came the words “this work would be unpaid”. Instead of paying me for my time and skill they offered a link to my website and made a weak allusion to paid work somewhere down the line.

I’d like to say this was a one off, but it happens all the time. Let’s call it what it is – they’re asking for a freebie.

When I was starting out I was tempted to agree to these requests, but Mr M always said that I didn’t need to and he was right. Work came in and people paid me for the work I delivered. That’s how business works.

Don’t think anyone is doing you a favour by offering “exposure” or work down the line. Businesses want to increase their SEO and reach with quality, well written content and they want to do it without spending any time or money on it. They want you to do that instead. First, surely they have a marketing budget (and if they don’t, they should) and second, why on earth should you give them your time and expertise for free? Don’t let people treat you with such little respect.


I’ve been crafting my trade over the last 6 years and more – why should anyone benefit from all of my experience, time and effort without paying for it?

I’m a talented, experienced, freelance worker who has bills to pay and kids to feed. I have clients that respect me as a professional worker and, crucially, that pay me for my services. Would you ask an accountant to work for free? A plasterer? “Hey, do this for me – I can’t pay you, but I’ll put a link on my website… ” You can imagine the answer you’d get.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I’ve been sorely tempted to say yes to these requests. As a freelancer, there are busy times and quiet times, and the doubts start when work is slow to come in. Maybe this is it? What if I never get another contract? That’s when these requests for free work have power.

If this happens to you, stop for a minute and remember who you are and what you’ve done in your professional life so far. Know your value, respect yourself, and don’t give your time and skills away for free.

Credit: The Oatmeal