Working for FREE: The Debate

You want exposure? You want business? Do things for FREE.

In the early tech days, when things were a bit more “zen” and less business-driven (I’m likely to have ruined that :)), people were doing things for free for the greater benefit of the community. Although these things were done in good faith, I struggle to believe that in the grand scheme of things they didn’t have a little bit of strategy tied to them.

And so, the idea of doing things for “free” may remain a big debate, but not for me. This is something I stand very firmly on.

I get very well compensated for my time and efforts and I still do things for free. So why? Because I am building VALUE. Somewhere down the road I’m going to want something from you — a video view, a book purchase, a like, a share, etc — and when that time comes, you’re likely to do what I’m looking for. Why? Because I’ve done something for you in the past, and in a weird way, I’m almost guilting you to do what I need 🙂

Now, some will say that I had an easier starting point and that people can’t opt to work for free because they’ve got bills to pay. And I get that. But the fact that people don’t consider doing things for free to further their exposure and build value within their community as part of a larger strategy is beyond me.

It’s those little “jabs” that are going to make it much easier for you to land those larger “right hooks” when the time presents itself.

This isn’t about elitism either. I hear people say all the time that you need to “pay the people” and “pay for the quality of the work.” And I totally agree. BUT, money is not the only way to pay people for their efforts. Simply giving people an at-bat, the exposure, is an absolute way to compensate people, and is something I very strongly believe in. I’m sure there’s some of you that may have gone romantic on the issue, and completely disagree with me, and that’s okay. I respect that. But truthfully, I don’t think there’s a single person who’s achieved a substantial amount of success that hasn’t done anything for free as a strategic chess move.

So if you’re asking me, the answer is a resounding YES. I will not be sold by anybody that hasn’t employed this type of spec work because I am truthfully ALL-IN on the strategy behind it. 


Know a business that needs more exposure? Show them this and fill them in on the power of doing things for FREE 😉

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