As a creative entrepreneur – artist, designer, actor, model, blogger, singer, freelance writer, editor, videographer, photographer (whatever it is you do) – there’ll be times you’re asked to work for free. Sometimes an offer of “exposure” is legit, but it’s up to you to vet every offer. As a business owner (your business being yourself), you’re tasked with sifting through all of the various “work for free” offers and ascertaining which ones are useless and which ones will lead to actual exposure for you and your brand. Exposure is good. We like exposure. Marketing leads to discovery which leads to business.
As you grow and your name gets bigger and bigger, people will begin to associate your name with certain positive or negative adjectives. These associations are not necessarily always because of what you do. Sometimes you make a name for yourself by just being in the presence of great (or sinister) people. So you need to monitor what brands you allow yourself to be associated with.
+ Next time you run by a “work for exposure” offer, ask yourself:
- Will being associated with, and working with, this person/business/organization boost my authority in my field of expertise?
- Will I be in the presence of captains of industry which could grow my network and help me build business contacts?
- Will be doing this add valuable credibility to my brand for my audience?
- Will it offer me experience I would otherwise not get or could use more of (building on your skill set, learning new stuff about performing on stage for instance)
- Will I have direct access to an audience that will buy my [service, art, expertise]?
- Will I have fun doing the gig?
If the answer to all questions is yes, consider taking the offer and at the very least get all of your expenses covered. At most? Consider negotiating your way into a paid gig.