Releasing the Pressure to Work for Free
What you are an artist or a crafter, it can be a bit too much for someone to wrap their heads around the fact that you actually need to MAKE MONEY. To do things, like, you know, EAT.
Most of the times it’s your very own friends and family who are the WORST when it comes to this kind of a thing. “Can you make me this?” “Can you fix this?” “Can you design me this?” “Can you critique this?”
Considering that I have SO MUCH FREE TIME, I respond, “Well, of course! I’ll get on that right away!”
So my list of freebie jobs for friends and family builds and builds, until I don’t have time for the jobs that actually pay the bills. I’m not going to tell you to NEVER do some favor jobs for people you care about, but I am going to warn you that if you give an inch, people tend to ask for a mile. So…
Know where to draw the line.
One favor for a friend is one thing. For example, if your a knitter and your friend’s hat is starting to fray. Go ahead and fix it for her. When she brings you a box full of hats that need fixed, tell her you charge by the hour. Period.
Let them know your favor counts as a gift for an upcoming event.
Right now I’m designing invitations and bridesmaid jewelry for my friend who’s getting married, along with a dozen other favors for her wedding. These favors are going to count as her wedding gift, not in addition to. Same thing when I design announcements for my friends who are graduating, and so on.
Don’t be afraid to name your price.
When a random co-worker asks me to make a pair of earrings for her, I’ll say right off the bat how much that will cost. I’m not about to make the earrings, and then hope she’ll ask me what she owes afterwards. Chances are, she’ll just say “thank you!” and think that they are free of charge. I’m NOT exaggerating, this has happened to me before. Save yourself the trouble and give your quote ahead of time.
Let people know how much you NORMALLY charge.
If you DO agree to work on a project (as a gift) for someone, for free, be sure to let them know how much it will cost next time. This will also help you in the matter of other people seeing your work from this person and making inquiries in regards to it. It also doesn’t hurt to inform people just how valuable your time really is. Maybe they’ll think twice before asking again.