I have been struggling lately with the concept of FREE FREELANCE. Aka not getting paid or not knowing what to charge for my work. Every time I’ve been the designer in a designer/client contract [project, assignment, what have you], the payment has been so dependent on our relationship and the situation, I haven’t been able to establish any kind of system.
I find myself being sympathetic and, in a sense, a complete control freak. I want to see things done well, and when I see the potential for a non-designer to do design work, my fists ball up and I get a little antsy. I couldn’t be a teacher, I’d just want to do all my pupils’ work for them. I want to see design flourish; I want to see things done well.
Being the poor, lost, little thing that I am, I see myself in others’ situations. I couldn’t afford to hire a ‘professional’ to move me across state lines; to fix my car; to construct me a desk. Wonderful people have helped me with things I couldn’t do myself, so why shouldn’t I share my gifts with others? Because I need to pay my bills, that’s why! My friend, Jeff, suggested that if I can’t find it in my heart to charge someone for my work, say that in place of compensation, my client needs to find me more work to do for people in their circle. Tell them to give out my business card like candy!
Solid advice. I’ve been working on a nine panel timeline for the Dakota County Historical Society recently (it’s near completion), and I went into the job knowing I wouldn’t be paid, but they are just such lovely people I thought it would be okay. Nothing Earth shattering… just laying a couple photos on a page.
I didn’t expect anything in return, but they splashed me all over their annual meeting and gave me a sweet, considered gift. Rebecca, the research librarian, and I are fellow snarky women (she says I restored her faith in today’s youth) (I love her) and so she got me a play called The Women by Clare Boothe Luce, (I guess her husband started Time magazine or something…). She also got me the movie it was made into, and a big, beautiful book about the author called Rage For Fame by Sylvia Jukes Morris. Gosh, she’s cool. I’m jazzed to enjoy all three.