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Should You WORK FOR FREE? Here’s What I Think

work for free or not

I once saw a Facebook status saying “if you want to be an influencer, don’t reply to the messages.”

The person was implying that most of the influencers don’t reply to the private messages, so you should do the same thing to look like an influencer.

I felt so bad about this person – I was being empathetic to him.

You won’t ever find me spreading negativity or doing trash talk to someone; it’s not who I am.

I don’t remember degrading or insulting someone on my blog ever since I started writing this blog.

The reason I started off explaining myself is that this blog post might attract some heat because I constantly come across opinions on social media about not working for free.

If you ask me, should someone work for free?

I’d say that if someone is starting out, wanting to build relationships, and trying to make an impact, then YES, that person should definitely work for free.

If someone has a decent experience, and a client is trying to rip them off by cutting a deal to get something done for free, then maybe NOT – because it seems fishy.

Have I done something for Free?

You may ask this, especially if you’re against working for free.

So the answer is YES.

  • I wrote many guest posts – those were free. Read this and that.
  • I covered many events in my vlog for free. Watch this and that one.
  • I recently spoke at a freelancing event for free.
  • I help out a lot of local Pakistani audience through my YouTube channel for free.
  • I continuously offer experts and influencers about the things that I could do for them for free.

4 Reasons Why You Should Work for Free

1) Experience

When you work for someone you admire or who is ahead of you, you get to learn new things. I’m obsessed with going through different experiences because it’s a practical way to move forward, especially the lesson practicality teaches you is unmatchable. When you work for free, you earn experience, exposure, and education that may not be attained otherwise.

2) Portfolio

Your portfolio is a reflection of your credibility, authenticity, and effectiveness. One of the reasons why working for free is a great idea is that you get to build your portfolio. A lot of companies prefer to work with someone who has already done some work – working for free for someone would enable you to build your portfolio.

3) Relationships

If you’re not getting hired by clients, you have the opportunity to work for free to build relationships with new people. If you offer someone your service for free, if it could benefit them, they’re likely to say YES to you, which might be a great deal for you. Think about this, you get to share their umbrella or work under their brand name. Plus, you get to connect with them on a different level when you work with them. So relationship-building could be a reason to work for free.

>My eBook on Freelancing: My Answer to How to Get Hired Through a Blog

4) Impact

Sometimes, you need to look at the long-term goal rather than the short term; you’d stumble upon the opportunities that might not look lucrative on the outside, but they could benefit you in the future. The impact is one of those things that may not suddenly appear, but with the passage of time, it starts to show up in the form of good-will, credibility, and exposure.

Conclusion

I’m a big advocate of working for free if you have no experience, exposure, and impact.

I respect the opinions of those who say one should never work for free; I humbly disagree with them.

My point is that it may work for many of us who have been working for years, and have managed to gather some attention, but a lot of beginners have to go through that tunnel yet. If we bombard them with this approach, they might miss out on a lot of opportunities. All they need is to take a step forward and grab those opportunities to earn experience, build a portfolio, flourish relationships, and make an impact.

I’d rather hire a newbie who is working for free for someone than someone doing nothing and waiting for a paid gig to get started.

The “doing” is the best strategy to succeed; working for free might put you on a pedestal to earn 10x.

Would you work for free as a starter or you think it’s not a great strategy to get started?

Let’s talk in the comments section!

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21 Comments

  1. Hey Hassan,
    I agree with you.
    Neil Patel stands out amongst the influencer only because of offering much of his work for free.
    I got motivated by you for free.
    Even I read this post of yours for free 🙂
    Much Thanks

    1. Hello Umar!

      Thanks, brother. I’m glad my blog post helped you.

      My entrepreneurial mind always pushes me to do something, and therefore, it often gets translated into my work, especially content.

      Thanks for always checking out my blog post!

      Are we connected on Facebook or Twitter?

  2. Hassaan, I’m glad you talked about this! The reason I also encourage others to work for free is that experience and relationships are far important and worth experimenting than earning some money. I know getting paid is what we all want because who doesn’t want to earn? But, it won’t be a good strategy to just wait for 6 months to win a monster gig, and not work for free. I totally agree to this and have worked/written for free. And, if someone has just started or struggling to find paid work – why not write for free and build a portfolio?

    Even, I give advanced blogging advice for free just to help and motivate other bloggers out there. And, just waiting for the right time to make my experience earn me money. I also see it’s coming soon 🙂

    1. Hello Arfa,

      It’s great that you liked my narrative. A lot of successful entrepreneurs and bloggers recommend working for free. I do believe that it can provide any starter a pedestal to get some attention.

      I’m glad you left a comment.

      Thanks.

  3. I agree with you Hassaan – I don’t see anything wrong with it. Rather like volunteering our time. Normally we like what we do – so there is no harm in it – but many advantages. Plus we can learn as well – about different people, some of their knowledge perhaps and what you have mentioned here of course. I have even gone so far as offering my services for free when asked the cost and asked that they pay me in “their” value for what I have accomplished. Maybe I am a little different – but I like that 🙂
    Thank you for the very good post.

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Thank you so much for your comment. It’s good to know that you offered your services for free when asked the cost. It seems like you choose long-term achievements over short-term gains. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      Thanks, again, for your comment.

  4. Hey Hassaan,
    you’re right about working for free. If you don’t have experience- then you need to get it.
    But to get it- you need to work.

    And nobody is going to pay you to learn, without you being able to really contribute.
    So, believing that you absolutely need to be payed for everything you do is a limiting belief, one that stops all growth and learning.
    Like you said, best strategy is doing and what you don’t get right away, you’re sure to have in time, but 10X-ed

  5. Hi Nikola,

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    I absolutely agree with you. Plus, it all comes down to the mindset. If you’re trying to do something, but you’re not ready to put in the work, then things won’t start to happen for you.

    I so much believe in “doing” because it takes you further and you get to learn and experience new things, which couldn’t be possible otherwise.

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