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The 7 stages of being asked to work for free

Understanding your emotional response to being asked to work for free is the first step to feeling better about those so-called clients.

Whether you’re just starting out as a freelance illustrator or graphic designer or you’ve been doing it for decades, one thing never changes – someone always wants you to work for free. The email lands in your inbox innocently enough; you read through the project and it sounds fun and then you see that word. The one word that immediatelys ruins everything. Exposure.

Nothing you do as a designer is free. Your time and creative talent is precious and these pesky so-called clients should know better. You pay with your time, your experience, the money you spent on university, college or training, the bills you pay to keep your office running or your heating on at home, your tools and subscriptions. This design lark can get expensive, so when someone tells you that working for free would be good for you, it can be difficult not to throw your computer out the window.

We feel your pain, friends, and we know exactly what you’re going through. So with a tongue firmly planted in cheek, we go through the seven emotional stages of being asked to work for free.

01. Shock

Chances are the first emotion you’ll feel when being asked to work for free is shock

The first time you find out that a client wants you to work for free, chances are your jaw will drop to the floor and you’ll react with a sort of numb disbelief. Don’t worry though – this is a natural response and will help you from feeling the true impact of the situation.

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The WebRecital is a dedicated User Interface/User Experience professionals who come together to provide design and research workshops, portfolio reviews, and educational outreach to the greater Seattle area.

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