Saying yes to uncompensated work can be a smart move.
I’ve done a handful of pro bono gigs over the years that changed my career forever.
But when we donate our services, our job as independent professionals is to set a precedent of value. To always remind buyers what the market pays us, even if they don’t. And to always alert buyers that our time isn’t just valuable – it’s billable.
Without that declaration, without taking a stand for our own professional worth, we not only cheapen our instrument, but we also earn a reputation as a doormat. And that makes it increasingly hard to get fully compensated work in the future.
We are what we charge, but only if the market knows what we charge.