Reader Interactions


  1. K.M. Sutton says

    Again another great post! As a freelancer, creative person, and has a lot of artists in my family (my cousin is a professional ballerina and choreographer, my aunt a writer, and another aunt who is a designer) those people who do “work” for free aggravate me so much, because they as you wrote, undercuts the rest of us. When I should be getting paid two hundred for my work, and yet I know their are writers out there who take fifty, it is difficult TO make a living.
    I think also most of us struggle with feeling like we are “qualified” (I know I do all the time) BUT if you are willing to do the work (and it is quality work) you should, one STILL get paid, and two it doesn’t matter whether it is the first time you are doing that or the hundredth. Thanks again for writing another amazing post beauty! <3

    • LauraJ says

      I was thinking about this article, and if I was to re-write it, I would focus more on the actual industry and less on the writers.

      Because I did start out working for free and it seemed the only option. I remember trying my hardest to get paid work, and everyone just said you start out for free. Then I began getting paid, but again, I had zero clue how to charge rates. There’s not much help in the UK on what to charge.

      So these writers are so hungry and they take on anything. Now that I get paid, it’s annoying for me to realise what working for free does. I’ve left freelance now and gone full-time, because I’m too new to get regular work in writing.

      And I’m even with one freelance company now, and I know if I stick up for myself and say pay more, they will find another blogger. Whereas full time, they won’t just replace me. How long have you been freelance? xx

      • K.M. Sutton says

        The arts is that one industry that no matter what it is, musician, painter, dancer, or writer you don’t just pay your “dues” you pay it in blood sweat and tears. You really are a starving artist. Unions help, but as you said, there is always that fear that if you advocate for yourself they will find someone else, because someone else WILL do it. It sucks. I have been doing this for five years. Thankfully I have worked with publications that like my work so rehire me. Huge hugs. Doing what you love isn’t always easy, but when you succeed it is the best feeling in the world!

        • LauraJ says

          What kind of writing do you do? Do you have a niche? I’ve now goen into copywriting which I think have more opportunity – particularly in the UK. x

  2. The Life of Jea says

    I don’t understand people who want others to do their work for free.
    I had the same problem when I was working for swedish WeightWatchers (head office), people, even strangers (!!), wanted me to help plan their diet, and how much of different things they should eat etc. I was so frustrated… they kept saying going to a meeting was too expensive when I could do it for them!

  3. vividual says

    You’re 100% right about this and I wish the world could understand this and stop pushing us into working for free (even though it’s mostly just for a while). I made the mistake myself. I went to another country to do an unpaid internship (full time for 6 months!). I was hoping to get paid in the end but unfortunately that didn’t happen. The excuse was: no internships in Australia are paid. This is not even true but I see where they’re coming from. I applied for a lot of positions, 99% unpaid. I loved my internship a lot and I learned even more but in the end I would not do it again because living without any income for 6 months was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. The creative industry shouldn’t be doing this. Things need to change!

    • LauraJ says

      6 months is a long time! I had the same thing, but I was getting some minor freelance work each month. I could basically cover my bills and then have zero money for anything else.
      It was a friend also in writing who eventually said to me, Laura you deserve pay now. I was so conditioned into thinking I was not worth pay yet.
      Some internships really vary as well. I’ve had some where they’ve really helped to teach and show you how to work in the industry. And others where they basically don’t bother with you. I hope it does change soon.

      • vividual says

        Your friend was absolutely right about this. I personally think there’s no person out there who deserves to work for free. There’s always something you can add to your work environment. Even if you just make coffee. You should be paid for it. I’m planning to have my own business one day and I promised myself that I will never get unpaid interns.

        • LauraJ says

          That’s so true. Interns usually get these little tasks that no one else wants to do, but they are still important. I hope you do have your own business one day. People always remember the companies who chose to pay them. 🙂

  4. whatismaria says

    I think that when you’re just starting out in a creative industry, it’s useful to do a bit of free work to get things up and running and build up your portfolio. But after a while, particularly when you have to invest your own time and money into something, asking for proper pay is more than necessary. Even if it’s done for family/friends: after all, I doubt that someone who’s (for example) a trained accountant would willingly spend hours sorting out their friends’ personal finances for free! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important topic xx

    • LauraJ says

      Thank you for reading Maria! In the beginning it’s helpful, but it’s shocking how many jobs I see that ask for qualified freelancers to either work for free, or work for free and receive some products or go to events.
      And it’s exactly that – an accountant wouldn’t spend hours working for free, but a makeup artist or someone creative, and it’s fine. xx

  5. questionsfromateenager says

    This was such an interesting post for me to read, as always you write so incredibly well about an issue dear to your heart. I definitely want to work in the creative industry one day, so hearing your thoughts, tips and advice on it was soooo helpful! Thank youuuuu for this post. xx

    • LauraJ says

      Thank you!!! I’m sure you will get there! I think the biggest advice is to not undersell or undervalue yourself. So many people are willing to take anyone creative for granted. Even if they know they deserve a good pay. xxx

  6. Mrs.S LDN says

    Love this post, couldnt have said it better!! I dont do free lance writing myself but I have come across this now that people know I set up a website and know how to do “that” stuff.
    I like your comment about other free lancers doing for free making it harder for others to get paid…. its a tough perdiciment. Almost like damned if you do and damned if you dont!

    • LauraJ says

      Thank you!! That’s exactly what it’s like. At some point you may have to work for free, and at the same time, doing so makes it harder for you and everyone else to get paid later.
      I think more successful people in the industry need to come out and make a stand against companies who try and get people to write and do social media for nothing. xxx

      • Mrs.S LDN says

        On the sucessful people doing it I doubt that would happen to be honest. Not sure they’d want to rock the boat or jepordise what they have in play. It’s just so frustrating and one of those things that has to have something major happen to get sorted and fixed!

        • LauraJ says

          That’s true. I’d like to think if I become a really big writer one day, I would talk more about it. But then again, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice my career. xxx

  7. Melina Elisa says

    I haven’t been in the writing industry much, but I have definitely have had those sketchy companies that want you to purchase their product so you can write about it! Like why would you contact me saying you want to work with me, but you want me to purchase your product AND write about it. It wasn’t like I knew who this company was or even went searching out to them to collaborate. Those “scam” companies are super frustrating. Great post Laura xx

    Melina |

    • LauraJ says

      Those companies are so annoying! I get emails all the time which say something like – upload a photo of you wearing our product and then get a comission whenever someone goes to buy it. So I basically pay and then try to sell their stuff.
      I don’t think they are all scam. I think a few are low enough to just think they can get away with it. xx

  8. Infinite Living says

    I just love this article!! You either speak my mind or reinforce to me what I haven’t gotten down completely yet. It has been a learning curve to understand how others are viewing my time and create boundaries for myself. Also I agree exposure for the sake of itself is of not much value. Thank you for writing such truthful posts.

    • LauraJ says

      Thank you for reading! It’s nice that we share many of the same views. I’m learning to view my work as a business, and I’m thinking more now about how some try to take me for granted.
      Exposure in writing is not like advertising a product. Unless there’s a strong opportunity for a potential client to see, it seems pointless. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

  9. crystalsandcurls says

    Sometimes I think we’re in sync – I was just thinking about this EXACT thing. I used to freelance (mostly SEO content) and the amount of people that would ask for “just a bit of help” that actually meant “can you just set this up for me?” was INSANE. I’ve actually got a post drafted talking about this in the blogging world and why I personally don’t take brand freebies, you’ve reminded me to go and finish it!xxx

    • LauraJ says

      I’m glad I reminded you and I look forward to reading the post! I’m a little tired of companies wanting me to try random products in exchange for exposure. I will say yes if I would generally buy the product myself, but those times are quite rare. xxx

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