Last week I came upon a post where a colleague was offered an “epic business offer” to work 16 hours a week for three months—um, FOR FREE—until the client’s business launched.
Once the business launched, she was told, the client “planned” to “promote” her to paid intern status.
This client was in her target market and she felt could potentially open doors to other clients within that industry.
What she wanted to know from the group was if they had this same opportunity, would they accept it.
And every single person on there was all “Yeah, go for it!” “I’d jump on it in a heartbeat!”… rah-rah sis koom bah.
I thought I was on a business forum.
Obviously I was mistaken because not one person spoke up about the fact that this wasn’t a business deal whatsoever.
Potential is not a form of payment. And clients don’t “promote” you to anything; you’re not an employee.
This was a con for free work by some slimeball preying on a new business owner’s naivete and lack of business experience.
Hope springs eternal. But REAL friends don’t let other friends jump off a cliff.
The ol’ “dangling carrot” is one of the oldest ploys in the book by those who would devalue others.
If their “epic” deal is so great and such a sure thing, they should be investing in it themselves by PAYING for the services of others fairly and squarely. Let them play games with their own business’s time, money and profits.
If you are ever presented with an “epic opportunity” such as this, let me assure you, it is anything but.
Before doing anything foolish and wasting your precious business time and resources on those who don’t deserve you, take a look at these entertaining videos and blog posts that will really open your eyes:
1. Please Design a Logo for Me. With Piecharts. For Free. Hysterical, but quite illustrative blog post by David Thorne on the kind of client who tries to get free work with the lure of “great potential” and “future business.”
2. Pay the Writer. Video clip of Harlan Ellison rant about people expecting writers, creatives and others in service-based professions (like ours) to give their work for free.
3. The Vendor Client Relationship in Real World Situations. Video humorously illustrating how cheapskate clients try to get you to work for free just because you’re in a service-based business.
4. Are You on Sale? Stop Giving Yourself Away for Free. One of my own blog posts on the topic of illegal internships.
5. Don’t fall for dangling carrot syndrom. Another of my own blog posts about not falling for unbalanced “opportunities.”
Free does not pay your bills. It doesn’t pay your electricity. It doesn’t keep a roof over your head. It doesn’t put gas in your car. It doesn’t buy food. It doesn’t take care of your kids or give them opportunities.
You deserve better and those who depend on you deserve for you to be paid and hold yourself in higher esteem.
Say no to spec work and giving yourself away for free. Think long and hard before you devalue yourself (and teach others to devalue you) like this.
Anyone who wants you to work for free is not a legitimate prospect. Walk away.