My Thoughts on Working For Free

posted by Andrea | 03/1/2012

I’ve been working for myself for almost 5 years now — and it definitely hasn’t always been easy, or even always enjoyable. There were many, many days when I wondered why I was working so hard for “nothing” — and I often thought about returning to the corporate world, just because working for myself was really overwhelming and stressful at times.

However, I’m so glad I stuck with it and fought through those difficult months {and years} of long hours and hardly any pay… because now I’m doing what I love, working from home, AND actually making money :)

Yes, I make money doing my job and I suspect that you also make money at your job — after all, that’s what a job is!

Should I Work For Free?

While I’m certainly NOT against volunteering, charitable giving, bartering, or offering free/discounted services when the opportunity presents itself; I often have to remind myself and others that this is MY JOB, and I can’t work for free!

You would never expect a plumber, electrician, web-designer, or accountant to work for free; so why should I be expected to work for free just because I’m a stay-at-home-mom who “sits at my computer all day”?

Maybe I have a more flexible work schedule than most traditional jobs, maybe my daily commute is shorter, and maybe my office dress code allows PJ’s until noon — but this is still my job. I’ve worked REALLY hard and have made tons of sacrifices to get where I am today. I have goals and dreams too — and I’m not going to reach them by always working for free!

Yet I’m always amazed at how many people expect me to work for free! 

I frequently get emails with 3 or 4 images of someone’s room/closet, the dimensions of their space, and a novel-length message describing what their issues are and how they would like their space to function. The emails conclude by asking me to reply with a few design ideas, links to organizing products I would recommend, and any other advice I am willing to give them — all for free of course!

I get just as many requests asking me to donate my services for certain organizations, speak for different groups of people, write for other websites, and train people to become professional organizers… all out of the goodness of my heart. And while I am generally a pretty nice person, I just can’t do that all for free.

I’ve even been asked to put advertisements on my blog… for free! Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t the whole concept of advertising to PAY someone else to promote your products? Yeah, I don’t do that for free either :)

In these situations, I usually just send a quick email explaining that although I would love to help them with their requests, I’m extremely busy and can’t always offer my services for free. I make sure to direct them to any blog posts that might be helpful for their situation… and I also provide links to my services and my advertising information.

Sometimes these people become clients, sometimes I never hear from them again, and sometimes they respond back saying how offended they are that I would ever think to charge them for my advice and my time!

After all, I’m JUST a stay-at-home-mom who sits at my computer all day long!

If you work from home, you know as well as I do that there are many pros AND cons of this type of work – especially once you throw kids into the mix!

And just like most jobs… it’s just not worth all the time and hassle to do it for free — at least not for me!

 

I suspect I’m not the only work-from-home-person who has run into these issues before!

And while I sometimes feel rude, money-hungry, or like I’m a horrible person when I explain that I can’t work for free; I just have to remind myself that this is my job!  

I love getting a great deal as much as the next person, but I also feel like my services have value and shouldn’t just be “given away” for free — at least not all the time!

Finding Balance

Now before you leave thinking bad thoughts about me, let me reassure you that I definitely DO donate lots of my time, my services, and my money to people and organizations I have a personal connection with or causes I feel strongly about.

I also happily respond to tons of emails and comments each month with helpful information for readers looking to start up a blog, start an organizing business, or just with general questions {seriously, LOTS of emails!} I don’t mind doing this at all because I know how many questions I had when I first started my blog and my business… and I still go to other more experienced bloggers with my own questions.

I have no problem being helpful or providing information, I just don’t understand why some people expect me to give up hours and hours of my time for free — like I have nothing better to do.

Yes, I love my job… yes I love being helpful… but no, I can’t work for free! 

What are your thoughts on working for free?

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56 comments

  1. Shelly

    03/01/2012

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working for free as long as that is your decision. I found that it was more difficult to gain respect from others when I worked at home. Having the flexibility worked well for my family, but others continued to see me as a stay at home mom available to help them out with childcare or errands. I think people look at blogging as a hobby, something you can do whenever the mood strikes. It’s up to you to keep the professionalism of your job in the forefront. Be careful to make sure you always respect what you are doing, and that will rub off on people.

    [Reply]

  2. Anne

    03/01/2012

    I know exactly what you mean! This year, I’m living in Spain while my husband is playing pro basketball over here, and I’ve been giving private English lessons and tutoring. I haven’t been asked to give a lesson for free, but I feel bad a lot of times charging people just for me to talk with them in English – Its so easy for me! But my husband reminds me that it is my time, my inconvenience (I go to their houses), sometimes I have to pay for travel to get to their houses, so I try to remember that I could be doing other things with my time, and I shouldn’t feel bad for charging because this is my job!

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  3. Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead

    03/01/2012

    There is a major difference between deciding to volunteer yourself and people just expecting you to give your time up for free. I’ve been working at home since 2006 and a WAHM for 3 years now. My time working and with my family is worth a lot to me…and I let people know that. If you blog professionally or have another business on the side, no one should ever make you feel like they deserve your advice (which most ppl pay for) for free!

    I get emails from people all the time regarding my blog, who clearly never bother to look at the advertising page. They offer nothing or a few bucks to promote their site & products — and I know there are bloggers out there who do it. But I value my blog, my readers and what I’ve built in the last 6 years too much to just pimp it out to anyone.

    I think that if you feel the cause is worthwhile and it speaks to you, then by all means work something out pro bono. But if it’s just a company trying to use your fame to hawk their wares, let them know that you do actually charge for those services and aren’t willing to give them a free ride. There’s no shame in that at all!

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  4. Jennifer

    03/01/2012

    I also work from home as a content manager for a website, and people think I do nothing all day but surf the web. I don’t understand why working from home is hard to understand. It is exactly the same as if I go into the office and did my job, except my office is in my apartment. I work a solid 8 hours. And just like any other job, if I do my job I expect to get paid for those hours.

    I completely agree with your requests. It is rude for people to get upset when you say you honestly don’t have the time. PLUS you have a little one now. Don’t feel undervalued or pressured by people. There will always be people who bring negativity and feel like they deserve something they didn’t earn. Just focus on your family and all the blessings you have. Don’t let people’s rudeness get you down.

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  5. Julie @ The family CEO

    03/01/2012

    Great post! I think we have an especially hard time with this as women. And as bloggers, many of us started out as hobbyists so we have to train ourselves to think in a new way.I like Shelly’s point that if we respect what we’re doing others will too.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup, for some reason we let ourselves feel guilty if we don’t volunteer and give our skills away for free. I know a few male bloggers and they have told me they hardly ever get these requests — so it really is just women!

    [Reply]

    Janet Reply:

    I loved this post and I have just started working from home writing content and blogging. I have already been taken advantage of re: time and effort.
    But to hear that men hardly ever get asked – its absurd!

    [Reply]

  6. jodimichelle

    03/01/2012

    Loved this. So true …

    [Reply]

  7. Deb

    03/01/2012

    So, can you come over for coffee and take a look at my closet! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, actually this cracked me up, my husband has a professional job (not a doctor, but close) in the medical career and people will ask him random questions or even call on the weekends or evenings and ask a question even when he is not their provider……..I can hear his end of the conversation and it is sooo funny……….no matter what job you have, everyone wants to get what you have to offer for free……

    [Reply]

    Deb Reply:

    meant to say medical field… ;)

    [Reply]

  8. ShannonP

    03/01/2012

    You absolutely should NOT feel bad about telling people you don’t work for free. I am also a WAHM and just like you, I actually WORK for a living.

    I could write a huge comment post here agreeing with all of your points and about how frustrating it is when people think that because someone works at home, they are just “playing,” but I need to get back to my own job! LOL

    Never, ever, ever feel bad about charging for your services, whether it is advice or physically clamoring around in someone’s closet. Your services and advice are absolutely just like a plumber or lawyer or any other service professional who charges for their knowledge. If folks get angry over that, that’s on them, not on you.

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  9. CATHY PENNELL

    03/01/2012

    I agree with you Andria. This is a business and with all your experience and knowledge which is invalueable it shouldn’t come free and people shouldn’t expect this.

    [Reply]

  10. JD

    03/01/2012

    At one point my my life I was simply unable to get the courage up to tell people I charge. I finally burnt myself out with all the free consultation and quit. Not a great solution but it was what it was at that time. Now, I would speak up and tell them what I charge.

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  11. Truffles Magazine

    03/01/2012

    Andrea,

    First of all your entitled to family time and free time to yourself. Second, it can be hard working from home because people do not really get the concept, I am waiting for the day when people realize how productive it can be. Volunteering is a choice one that you should initiate, SOL is a very big piece of your at home business (I think many bloggers, are blogging for fun and so they have a hard time comprehending it being your livelihood). When people reach out to you firmly remind them that SOL & its services is your family business and that you can’t provide free services, plain and simple – as far as ridiculous questions (like free advertising – you can’t stop these emails from flooding your inbox so just respond with the link to the advertising page & prices).

    Just remember your a service business NOT a not-for profit and people often need to be reminded of this.

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    I am laughing right now. I could not figure out what SOL was (in the comment above) because in our house it has a completely different meaning. Duh! Simple Organized Living not S*** Out of Luck!

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  12. Sarah

    03/01/2012

    this one is close to my heart especially right now. In addition to being a SAHM and working part-time for my husbands business, I take in all kinds of sewing jobs. If I had a dollar for the amount of times I receive a look of “what your really going to charge me for something you love to do?” Its shocking and sadly my mind goes to that place of “if its so easy – you do it!” There are a few people I gladly trade my expertise with theirs instead of $$$. I think the part that grates me the most is when a client assumes I won’t charge, or someone might know how to sew a pillow therefore they can construct or fit a wedding dress – again my mind goes to “if its so easy – you do it.” Something similar happens to my husband with his music just because he plays at a professional level it is assumed he’ll play for nothing at their little get together…. grrr
    like I said a topic close to my heart at the moment

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes sarah, I can see how that would be frustrating! sewing is one of those things that people think, “oh, she can just quick do that for me” — for free! And music is another tough one… because music is always viewed as a “hobby”.
    I think people are so used to thinking that a JOB is something you don’t enjoy… well some of us are just lucky enough to have jobs that we do enjoy!

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  13. Annette {Simple Mom}

    03/01/2012

    It’s sad that someone would be offended to you saying no. All I can think is that someone felt like they were your friend bc they have read so much about you in the blog?? I don’t know.

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  14. Janet

    03/01/2012

    I think you are very kind to answer the people that want free advice with links to posts and services. I would probably just delete their email.

    [Reply]

  15. Dena

    03/01/2012

    I hired Andrea for a phone consultation for a space problem in my business. I have struggled for years with this issue. Within one hour my problem was solved. I am so happy. It was the best money I ever spent in my business. I have tried hiring others and it became overdone, expensive and of little use. Andrea is brilliant. I am so thankful she is persevering through the ups and downs of her business and new motherhood.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Dena!
    I really enjoyed working with you too and can’t wait to see some “after” photos of your organized space :)

    [Reply]

  16. Pamela

    03/01/2012

    I get this ALL THE TIME in my line of work. I am a professional church musician. I have a BA, MA, and almost-completed DMA (writing the dissertation as we speak). People think that music is my “hobby”, that I do it “for fun”, and wouldn’t it be so nice if I just volunteered my “gifts” for the church.

    NO!!!!!!!!

    This is my vocation (not my hobby), it is often fun (but many times not), and it’s a skill that I’ve honed through many years of education and practice (not a gift).

    I hear ya, Andrea.

    [Reply]

  17. Michele OJ

    03/01/2012

    Hello Andrea,
    I love your post. Actually I love your whole website, blogg and posts you put up on a daily basis.
    I’m running in to this problem all the time.
    I planned a whole wedding for a friend before (for free)
    I organized and managed a open house for a Tupperware consultant, to gain more business (for free)
    and many many more things.
    My recent free work was: Organizing, cleaning and rearranging a bath- and bedroom for a family member. It took me a whole week. Turned out awesome and great, and I received $4 for it. (guess I can’t say it was for free)

    Everytime this happens I tell myself, never ever again!!!

    You are doing the right thing, and I’m still learning. Thank you for this post.
    You are doing a great job. ;-)

    Michele OJ

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    Sometimes at the beginning of a new venture, we need to choose to “give away” our time and services in order to get the word out and to gain the experience that we need so that we can use that experience as a reference. However, once a business is established, it is important to set boundaries and specify them at the beginning so everyone knows what to expect.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Ann, I couldn’t agree more! Yes, there are most definitely times when start-up businesses MUST give things away for free… I did that too. However, that can make the situation even worse after the business becomes more established b/c those same people might still expect the freebie service {believe me, I know from experience!} I suppose it’s all just a balancing act :)

    [Reply]

  18. Julie

    03/01/2012

    Ugh, yes!! Though I myself am a SAHM who isn’t doing any work-at-home stuff currently, my husband is a “computer geek” who loves messing around with HTML and building computers and such…but he has a full time (50+ hours a week) job which doesn’t leave him much time for a side business OR puttering about with computers….yet EVERYONE and their brother call my husband whenever they are having computer issues!!

    My mom even called us one night at almost 11pm when we were already sound asleep (DH gets up for work at 5am) and I answered the phone, heart pounding cause I thought something was seriously wrong for her to be calling at that hour. No, she was just having a hard time accessing her email and she was freaking about some program my sis had downloaded (not even a virus)!!

    It gets pretty annoying when half of our precious little time as a family gets eaten up by people asking for help for free…and my husband has a hard time asking people for money for his help!!

    [Reply]

  19. Nicole Elliott

    03/01/2012

    As a fellow WAHM I *totally* understand–and completely agree with you :)

    [Reply]

  20. Debbie

    03/01/2012

    I understand where you’re coming from, Andrea. I’m a freelance book publicist and have worked in book PR for over a decade, including 8 years as a freelancer. I work from home so that I can be with my three kids.

    Many authors are wonderful but it floors me when an author contacts me for help publicizing their book and when asked if they have a budget, they say they either have no money or they ask about some odd payment method, such as a percentage of sales (that they’re selling door to door–yikes). I’m not sure if these people expect me to work for nothing/peanuts or if they truly don’t get the reality of hiring someone. I love to help authors spread their messages but I also am an experienced professional and need to be compensated accordingly. So do you.

    I remember when I was growing up and my dad, who owned his own CPA firm, would get cornered by particular people at church with tax questions. He’s a very generous person but it drove him nuts.

    [Reply]

  21. Annie

    03/01/2012

    Perhaps you can prepare a form response to any requests with a copy of your fee schedule outlining your services and your hourly rate, flat fee, etc.? (This will save you lots of time…which means money!)

    I’m baffled how people think you’re providing endless free services….your blog alone is an amazing freebie!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good advice :) I definitely have a canned response saved in my email — and it has saved me lots of time!

    [Reply]

  22. Flavia

    03/01/2012

    I don’t work from home, but wish I did. I can just imagine that people try to get as much as they can for free. Not sure where they get the idea from, maybe because you have a blog and you are great at providing information about organization, so they think they can just ask you for anything??

    Stick to your guns and do what you think is right.

    [Reply]

  23. Tane

    03/01/2012

    I know of a lawyer who got tired of friends and others asking him legal questions at parties that he started sending invoices for his advice after the party. When he got phone calls complaining about the invoice, he calmly explained that he was at the party to enjoy himself and the company of friends and family but as they had asked him a work related question he belived that they took his advice as serious and as such he had billed them according to his schedule of fees. He had studied hard to become a lawyer and would not belittle his professionalism.

    The friends soon relised that if they wanted advice that they were to make an appointment like everyone else and let him enjoy his family and social time.

    You just need to be firm, polite and consistant with your replies and remember you are doing what is best for you and your family. (Sometimes easier said than done I know :P)

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  24. Liz C

    03/01/2012

    I try to guard my freebie time *very* carefully, so I can make enough money with paid projects to support doing freebies when I feel so inspired. Finding that balance is tough. It took awhile for me to learn to *not* be offended, but to just let the other person know that I could do X, Y, or Z for them, and the cost would be in this range. The end. If they protest, I smile and say, “I’m sure you’ll find another option that will work for you, then,” and just don’t get offended. I’m not obligated to take on projects, period. I LOVE that flexibility!

    [Reply]

  25. Kim Whiteside

    03/01/2012

    I am actually amazed and grateful for all the FREE advice and instruction you are already giving me. I have been cleaning, organizing and tossing closet contents with a vengeance in the 6-8 weeks since I discovered your blog. The results are amazingly helpful in a number of ways. I have useful things and supplies I forgot I had. I believe I am running my home in a more efficient way than ever before. Thank you for having the heart of a teacher. I think you should send me a bill. I appreciate your generosity with your knowledge!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kim!!! Happy organizing :)

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    I agree completely with Kim!

    Andrea,
    We have a friend who offered to help us for free with a project in our house. He has put in almost 30 hours of work into it already. We are refusing to let him walk away with no compensation.

    One thing I have to remember is to always look out for the other person. Yes I want the best deal, but do I get it at that persons expense? Is that being selfish or loving. We need to learn it is not always about “me” but about others around us.
    My motto is, I don’t want to be taken advantage of, so why would I think someone else wants to be?

    Thanks for all the free help you offer to us on this blog!

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    And if you are financially unable to compensate that friend monetarily, offering your services/talents to him in exchange (for free) would also be a fair compensation which would let him know how much you value his gift to you. Excellent point!

    [Reply]

  26. KimH

    03/01/2012

    If you dont already have one, perhaps when you’re not feeling perturbed at the audacity of some people, write a form letter saying that you would love to assist them with their current project, and your fees are such & such and you estimate their project would take an estimated time of X hours/days/weeks. Also, attach a standard contract and tell them you would be happy to address their project after they sign it & start payments, however you do these things. Im ignorant of your process.. lol but something to that effect.

    Im pretty handy with a camera, and I’ve done several weddings.. for free of course, since they were friends.. but I will never do it again. I tell them, I can be your friend at your wedding, or I can be your photographer.. pick which one you want. I’ll give them a better deal than if they hired a stranger, but it wont be for free.

    Dont be apologetic either, just state in black & white, what is black & white. Some people will always try to take advantage, and others simply are clueless. We dont have to judge them, we just have to set them right, nicely & kindly. ;)

    [Reply]

    Heidi Reply:

    I completely agree. Having a contract or agreement makes for a less awkward situation as well. That way people have clear expectations up front.

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    Rachel Reply:

    Kim, I know exactly what you are saying. I have taken online classes, studied independently, purchased professional equipment including Photoshop CS4, learned, learned, learned & practiced, practiced, practiced. When I shoot an event, I may spend hours editing the images and others are clueless as to the time and money I spent on my photography. Still, they try to get it for free or dirt cheap . I suspect I’ve even been included in certain events just so I’ll shoot it. I’ve learned to leave the camera at home. I really appreciated your comment about coming as a friend or photographer.

    [Reply]

  27. Melissa

    03/01/2012

    Sorry, I know this is off the topic, but I just noticed your blog is not listed in my Google reader anymore, is the Google Friend Connect gone, or maybe I’m just blind?

    Anyways, thanks so much for your blog. I enjoy reading it very much. :)

    [Reply]

    Sarah @ Sarah's Deals Reply:

    Google Friend Connect went away for any blogs that are not hosted by blogger this month.

    [Reply]

  28. Dulce

    03/02/2012

    Wow! This really hit home! I have made soap and chocolate party favors for quite some time. And there are a couple of friends and family who expect me to do it for only the cost of the supplies. Just this week I received a phone call from one person who I have done favors for a number of times without compensation for my time. She said she would pay me after they are done, just save her the receipts! I felt so abused when she said this, but after reading your post I feel my time is downright violated!! I am certainly not just saving her the receipts!! My time will no longer be abused! Thank you for giving me the validity to stand up for my time!!

    [Reply]

    sheena Reply:

    I totally agree with you there but sometimes all it takes especially with friends and family is standing up nicely and saying that you work hard and it is time consuming. It would be nice to get a little more back if they are really your friends they would understand though I have found it can be hard to get family to understand cause well you know family what cha gonna do.

    [Reply]

  29. Ann

    03/02/2012

    Part of the difficulty is because we live in community. As a community (especially a Christian community) we are to be the arms, eyes, feet, or brain of those who have other gifts and talents (are another part of the body). We are to share with each other and help each other. The difficulty comes in drawing a line between protecting your time and you business. As an educator, I expect parents to periodically ask me questions about their children’s struggles in school. (Even when their children do not attend my school.) My techie husband knows that those of us who are techie illiterate will ask him questions about our computers and programs. I hope my pastor doesn’t mind when I ask him about an interpretation of a certain Bible passage. The key is to to be up front and honest with each other. I can choose to answer the question or I can tell them that I could give their child an assessment at a later time for a fee. My husband can choose to spend time at a friend’s house setting up their computer or he can tell them that he’s a little busy right now but can either recommend a small business to help them or he could set up a time in a few weeks. He may even suggest that if it takes more than an hour of his time, he’d like to be compensated at such and such a rate. A musician could suggest that I go to a certain store to seek the music I’m looking for or they could tell me that they’ll look into it for me for a flat fee. Sometimes we will choose one way. Other times we will choose another. The boundaries need to be set by us and we need to take less offense if others ask us for help. If we do not make it clear from the beginning that we would like to be compensated for this (as opposed to just helping a s apart of this person’s community) then the misunderstanding is ours. If they choose to be offended by our request, that is their problem, not ours. Personally, we do not charge to help family with computer issues, work projects, tutoring/educational advice. If we found someone was taking advantage of this, we might change our mind but that is the choice we have made. (And we love it when they help us in return for no charge!)

    [Reply]

  30. Janie

    03/02/2012

    Ann,you must be one of the people that ask for free work..lol No one is entitled to get work done for free ever.

    [Reply]

    Stacey Reply:

    I actually appreciated Ann’s comment, and I am not one who ask for free work. (I doubt she is, either.)

    While I agree that no one is *entitled* to get work done for free, hopefully we understand that at times we are called to share our gifts with grace and love. Granted, that does not mean we do all freebies, therefore undermining our livelihoods. However, I think we must be careful to not cross a line where we expect to be compensated for everything we ever do.

    Sometimes we chose not to give of our time in the areas where we earn our livings (I know many who work with students at school M – F who choose not to volunteer in Children’s Ministry at church because they feel a need to have a break from teaching…however they DO serve somewhere). Sadly, I’ve seen quite a few people get so caught up in “making a living” that they choose to step back from serving or volunteering anywhere.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying professionals should all volunteer their services whenever asked (I agree with those posters who feel violated when asked to organize, photograph or provide other services for free, just because they asked), and I’m also not saying that professionals never volunteer or serve. I do agree with, Ann, however, that we are a community, a body, and that Christians are called to use their gifts to help, encourage and bless each other. :)

    [Reply]

  31. Kris

    03/02/2012

    Um…it’s your job, one gets paid for a job, therefore you should in no way feel bad about not wanting to work for free. Now, if say your Mom asks for help organizing a closet that’s one thing but emails from people for free advise..nope, no way. And I am a stay at home Mom who currently does not have a pay check kind of job (but is hoping to have something part time next school year) so I am not saying this as someone in the same position as you regarding working. Plus, you have a baby that requires a lot of your time and attention. When you have time to work it should be for a paycheck that helps support your family. There is a lot of organizing advise for free right here on your web site. People can look around all they need on their own for ideas.

    [Reply]

  32. Sarah @ Sarah's Deals

    03/03/2012

    You hit it exactly on. I think the biggest challenge in this for bloggers is that our sites and the information we post is free to read and some people tend to equate that to not having a value related to our time.

    Blogging starts as a hobby for many, becomes a job for some and a career that we love for those of us that are blessed to view it that way. If someone is a hobby blogger, they get the love of a hobby out of it as a scrapbooker would creating a new page. For those that focus on it as a job and make money, but have lost their passion for it, it’s a chore. For the blessed few, we do what we love and get paid to do it, but just because we love our “job” doesn’t mean there’s less value to it.

    [Reply]

  33. Meredith

    03/04/2012

    I am not a blogger or online business owner. I’m a professional musician. Even though I don’t play in a major orchestra, I still freelance and offer my services for churches, colleges, venues, etc. however, most of my work is home. On the pro level, there is usually a rehearsal and one concert. However, music can be tough and I will have to spend hours upon hours practicing. Not to mention, I make my own reeds (I’m an oboist). Pay is not great but you would be surprised how many people want me to put in all of these hours for free. Driving hours to rehearsals, practicing to keep my reputation at bay, making reeds throughout it all, spending time away from family, etc…for free! It seems that a lot of people have forgotten its not high school band anymore and expect you to come work because you enjoy it. I do enjoy it but when your child is with your husband whos been on a factory floor all day eating yet another pbj for dinner, I expect money in return.

    [Reply]

    Minerva Reply:

    Meredith,
    I am right with you… I am a professional harpist and requests to play for free drive me nuts. Do people even know how many years it has taken me to become a qualified musician? Or how many hours it takes to prepare for the average gig?
    This doesn’t mean that I don’t play for free… I gladly donate my services to my church (because it is MY CHURCH), and I have played for friends’ weddings as a gift (a $200 value!), but I don’t give away services to just anyone.

    [Reply]

  34. Rachel

    03/05/2012

    I totally get what you are saying. As a photographer I really have paid some dues by doing freebies (which I didn’t mind…at first). Then it became apparent that folks wanted me to do their photography work because it was professionally done & they thought for free. However, after I started handing them business cards and I told them to call me that I’d give them a good price, I wouldn’t hear from them. I’d see later they’d hire someone else they knew. I realized then how badly photographers can be treated when first getting their business going. Some people were using me as long as they could get it done for free, if not, they’d revert to paying someone they knew or find someone else that would do it for free. I’ve stopped almost all freebies now except when I need some modeling work done (my model gets free shots), some work for charitable organizations and I also do mission photojournalism for free. If you don’t get paid you are a charity.

    [Reply]

  35. Kristina

    03/11/2012

    You are completely justified in your feelings. I was appalled when you said people replied back to you after you told them you could not help them for free!

    [Reply]

  36. Jen

    03/16/2012

    I just found you blog, and it’s really interesting. I love all of your money saving tips! Thanks for sharing : )

    Jen

    [Reply]

  37. Crystal @ Blissful Homemaking

    03/23/2012

    Blogging is VERY time consuming. Especially when you are trying to make a business out of it. I own several websites, trying to get my focus on how to get rolling in this business. I have also received some rude emails, specifically from a company who wanted to do a giveaway. They asked me to do seriously like 12 things for one little item to a reader and then insulted me saying “we’re not asking you to do much to get this free $5 product!!”. It would have taken me about 2 hours to do everything for this little $5 item that I would not personally get either, only for 1 reader.

    [Reply]

  38. Debbie @ Deliciously Inspired

    11/11/2013

    Andrea,
    I think you are spot on and appreciate your post. It gives me a lot to think on. I have found it amazing that I offer so many free resources and yet the ebook of recipes at a nominal price I created from my blog doesn’t seem to move much. Still learning – thanks for your insight.
    Debbie

    [Reply]