It may of course be very tempting to offer to work for free when you’re starting out, especially if you’re trying to build a reputation as a writer or in your chosen profession. However, you’re also likely to frequently be asked to provide your services at no charge.
Sometimes, you may feel insulted, at other times just slightly annoyed, but you still need to be able to respond appropriately to these requests. Although working for free isn’t recommended, it’s an individual choice.
On occasion it might appear to be a decent gamble to work for free if there’s a distinct possibility of further projects on the horizon. Some writers often underestimated the number of hours it will take to work on a website, for example, in the hope of additional work later on. The company might require further copywriting for promotional materials, brochures, or social media. This strategy can backfire, of course. Sometimes clients promise that there will be more work but this never materializes for a variety of reasons. They might simply decide not to proceed with further written materials or perhaps their business doesn’t take off as much as they genuinely hoped.
Sometimes schools might ask you to donate a visit for free, perhaps connected to a fundraising event. In these cases, one idea is to offer a limited time visit of one hour, for example, and insist on being given the opportunity to sell books. In theory, this can offset the lack of a fee with the money you’ll potentially make from book sales. Unfortunately, this rarely comes to fruition. On the very few occasions that I’ve done a free school visit, there have been zero book sales.