We all help out our family and friends when we can, but what about when it comes to giving away something for free when it’s your livelihood?  Maybe you’re an awesome photographer, graphic designer, or you run a landscaping business. Do you give away your work to the people you know for free when you are trying to support yourself?  It’s a tough question and it can put everyone in an awkward position.


If you own your own business, I’m sure you’ve been asked to do something for free or for pennies.  There comes a point when you have to establish some boundaries in order to make a living.


How much free work are you able to take on and still keep your doors open?


I run into this from time to time where I get asked for free websites, SEO work, logos, or marketing work.  Usually, I am more than happy to help friends and family and do these things for free or for VERY cheap. I’ve tried to come up with discounted prices where it works out well for both parties.


When I think about it, the more I wonder why this happens so much. Why wouldn’t you want to pay the people you care about and support them in their business?  Whenever I know the waitress at a restaurant or when I get my hair done by a friend, I’m HAPPY to pay the asking price along with a larger than average tip. I want to show support for my friends and I want them to succeed!  I trust them and it’s worth the price tag.


I would feel awful asking for something for free from a friend who was relying on that good or service to support themselves.  


Hell, I made a website for my parent’s business and they were more than happy to pay my usual rate.  It’s not that I don’t want to help them out, but it was more the fact that they wanted to support me in what I’m doing.


You trust these friends and family members, that’s why you are asking for their help right?  They are probably more than worth the price you’ll pay.


I have projects that I’ve taken on in my business as a donation or volunteer work.  I also help out a few non-profit businesses and do website work for them for a very low price.  These are projects I’ve found that I have a passion for and want to give back to, so I’m happy to help out and do whatever I can to support them.


I think that there are a few different ways to think about doing free work for family and friends.  If you like this person, you trust them, and you’ve seen the awesome work that they’ve done, SUPPORT THEM. Whether you want to give them money or something else, it’s important to keep in mind that this is the way they are able to pay their bills.


I think there needs to be a good balance between doing everything for free and sticking to your guns and charging your usual rate.


When you’re first starting out, do as much free work as you can!  Practice, get experience and establish yourself. Take on free or cheap projects from time to time as your business grows so that you can always be giving back.  You just can’t let this go too far!


Have you ever been asked to do free work?  How do you handle it? Comment below =)


“Sure, I would love to do it for free, but will exposure pay my rent?” – Unknown


Thanks for Reading,