This post isn't about sex, or hot babes (sorry). I'm talking exposure of the non naked kind, got it! *
Work for free is proposed in various puffed up ways, but no matter how well it is bundled up and tied with a big overhyped sparkly bow of "exposure", it really is just your time for free, and as the saying goes, you can't pay your bills with exposure...well depending on the kind of..er..exposure (amiright?). As freelance artists exposure is thrown around all over the place and all too regularly sprinkled throughout our inboxes. I'm not sure how many other professions get pitched exposure, but us freelancers could almost be insulted by the frequency, is it assumed exposure is all we need?
As a freelance creative, or any creative, the decision to work for exposure is a tricky one, and there are many important things to consider. In a time of regular social media is this exposure going to be as valuable as time spent on something else (for example pitching your folio to new clients directly?), is throwing your net wide in to a giant pool and hoping for the best the best way to work? I'm pretty sure it's not.
When approached exposure instead of cash here are some things to ask yourself and consider:
1. Is the client also offering you creative freedom? If they are going to throw you a lot of revisions and be super fussy, then they should definitely pay you with more than a social media shoutout!
2. Where are you at with your career? If you are just starting out, could this be an opportunity to add some valuable work to your folio?
3. What are your terms? If they are offering exposure over money discuss the terms of this exposure, e.g do you want them to link you in a specific way, and say specific words a certain amount of times? Think about how you want this exposure to work.
4. How long will the work take you? What else could you be doing in that time and could those other things be more beneficial?
5. Is this brief going to add work to your folio that will help you target your favoured clients? For example if you want to work with sports brands will the work you create for this client be something you could later show to those brands?
6. Will this client devalue your brand or possibly be a conflict of interest with your dream client list? If you said yes to this one, definitely say no to the exposure!
7. Are they nice? Do they realise that you are helping them out and are they grateful? I've done some freebies in my time with barely a thanks, choose your charity wisely:)
8. Is there room for any budget? Sometimes bringing it up and discussing costs with a client can help them recognise the value and re-consider a budget.
9. Often the exposure on offer comes with a promise of future work, this one gets pulled out a lot, get it in writing and a deposit for that future work and then you can believe it.
10. Is it awesome and fun? Then do it! The possible exposure is a bonus!
If considering doing a freebie, be sure that the client understands what value would usually be placed on the work. This is important not only for your own work value, but also for general public awareness about how much work costs. Educating clients is not only good for you, but good for the creative community as a whole. I have had many experiences, particularly when I was just starting out where people would tell me what a great favour THEY were doing for me, always remember that they approached you for a reason, so obviously your work has some value to them.
At the end of last year my good friend Jo Duck created a series of funny Instagram videos, I thought this one only seemed appropriate for this post. Have a watch below and have a big think next time that exposure comes your way.
* Babein photo by Purienne, who's work I love and only deals in hot kinds of exposure.