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Are You Still Doing Design Work for Free?

Many designers get started by giving free design to their friends. And that’s okay because it’s actually a great way to learn how to listen to somebody’s story and their ideas and turn it into something that’s a reality, or design. It’s also where you learn to spend other people’s money, which is a little bit of a challenge when you’re first beginning.


Those times where you’re more comfortable with a friend to just try it out and say what you need to say or present a design is how you get started. The tricky spot is how you get out of it. I run into designers who, 7 or 10 years later, are still doing projects for the people who were free in the beginning. And they don’t quite know how to get out of that situation.


The Easy Way to Stop Doing Design Jobs Free for Loved Ones


I don’t believe that your friends and family actually expect you to do everything for free. But if you don’t say that it should be a paid job, it’s not up to them to make sure you get paid; it’s up to you. It’s your boundary issue, not theirs. So, let me give you a little tip about how to do this. Approach the job that your friend or loved one wants you to do as a business. Look at it as you would for any other client and write a letter of agreement. In other words, sit down and figure out how much time it’s going to take, what it’s going to be, how many hours it will take, and what that all adds up to.



Write it out just the way you would for anybody else. Then, decide how much of the job that you want to give as a gift. At the very beginning of the letter of agreement, where you’re talking about time and what it’s going to cost, tell them that because they’re a friend or family, you will give them five free hours, (or whatever you decide), which, in that case, would amount to $600. Then, you present the whole amount of the letter of agreement with $600 listed as a credit.

What’s happened here is you’ve stated what this job costs. You’re showing them that you still have a gift for them as a friend or family member. It’s a good thing to do. But you’re very clear about how much that gift is and what the value is it upfront. Now, you no longer have that obligation to do the whole thing for free. Once you step into that, you can solve that problem pretty easily. It’s a really good little trick.


Help with Tips and Strategies to Help You Grow Your Business


If you want to know more about how to do this or learn similar tips and strategies that get your business working smoother, increase your cash flow, get your time under control, and set boundaries, you can find more of that in my Modern Designers Guide.

It’s our entry-level program, and it’s a great education and coaching combination, while also being quite affordable. It contains fifty-two videos delivered once a week, and they’re about ten minutes long. By accessing this program, I think you will find some amazing pieces in there that could really help your business.

So, if you want to find out how a little bit of education and coaching could help you, you can stick your toe in and find out how it all works. Just click on the link below, and it will give you more information. I hope you’ll join us!


Until then, design something beautiful, and get paid what you’re worth.

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