Today’s blog post was partly inspired by the talk given by Raul Pacheco during Freelance Camp Vancouver back in May. He reminded everyone that freelancing is not free and, at some point, you have to decide to stop working for free.

Surely, you’ve seen the listings offering writing “opportunities” in exchange for “exposure” and the chance to add something to your portfolio. All these listings do is devalue the work done by freelancers like me, perpetuating the image that quality articles can be had for free. That’s not right.

So, is there a free portion to freelancing? In a sense, yes. I will not blog for you for free and I won’t author an e-book for you for nothing. However, I will gladly take a look at your project so that I can provide you with a more accurate rate quote. If you have a quick question about something, I may even help you with that without charging a consulting fee… but that starts to tread into a gray area too.

Does this mean that I have to be compensated in a monetary sense every time? No, not necessarily. For example, if you want to conduct an interview with me that provides an opportunity for me to market my brand, my products, and my services, I just might do it. These interviews, whether via e-mail or telephone, take up time that I could be spending elsewhere, but they provide value to me too.

Freelancers have to make a living just like anyone else and the most treasured resource of them all is time. Don’t waste mine and I won’t waste yours. And know that I don’t work for free unless a fair barter is arranged.