(These pictures are un-related to this post, but I had to throw them up here because I have SO many Alt Summit photos that need to be shared.)
There was a lot of insight that was shared while I was at Alt Summit last January. Some of it was probably obvious, but for some reason I can be a big idiot and just not GET it. The thing I learned about myself is that I am always de-valuing my work. For some reason since I'm a stay at home mom, and a self taught designer, I feel like what I do is not up to par with others and therefore I tend to low ball my prices/work for free.
Guys, STOP WORKING FOR FREE.
And here's why-
If we don't value our work, then who will? If you're too cheap, then most likely people will think you don't offer a good product. I can't tell you how many times I judge a product in the store by how cheap it is. Why is it so cheap? Is it going to break easily? Your prices should be competitive with those around you doing the same thing. If you're doing better than those people, then hell yes charge more. But be honest with yourself here.
Working for free actually hurts the industry/creative field you're trying to get into. No one can make money if you're doing it for free. Assuming you want to eventually make more money, never do it for free.
You're making it harder for yourself to really make what you do a career. The more you're working for free, the longer it will take you to finally be able to charge appropriately. Just because you're still learning or a student doesn't make you or your time less valuable. Would you work for free at McDonalds because you were just learning? No, never.
And lastly, working for free hurts the economy. It makes people lose jobs or keeps them from finding jobs. Yep, it always seems to come back to the economy. So do your part! Keep the creative industry fair! Do not let people take advantage of our services any longer.
I hope this helps anyone afraid to take the plunge. Have self respect and you will reap the benefits!