You should know that when you work for free, you are establishing your price: free. Anyone who hires you for free is going to expect you to work for free in the future.Â Why wouldn’t they? You’ve done it before!
Additionally, any free project you’ve committed to performing with is a possible conflict for some other paid opportunity that can come up in the future. And since a responsible, caring performer doesn’t ditch on a show, it can lead to some very emotionally turbulent decisions. Talk to any performer who’s been in the business for some time and they can share a moment of having to choose between taking a paying gig, and hurting the feelings (or finances) of someone to whom they’ve promised a free gig.
So choose wisely.
When you expect Exposure, Experience, or to Get Ahead and what you get it Bupkis, it leads to feelings of frustration, anger, depression, and more.
But knowing what you will truly get out of donating your very valuable self to a project is not only empowering, it allows you to spend your Time, Energy, and Personal Resources on the things you want to see benefit from them.
An additional, personal rule of thumb: never work for free.
Even if you’re getting Exposure, Experience, or (God forbid) Getting Ahead, always requestÂ some kind of payment of value… even if it’s $5 that you turn right around to donate back.
You’re establishing that you do not work “for free”, but that you are willing to work at a discounted rate for the right project.
And who can’t respect that?