Don't work for exposure!
A bit of a tiny grumble... Recently I've noticed a growing trend happening in my email inbox, and after speaking to some of my fellow creative business friends they seem to have had the same thing happen to them! I get these emails at least once a week - from bloggers, other small businesses, advertisers and most likely scammers. All of them asking for the same thing: FREEBIES in exchange for exposure.
The trouble is - unless you are a national newspaper, major online influencer, celebrity or a charity. Your level of exposure is not going to be enough for people like me to be able to financially make it work giving you a freebie. This is a problem that happens accross all creative fields (not just in the craft world). Just because you are doing something that you love, people and businesses alike will assume that means you are willing to do it for free. They don't seem to appreciate the time and effort that goes into what you do. The years spent training and studying and working on your craft that got you to the place where you are now.
I mean would you ask an engineer to fix your car for the 'exposure' ? Of course not. So why would you ask an artist or small creative business owner to give you a free portrait or free product. In this year alone I have been approached by bloggers who don't even have a blog - telling me they are going to 'set one up' and it will be great 'exposure when I review your products'. I've had random people contact my business page on facebook asking for prizes for their friends raffle, I've had small shops ask for free products to include in goodie bags for their launch days...and the list goes on. My point is - when you are a creative, in whatever field that may be. You always get told that one day you will get your big break, and that you have to seize every opportunity. But this is not always the case - and not every opportunity is necessarily a good opportunity! By choosing to work for exposure alone you actively encourage people to value the creative industry as lesser to other industries. By working for exposure alone you are saying - yes thats fine not to pay me. If you ever get approached by somebody offerring an opportunity for exposure - decline and don't be afraid to explain why your skills/talents are worth being paid for. If that business or person genuinely wants to work with you - then they will offer some form of payment. Exposure alone won't pay the bills - unless it's the national/international big press kind of exposure! There seems to be some sort of taboo in the creative industries when it comes to talking about money and ensuring you get paid fairly. Just know that you deserve to be able to afford to eat and pay bills just as much as somebody who doesn't work in a creative industry. So be brave and ask to be paid beforehand. And if you are somebody who is thinking of approaching a creative person or small business - offerring one of these so-called 'exposure' opportunities. Stop and think before you press send on that email. Are you really being fair to the recipient? Are you really offerring them something that is worthy of their time and hard earned skills? And are you willing to pay them for it? If the answer is no to those questions. Then don't send the email. To any creative out there - keep going and keep following your dreams and bringing magic and colour to this world. You deserve so much more than exposure for that!