Not All about the Benjamins

I have done my share of pro bono work in design. After all, working in the non-profit sector for 3 years gave me some connections, although not always with the deepest pockets. I have also had some clients that didn’t pay me at all. At the end of the day, I want some compensation for my time and efforts.

I realize, I’m no Andy Warhol, so having the options of picking and choosing who and when I work is not always an option. At this point, the freelance jobs I have are mostly to build experience and credibility. So if money isn’t pouring in, what is my compensation?


Especially working with folks that pay next to (or) nothing, this is a must. I referenced LinkedIn a few times last week and this is a great forum to have the recommendations showcased.  I have tweaked around with the idea of my own website for awhile now (I really should have one), but having my own testimonial section would be a necessity for me. It adds credibility to my work, especially if the client loved the job.

More Business

It’s obvious, yet true. The goes together with networking. Most of the jobs (freelance or otherwise) have come from a referral of a happy customer/co-worker. Especially when things are going slow, it’s important to have a wide network of clients. I have also tried to expand my network with other designers. If there is a job I can’t do or is a bit out of my realm (web coding/animation), I will refer them to someone I know can accomplish the task. I know sometimes designers can be a bit cutthroat when hoarding clients, but I think its good practice to play nice. You never know when you might need a favor.


Especially when creating website or logo design, getting a “Site designed by…” somewhere on the clients’ page is a big plus. On the other side of the fence, I have asked clients (even for my ICM 502 design class) if I could use logos I have created for clients. This was a slippery slope, as I have worked for a national organization (they sometimes frown on that sort of thing), but if I’m permitted, it helps showcase all of my work.

Overall, I will never scoff at a good payday, but especially starting out in a competitive field, you have to be pragmatic. I learned to take on whatever jobs I can, but also try to get the most out of the experience beyond my asking price.

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