A lot of newbies in freelancing ask me all sorts of questions about what it takes to freelance and even how much should they charge. I have even had scenarios tossed at me, like if it was okay to design a site to get exposure. That sparked an idea for a blog post, because I have been there and let me say, DO NOT DO IT. It is not an acceptable payment for freelancers.
Web design and graphic design both take a lot of learning and practice. If you are new and someone approaches you saying they got this cool site that has some traffic, but they need their site designed. Then they ask you if you can design knowing the only payment you will either see is a post, a link at the bottom of the website, or maybe a couple Facebook or Twitter mentions.
IT IS NOT WORTH IT!
Because even if that site gets 5,000+ visitors a day, only a small percentage is going to scroll ALL the way down to the bottom of the site and actually notice the link or image on who designed the site. Depending on how much time you spent and the quality of work you do, you just gave a free layout away that someone not willing to actually invest in their site.
Giving freebies is cool. I do it sometimes. But, giving someone that could pay a bill or even be money to invest in months of marketing on various sites, it just seems logical to say no. The person asking you for a freebie may grumble, but you walk away starting a smart business that you will make money rather than being fooled and not getting your own ROI.
Think about it. What if the site really was not all that hot as the person said it was? What if the site you designed for totally sinks a year down the line?
So, what are acceptable payments for freelancers in web design?
- Money (obviously)
- Bartering for services. Of course, you do not want to barter for a service that is not of equal value.
- A Simple Thanks – from close friends or if you volunteered for a non-profit charity organization
No matter what, freelancers do not work for free. Something is exchanged. However, it is up to the freelancer to be smart about how they do business. Make sure the payment it is equal to the work. You can still get paid and have the link. FYI: A lot of site owners who have hired web designers do allow for acknowledgment in the form of a link or image at the bottom of their site.
Have you ever been asked to design in exchange for just a link or post mention? If you have bartered for services, what did you exchange your web design services for?