Rants and Whimsy

Why stop at not paying creatives?

August 12, 2014

I’ve written about this before. But if Tesco has taught us anything, it’s that when you’re presented with a dead horse you should always make lasagne. Keep beating it. It will tenderise the meat. For some reason people seem to believe that the more creative your job is, the more optional it is to pay you. You’re a creative person by nature, this is easy for you. And if it’s not hard work why would you charge a high fee? Or a reasonable fee? Or any fee? I mean, you don’t have rent to pay and food to buy. You’re a creative, you live in fairy land and dine on the rainbow feasts freshly farted out of the bottoms of unicorns. If you need a pot of gold just follow that rainbow to its natural conclusion, silly. See. Why do you need my gold when yours is just lying around everywhere, if only you were smart enough to go get it!

Big companies with too much money are the only ones who actually need to pay for quality creative services, right? My little business just needs a little bit of your creative thinking, but without the ridiculous price tag. Frankly, you should be grateful I’m actually giving you a chance instead of going straight to Fiverr. But I like you. So I’m willing to give you sod all in return for some impeccable work because it will help to give you exposure. It will help you to build your portfolio. And then you might be able to get one of those high flying jobs charging big companies ridiculous prices for having fun all day. It’s win – win. In the meantime you can use all that free time you have (because my job won’t take that long) to get a proper job selling shoes or something. You have to work for your money, you know!

Ever met someone who thinks like that? Well, I suddenly realised, these people are missing out. Why stop at refusing to pay the full fees of graphic designers, illustrators, artists, writers, bloggers, actors, musicians and other creatives? Since working for free is such a great thing in their world, why aren’t they accosting other industries as well? Share the love! Here are a few ideas:

1. Instead of saying:
“I need a photographer for a wedding, but have a limited budget. Must have own equipment. Semi professional ok. As long as you’re really talented.”
Try:
“I need a plumber for my apartment, but have a limited budget. Must have own equipment. Semi professional ok. As long as you know what you’re doing.”
Hope you like brown ankles.

2. Instead of saying:
“I need someone to write a blog every day for my cupcake business. Good publicity for you and we can give you free cupcakes.”
Try:
“I need electricity every day to run my cupcake business. If you, big electric company, give me electricity I’ll be sure to recommend you to everyone I know and will send you free cupcakes.”
No bake cupcakes in daylight hours it is then.

3. Instead of saying:
“I need a band to play at my event. Not much budget, but you can sell CDs or give out flyers in your down time to raise your profile.”
Try:
“I need food for my event. Not much budget, but you can label everything with your restaurant brand or give out flyers to raise your profile.”
You’re sure to have your pick of quality caterers.

See, all kinds of people are getting paid for stuff that isn’t difficult for them. Some of them probably even enjoy it. And why should you pick up the tab for other people’s fun, dammit?! I mean, if you had any confidence in your business you’d probably realise it’s easier and safer to pay decent people to do a decent job in the first place. But you don’t know that you’re even making money from this yet. So no one else should make money from it yet… maybe you can get a proper job selling shoes until you get this enterprise thing all figured out…

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  • AMEN! I had a good laugh at the beating a dead horse thing xx

  • When I was a travel agent I used to get this all the time, and when people turned their noses up at you getting them a good price it was like ”WHAAAA, YOU ARE GETTING PROPELLED IN TO THE AIR AT 30,000 FT AND GETTING FED, WATERED AND A BED TO REST IN FOR £299? WHAT DO YOU WANT, BLOOD?!” all for them to go online cos they found it for £5 cheaper. Its all trades sadly. ”out for nowt” is what I say!
    Rebecca xxx
    http://www.queenbeady.com

  • Soooo true! xxx

  • i agree! i am a photographer and when I was starting out I would work for free so I could get better on my skills. Eventually people started to take me for granted and not even give me credit nor use the work that I spent a total of 12 hours setting up the session, scouting locations, photographing and editing. So never again I will ever work for free; I do value my skills and work! And hey I have a baby to feed

    • I know how that feels! It can be a dangerous little game to play, especially when you’re new to a creative field and just need some experience. But if you charge nothing, people think it’s worth nothing. Bah!