Work-hack #5: When to work for free?

“Harkirat, can you work here for free before we pay you”


I’m sure, at least once in your career, someone must have said this line to you and if you were like me then your response would be:

“Yeah sure. Let’s do it.”

Confession: 1.5 years back I used to say YES to every work that involves free and most of the times, my decision was WRONG.

But, at a few instances, I was PROUD of saying YES to free-work.

These experiences made my decision-making skills powerful and to the point when it comes to working for free.

So, here I am, in this work-hack edition, to share TWO situations where you can think of working for free.

Let’s start!

#1: When you get Credibility and reputation

Believe me or not, if you have credibility and a good reputation, you will always be that A-player of your industry or at your office.

If new york times approach you to write an article for them for free what will be your response?

Or if TEDx organizers approached you to give a talk at their event happening next month, will you be able to say NO? (Btw, TEDx speakers don’t get any money for their speeches)

In both cases, saying “Yes” will be a smart move.

Because in future, these organizations have a massive amount of fan following plus trustworthy audience. And if you are good at your craft then working for free for them can also build you a loyal fanbase.

Lesson: Working for free for those, who can earn you credibility and a good reputation.

#2: When you get to 2x your skills and knowledge

This might be a tricky one.

When some random one approached you with their offer to write a book for them without taking any money, then

It’s your duty to judge whether doing this work will increase my knowledge, skills or learnings 2x?

Whether doing this work will make my understanding grow about that work or writing industry?

Can I add this book to my portfolio and can show it to other people will approach me to write a book in future?

Asking these questions with full honesty will help you decide better!

Lesson: Skill, knowledge and learning matters when it comes to choosing whether to work for free or not.

A thing to remember

Sometimes, a work that looks Free is actually not Free. It might earn you exposure, experience, trust, a reputation which you can add to your personal currency!

So, next time,

When someone shows up with Free-work offer, don’t forget to consider the above two options.

Thanks for reading!

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© 2020 by Harkirat Singh