Ep 8: Exposure kills -- Freelance Foundations

Topic: Why working for exposure is so harmful to our practices, and how to handle conversations with clients who request these arrangements.

There's value to contributing to your community and volunteering for causes you're passionate about, but working for exposure (as common a practice as it is), can kill your career. In this episode we highlight the problems inherent in working on projects for clients who promise future work and gained experience, knowledge, and contacts in lieu of payment. We also talk about some alternative options, differentiate between this and doing fulfilling volunteer work on your terms, and discuss what boundaries to put in place to prevent or address issues.
File Size: 
13.7 MB
Show Notes: 

Key Quotes:

All of these are from Trevor:

6:25 "What they’re saying when they want to pay you in exposure is that the recognition that you’ll get from doing this work will lead to new opportunities and the implication is that that will lead to more money than they would have been able to pay you, which is funny because they haven’t paid you any. They’re holding out this promise of future money if they d on’t have to pay now."

7:12 “The only thing that exposure will get you is exposure to the potential for doing more exposure work….rather than opening up new doors, it places a god damned target on your back. Especially for new freelancers, it’s the worst possible thing that you can do especially when starting up because you need that cashflow in order to survive. Just don’t do it…exposure will kill you as a freelancer."

13:03 “You can come up with an Exposure Contract…that’s the worst two words ever put together in the history of man. You can start equating the value. What they’ll realize is that a) you take your work seriously, b) you understand the value of it and c)if they actually want this work they’re going to have to do more than give you the promise of exposure. It’s gotta be stuff for real."

14:21 If you want to do this kind of work, show it for the investment and value that it really is. Never, ever do work in a way that diminishes your value…showing the value in those transactions is the only way to make them work at all."


You're doing it for the exposure (comic) - The Oatmeal

You can't pay your rent with "the unique platform and reach our site provides" - Wil Wheaton