FAQ: Hi Tom, will you work for free?
The short answer is: sometimes. But it depends.
I always appreciate it when people wish to involve me in an opportunity to reach further potential clients. So, if you run a media outlet with a reach of hundreds of thousands and you're looking for an interesting news piece, then sure, let's talk about the opportunity.
Or perhaps you're running a charity event? In that case, if it's a cause I believe in I do always consider donating my time.
If, however, you are, say, a catering company who want some free entertainment for your sales event, then try and see it from my side. Yes, it may well book me some future work from your guests and clients, but that would still happen if you paid me my full fee.
I don't mean to be glib, but I can't feed my family with 'exposure'.
If you're looking to book me and want to experience what I do, then I'll happily come and demonstrate my skills for your decision makers, but I won't perform for free, on the empty promise of other potential work.
Artists are always offered exposure in lieu of their talent fees.
Consider it this way....
If you're a building contractor or architecture firm, I would be happy to give you the opportunity to build my new house. It would be a great way to reach more potential clients as I'd invite all my friends over to see your highest quality craftsmanship. I'm sure they would get you to build their houses in the future. I would also be happy to write about you on my social media, which would reach literally tens of people.
It's not really that appealing a proposition is it?