Will Work for Pay

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

When I left the work force 16-years ago, the word “blog” didn’t exist and when it came into being, I was a busy, low-tech “Stay at Home Mom.” Being president of the PTA, volunteering in classrooms, and scheduling snacks for kid’s sports’ teams kept me busy and my volunteering extended to various boards, activist roles, and community events. Basically, I worked a lot – for free.

Now that I’m an entrepreneur and passionate about what I do (sharing how easy it is to live well on less), I’m trying to earn a living by turning our lifestyle into a brand. With creativity, vision, passion, and drive I’m motivated to work hard at finding income streams that allow me to work from home and provide for our family. I recognize how fortunate I am to have these choices and I love what I do, but I’m done working for free.

Please don’t ask me to work for free. No, nobody is paying me to “blog”, but that is the platform I have for getting my name and brand out there. It works well until businesses think that all “bloggers” work for free. Some bloggers do and I understand why. When you’re starting out, and the only person reading your blog is related to you, it’s hard. Then a company contacts you and you figure, “Why not work for free?” Here’s why not.

For those of us “professionals” trying to make a living around our “blogs,” we don’t want to work for free. Because of my background (a B.B.A. in Business/Marketing and 9-years of corporate experience with Polo/Ralph Lauren), the content created and the marketing of it, provides a genuine value to readers - at least I hope it does - and is not simply a run-down of the banalities of my everyday life.

Will Work for Pay

There’s a lot of work that goes into every blog post written and they don’t just magically appear on the world wide web. It takes time to conceive, draft, write, edit, and then edit again. There’s also the photographs that have to be taken, edited, and then resized. More time. Search engine optimization takes time, too, and sure I could skip that part but remember this is my job. I’m not just sharing pictures of my family here – okay, sometimes I do but you know what I mean.

Here’s how I’m asked to work for free:

  • Products :: Companies send me their products and then expect me to review their products for free – out of the goodness of my heart. Thanks but if I want your $3.99 product, I’ll buy it.
  • No Budget :: We’re a huge company and place in ads in print magazines regularly but we don’t have a budget to pay YOU, oh lowly blogger who will work for free, as soon as you hear there’s no budget. “We don’t have a budget for this THIS year, BUT check back with us next year.” Honestly, this is something I hear often – this is the internet people. A year is like an eternity.
  • We have an APP :: “But we have an app that we’re launching and your readers need it.” REALLY. Do they really? If they really do, and you want to promote it, then pay me to promote it (and then only if I believe it truly is a feature that would be valuable to my readers).
  • Invite a blogger :: I stopped in at my local plant and garden store to talk with them about an event they were hosting and to see if I could teach a class during the event. The manager was thrilled because they had just been to a marketing seminar where they were told to, “Find a blogger – they’ll give you free publicity.” Alrighty then! Sign me up!
  • You’ll get “exposure” :: Much like Tim Kreider, whose piece in The New York Times opinion section, laments the decline of paid work for professionally trained writers, he is being offered “exposure” or publicity for his writing instead of pay. “We’ll link to you!” is what I’m told regularly. Honestly, my PageRank is already better than your PageRank so this offer is silly. Plus, next time, please do your homework, first.

I’m not complaining because I’ve chosen this line of work and I really like it. It’s fun, I work from home, and love getting out from behind my computer screen to meet new people and speak to groups who want to hear more about living well on less. Those are really great parts to my job, but, please, don’t ask me to work for free.

Sara Tetreault

www.GoGingham.com {stylishly frugal living}

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