I Do Not Work For Free :: An Origin Story

I've had money on my mind a lot over the last few months. The whole process of pivoting my business away from freelancing and more towards creating products with art, books, ecourses and experiences has been quite a roller-coaster ride!

Financially there have been ups and downs - the thrill of waking up to money in my bank account from something I created weeks, months, or (in some cases) even years ago is intensely joyful; but the uncertainty is scary, and the numbers are low - inevitably for this stage of a 'new' business.

I'm working on some new offerings behind the scenes at the moment, which I hope will turn out to be a perfect overlap between the work I really want to do, and what you guys really want from me. Watch this space...

Anyway, all this thinking about money prompted me to set up the Naked Money community project (there's still time to sign up if you haven't already), and although we're only a week into the month-long project, the conversations have been incredible and illuminating. I'm so grateful to everyone involved for sharing the nuts and bolts (and icky bits) of their money stories.

One of the points which has come up a lot in Naked Money is how artists and creatives are asked to do work for free, on spec, or (the worst) for exposure. This happens in creative industries more so than almost any other field, and it has got to stop! It doesn't matter if you're brand new to creative work, or you've been around the block a few times, you will get asked and you must say NO! It hurts all of us, and it normalises it so that clients think it's okay to ask.

Anyway, the whole thing inspired me to come up with a visual reminder of my own principles, and I've turned it into a new design for the shop - check it out (click on the images to visit the shop):

If you're feeling particularly strident, wear one of these shirts to a new client meeting, otherwise use it as your outfit when responding to inquiry emails, hang the print above your desk, or use the mug for your work time coffee. Whatever it takes to remind you that your work is worth much more than the mythical 'exposure', and your time is valuable!

Personally, I have a real weakness for the racerback tank tops...

Whatever you're creating today, good luck, and DO NOT WORK FOR FREE!!

With love and gratitude

Eli xx

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