How to Respond When You’re Asked to Work for Free

Unpaid opportunities are incredible. They can pad your resume, build your portfolio, get your foot in the door, generate network connections and provide new skills. I personally have benefited from unpaid internships and even got my start as a writer via unpaid guest posts.

Then that first paid work comes through. You feel like a true professional, and you get a sense of your work’s worth as it translates into dollars. You make the choice that from this point forward, you will no longer work for free.

But people will still try.

Here are some examples of situations and what to say in response:

Q: “Can you do a write up for me?”

A: “I’d love to. What is your budget and deadline?”

Q: “Can you take a look and edit this for me? It shouldn’t take long.” (Famous last words.)

A: “Happily. I charge $__ per hour.”

Q: “Can you do me a favor? It’s _____.”

A: “I’m sure we can make an arrangement. For this sort of work, I typically charge $__, but can also discuss barter options so that it’s mutually beneficial.”

Q: “Would you write for our site? Sorry, we can’t pay.”

A: “Do you offer paid writing opportunities after a certain period of time/number of articles?” (Depending on the answer and trusting your gut on whether or not it is valuable to work with this client:) “Thank you for your offer/consideration, but I am unable to accept unpaid/volunteer work at this time.”

You Don’t Always Have to Say “No”

Before setting a hard and fast rule, especially if you are just getting started, go with your intuition. If there is a major opportunity that will bring value other than simply increasing your bank account, don’t always make it a hard “no.”

Keep in mind, that no matter what you choose, always handle conversations with professionalism, courtesy and class. You never know who may come back to you for paid work or who they may refer you to.

The more notoriety you gain, the more opportunity you will eventually have for always getting paid for your work. Always.

About Jackie Toops:

A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children.

The Facebook Branded Tool And What It Means For Digital Influencers

 

Facebook is known for making constant changes and trying new things out. While most digital influencers love the occasional new feature, it’s hard to love anything that potentially affects the reach and engagement of posts. It’s worse when these changes can cause sponsored social posts on Facebook to be removed or hidden.
 

What changes are we talking about?

Once again the lovely FB peeps have created a new feature that has been talked about for quite some time, and now is actually in effect. We are talking about the new “Branded Content” feature that influencers must now have if they want to continue tagging brands in sponsored social shares.

 What does this mean for you?

As per their policies, FB requires influencers or anyone working with a brand to tag the brand on FB. Once tagged, a brand will be notified and given access to share the post to their page, boost the post, and view performance insights.

 Creators and publishers will be held accountable with complying with relevant advertising regulations. This is in addition to the standard practice of disclosing that a post was sponsored.

 What steps must you take?

Creators and publishers are required to utilize the new Branded Content Tool. To gain access to the tool, follow this link.

 Once eligible, you will be permitted to share branded content. Again, keep in mind that you must disclose that a post is sponsored and you must tag your business partner in the post. For general inquiries regarding branded content on FB, please click here.

 At SoFluential we are proud to team up with you, our network of talented bloggers and influencers. As we value your success, we will continue to keep you up-to-date on what you need to know.

 

 JOIN US FOR PAID/Product Opportunities!!!

Have you joined the SoFluential Influencer Network yet? We love sending paid opportunities. Join here. And don't forget to tell your friends!

About Jackie Toops:

A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children.


Why “Work First, Play Second” Doesn’t Work

As it is said “All work and no play makes Jackie a dull girl.” I wholeheartedly agree with this insight. This thinking is easy-to-follow this when you work outside the home and have designated work hours. You know when to focus and, conversely, when to kick off happy hour.

When you work from home, however, that all changes. There are interruptions, domestic and family needs, social opportunities, and a lax environment.

If you’re like me, in order to set boundaries between your professional and personal life, you adopt a strict “work first, play second” mentality.

Play is essential to your success, but the above advice needs to be completely reworked.

Chances are you are an independent, motivated, dedicated, innovative individual who always puts forth 110%. If this sounds like you, then guess what? There will ALWAYS be work. From the moment you brainstorm over coffee, to at night when you lie in bed planning your to-do list, you’ll find that work never stops.

This is why you need to throw out “work first, play second” and adopt a new line of thought.

Intersperse Work With Play

Before I had this epiphany, I was always working, always busy and essentially putting off my life. Does this sound familiar?

I realized that the key to maintaining sanity, health and relationships was to “intersperse work with play.” Ah yes, a line of thought we can all live with.

What does this look like?

  • Prioritize family. Instead of telling my child again and again “Mommy’s working, I’ll play with you later,” I schedule time for him first. We spend 30 minutes together reading, playing board games, doing puzzles, etc.

  • Schedule breaks. I set a timer and take a break every hour for myself. Even if it’s just 10 minutes to stand up, stretch, step outside, chat online or refill my coffee.

  • Don’t be a hermit. I remember to say “yes” to friends. Although I can stay glued to my laptop and become a complete shut-in, I remember the value of laughter and companionship.

  • Set business hours. I could work all night, but started setting a cut-off time. Now my husband and I enjoy our evenings together after our kids are in bed, and I turn my brain off.

What are the results?

  • All the feels. My children feel loved and not neglected, they let me focus on work once their needs are met, and I have no more mom guilt.

  • Bye-bye tension. My neck and shoulders are less tense, I breathe more, and stepping away brings fresh ideas for content.

  • My village is strong. My friends understand they are important to me and are there when I need them. Which is good, because I will.

  • I know when to be on, and when to be off. Setting boundaries to separate my job from my personal life has improved my focus and productivity. I work when it’s work time (with breaks as I’ve described), but once I’m done, I’m done. This benefits my professional quality and output, and has strengthened my family relationships.  

  • How do you intersperse healthy breaks when working from home?

 

Author Jackie Toops:

A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children.

5 Ways Bloggers Can Find A Contact To Pitch

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You can have the best pitch ready to send a brand, but there is one nagging thing that stops so many influencers dead in their tracks from sending those pitches out...finding the brands contact.

One of the reasons our FB group is so popular is because we help bloggers to find contacts for brands they wish to reach. That being said most of those contacts can be found with an easy search on google and by using the proper wording.

Over the next few weeks we will go into more depth on how to find the proper brand contact, but because we know many bloggers have trouble with this here a few quick ways to make your email search easier:

Press Releases- Press releases are your best friend. Most of the time the golden ticket aka "the contact" is right there at the bottom. How do you find a press release? You can easily google " brand's name press release 2016". You can also find press releases on sites like PRWeb.com and PRNewsWire.com

About Us- Venture to any brand's website and click on "About Us". It is usually there you can find corporate information about the brand. Sometimes one of those tabs will say media contacts leading your directly to a contact.

Press/News/Media - Again sometimes this tab may be nested under "About Us" or it may have it's own tab at the bottom of a website. If you see this click on it and sometimes you will luck up and find a media contact on display. If not continue on to one of their press releases to see if the contact is there. 

Google It- A simple google search of "brand's name media contact" or "brand's name media relations" usually will generate a helpful email address.

LinkedIn- LinkedIn allows you to look up the employees for a company along with their title (as long as they are LinkedIn member) . Look up the brand on there you are interested in find their marketing or PR contact and then google " their name, the brand's name, email" to see if you can locate a contact address.

Social Media- Twitter for the most part allows you to DM brands without following. If all else fails send a short message via Twitter or FB. DO NOT send your pitch this way. Just simply let them know you would like to reach out to their PR or marketing rep.

Try doing these tips on your next pitching session to a brand.