This may be impossible if you're wanting to become an electrician or other trade but for us creatives we are very lucky most of the time to be able to create (/work) without needing someone allowing us to.
It probably comes from the cliche "fake it till you make it" except you're actually doing the work. I think this is something that is maybe not taught in any education but you're able to create artworks or editorials or logos for yourself like the work you want to be paid for eventually without needing a client. You are able to pull a 'client' from your imagination and work to a 'brief' as long as you're motivated enough. Although the main point is that you have to create the work like the work you want to get.
There is no point posting on social media some bridal shower invitations you did for your cousin if want you want to be doing is creating editorial illustrations for surf culture magazines... Because 1. Brides will hunt you down and you will get a whole heap more bridal work, and that magazine you read religiously will a) maybe never come across your page or work or b) will see it and think that your style isn't for them. You really have to show clients, your audience and future customers where you're going, what you're doing and your opinion.
It is so important to not get too caught up in saying what you want to be doing but instead - focus, motivate yourself and put the right work out there.
The second point I really wanted to cover today crosses over in both my creative work life as well as my blogging / social media. This is a topic that I may contradict myself on because it is an iffy topic but I will try my best not to ramble.
If you are in a creative field & reading this you probably can relate to this topic in some way or another. For some reason creative fields get hit hardest when it comes to working not for currency? But if we are not getting paid then what are we getting out of it?
Exposure? A Candle? What?
First of all I think it really is about where you are at in your work or business. If you are new and still looking for guidance and experience of course you are in a different position to someone who is slightly more experience. When you are getting asked to work for "exposure" you have to look at a few things:
What are you offering
Since I work full time as I typographer/Graphic Designer am I just offering those services or does the client also expect me to offer my social media promotion of the work? This is something to consider as you would then be looking at what you're offering much more than just your time. Does it fit within your social media brand? Is it really something you want to align yourself with? Is this work really something you want to attract more of? How long will it take you to complete? Are you offering expertise or specified skill? Are you just starting out?
What are they offering
What the client is offering normally goes into two categories for me..
Is it a brand that I really love but are just starting out so don't have huge budgets? If it is a brand you truly believe in and love you might be more likely to take it on so you can build a relationship and align yourself with that company.
Or is it a much larger brand that is offering you some great exposure? With the latter you really have to look at that and see first of all are you really going to be highlighted enough that it makes it worth it and does that brand's exposure really make a difference to your brand?
Do you really want what they are offering?
This happens more often than not with social media and blogging work rather than design work. Especially when brands would much rather throw free things at you then actually pay you for spending the day shooting, editing and posting about their clothes. Realistically you how many candles does one girl need? You really need to look at what you're getting in return for your work and thinking hard about if it is worth it to you and if you really want what they are willing to give you in return.
Ask for more / Your work is worth it.
If you feel like you're getting ripped off, you probably are. If you are getting paid for similar work then I would encourage you to let that client know that and you never know if they will mysteriously come back to you with budget (that happens) Your work is worth it. You are worth it. You have to pay your bills like everyone else and I am 100% sure your landlord doesn't accept exposure as payment.
I thought I would end on just one good example and one bad example that has happened to me over the last few years.
About a year or less ago now I had licensed a few artworks for reproduction for tees with some really great brands which all paid the amount I asked. I was then contacted by a PR company who wanted me to do the same for one of their brands. Not only spend the time creating the artwork they also wanted me to promote this through all of my channels. When I brought up my licensing fees I was told that I wouldn't be paid for any of it but I could have some free tshirts... this was an opportunity I had to turn down. Not only was I creating and advertising the product, I would have been giving more exposure to the brand than it would in return, without cost.
However a situation which I think it was worth it was when I had only just started out (before my online store etc) and I had posted an image of one of my all time favourite magazines. A few days later I was contacted by the creative director asking if I could create 2 small words for them to be used in the next issue. Not only in that situation was the work on my end quite small but I was also getting in return a 2 page spread in that issue. For me who had only just started out was a great opportunity and totally worth it.
Let me know if you have had any sticky situations that you feel you are getting ripped off.