The mere question – should I work for free? – is one worth contemplating on. The idea has been raised and debated on several times in LinkedIn polls, Twitter hashtags, or even in videos and podcasts on the internet. However, perhaps, there can never be a clear-cut answer to this question.

Well, it’s because your priorities are and will be constantly shifting. Hence, the answer cannot be the same every time, for everyone. It completely depends on your current needs and goals and your relationships. What’s right for you may not be ideal for another person, and what’s right for you presently probably won’t be in the forthcoming five to ten years. Let’s explore a few circumstances.

More often than not purposeful ventures with practically zero spending budgets are appended to compelling people with influential names and a vast network of connections. Being on calls and exchanging messages with individuals of note, organising occasions with A-list guests – can help you in finding a large number of opportunities. Many professional journeys have been kick-started by a friendly “hope you remember me? It was a pleasure working with you” email after you have built a solid rapport with some one.

Suppose if somebody requests you to make his/her website free of charge in return for your name showing up in the fine print, will that truly assist you with acquiring more customers? It may if that someone is a renowned individual who garners millions of views or grows to be someone big in the industry and becomes an invaluable contact. And if that someone agrees to write a testimonial or make a short video about how your websites are always unique with a sense of personalisation and why people should employ you, the exposure that you’d then gain could be worth it.

A new project can assist you with acquiring new aptitude or visibility in a space where you haven’t yet sparkled. For instance, let’s say that you agreed to work with someone pursuing a Ph.D. in a particular subject. This will advance your skills rapidly about that specific area. The disadvantage will be that you would have to do it along with your other work liabilities. But the advantages are far surpassed the additional time commitment.

Acquiring experience could assist you with finding work. Regardless of whether it implies taking pictures to assemble a portfolio for your photography business or addressing crowds to acquire paid speaking engagements, working pro bono may be a productive step in your career. However, it’s critical to put forth a timetable on how long or how much work you’ll accomplish doing so. In case you find yourself working for nothing even after a few years, it’s certainly a leisure activity and not an actual job or business. So, it is important to ask yourself, “What do I desire to acquire from this?” Whenever you agree to volunteer your time, have a clear objective in mind.

Working for a good cause or volunteering for something good should really be one everyone’s list. It is good for the soul. As it’s been said, this one is tied in with giving as opposed to receiving. The more you give, the better you’ll feel. Several studies and notable leaders have stated that “helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive and meaningful.” Just make sure to be forthright with regards to the amount of time you will be able to commit so that it doesn’t go on to become something that breeds resentment.


There can be benefits of giving your time for Pro Bono work, and one should be clear about those benefits, be it visibility, learning, experience, building a network or building relationships. Do not overcommit your time. Do not work for free if you believe there’s a possibility you can be paid for it or unless and until you’re deliberately gifting your time as well as expertise for a larger purpose that you believe in. You have to take a call if the soft merits are worth the time you’ll put in or not. If you don’t value your time, others won’t either. Thus, it’s significant to realise your own worth.

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