Freelancing for friends

I caught this article called??“Freelance writing mistakes to avoid”??on a site called Helium, and while it’s written in a more simplistic fashion than I usually like, it does make a good point about freelancing for friends. We all like to do favors for friends, and indeed, it’s an excellent philosophy to follow — first, because it’s good karma, and then, hey, you may need a favor yourself someday.

But if you’re trying to make a living as a freelancer, your time is important, and the time that you spend writing a friend’s resume, or fixing their computer, or designing their Web site, etc. etc. is time that you’re not spending actually making a living. Again, I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea to help friends out using your skills. But make sure that’s not all you’re doing with your time — and if a friend offers to pay, and can afford to pay, you may not want to automatically turn them down.

(Actually working for a friend — as opposed to doing a favor — is a whole other can of worms, incidentally. How much do you charge? What do you do if they ask for something that you don’t have time to provide? What do you do if you are offered an important paying job that would interrupt their job? What do you do if they don’t pay? I don’t have answers for these sometimes sticky questions — but they are things you need to think about before you start a project for a friend or relative.)


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