Why Exposure Doesn't Always Pay the Bills

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I will never forget when I first received that phone call. Actually, let's back up a second to the "hello" that I received through social media. A potential client knew that I designed websites for Wordpress and reached out through a Direct Message. She was working with a well known celebrity on a project and wanted me to create a similar site. The site that she wanted started at around $1000. We exchange information. Then the phone call came.... After providing her with the price and what it included, she said the unthinkable.

Her: Well by doing my site, you would be getting tons of exposure. You would get tons of referrals from just this one site.

I almost dropped the phone but I didn't. Exposure. If I was a newbie and was trying to establish my portfolio, I would MAYBE reconsider. However, after you pay a few dues, know that exposure doesn't pay the bills. You can't make money on potential.

If there was anything I've learned from doing business it was that empty promises won't keep the lights on. Some may say well it depends on the price point. That's a fair argument. If it was a project under $100, I would consider it. However, it would still be hard for me to swallow it because I believe in paying for what you respect. Respect your own work enough to not devalue it.  If you do trade exposure for your work, here are some things to think on.

1. Links to you & your website/work. I'm a web designer & so if I've done the site, my name is placed on the footer of the site or within my portfolio of sites. The worst thing to do is to not get credit for an exposure trade.

2. Social media shout out/promotion. If someone is trying to get work done for free, the least they can do is give you a shout out. However, consider the worth of a shout out. What's their engagement numbers like? Someone who has 20K followers but only gets a few comments under their pictures or averages only 100 likes should raise a flag.

3. If you do not hear from someone due to the work you've done after an exposure trade, learn your lesson & learn it quick!

4. Remember that if you want more clients, do more networking & engagement. I've never had to do ad placement or in your face marketing for one client. I know that each arena in business is very different though.

Remember: If someone values your gift that much, they should pay for it. Don't be so desperate for a dollar that you forget that there are always more clients out there who are willing to pay! Work hard to find them & connect with them!

So what are your thoughts? Has anyone ever asked you to trade your work for exposure? How did it go? Did it end with profitable results?

(Originally written for BusinessBabesOnline.com)