Should I Take This Freelancing Job? Check Here First!

This freelancing checklist will help you make decisions regarding accepting freelancing work. Its guiding voice is a simple but powerful mantra, “Respect Yourself. Respect Your Client.” STOP being exploited and start earning money doing what you love. 


freelance for artists

Do any of the following apply?

______ 1.) This job will enable me to earn money that will properly compensate me for my time and talents.


If you checked off #1, by all means take the job! If you answered no you should be checking off at least one, preferably more than one of the following.


______ 2.) This job exposes me to people who can and will help my career moving forward. 

______ 3.) This job will significantly enhance my portfolio and therefore gain me other jobs in the future.

______ 4.) This job will enable me to learn new and valuable skills I can use in my career.

______ 5.) I believe so strongly in this company, cause, family member, close friend, or organization that I will be perfectly happy doing free work for them.


This checklist applies not only to freelance work but to any job, (full-time, part-time or internship) you might take. I personally advise my own university and online students to stay far far away from people who want to benefit from their time and talents for no monetary compensation.

Unpaid exploitation of artists is sadly all too common and can hide in statements like: “unpaid internship,” “volunteer experience,” “this will be GREAT for your portfolio (but we won’t pay you),” “a contest where the so-called prize is you get to have your work on a website or some other bogus form of exposure,” “a freelancer website where you do work for free and hope a potential client will pick you,” etc. 

In general we don’t ask mechanics, doctors, farmers, or anyone with skills we value to work for free so it’s up to us artists to respect ourselves and say NO to exploitation!

​Obviously there are times when it is perfectly appropriate and fine to work for free: helping out a close friend or family member in exchange for the experience/portfolio opportunity, helping a cause we believe in 100%, getting our name out there, etc.

Choose wisely and always err on the side of respecting yourself first!

And while deciding what to charge a client is a whole other topic (that I get into in the video interview below and also in my online course, Freelance Success For Artists: A Quick & Easy Guide  ), if you’re trying to convert your paid hours into a weekly, monthly, or yearly salary estimate, check out this handy free online tool from The Calculator Site that will make that easy for you.

Finally, if you have more questions… I am doing a live interview on freelancing for creative people today. (*Don’t worry, you can watch the recording if you are reading this after the fact!)

Here is the video and link:



“In today’s Creative Success Story, we are talking to Kristen Palana, a practicing award winning multimedia artist, world educator and author. Treat this like your freelancing 101 for artists class – if you’re interested in earning money and building your reputation doing what you love, this live interview with Kristen will help you have a better understanding of what it takes to start and work as a freelance artist or creative.

Some of the things covered in this video: what do you need to start freelancing, how to find freelance clients, build an effective portfolio, how to price your services, what are some things to avoid, how do you create a repeat client list, produce income and build your reputation as a freelance creative, etc.”

➤ Links mentioned in the video… • Take Kristen’s Online Masterclass on Freelance Success for Artists