As a business owner, product owner, marketer or communications director do you value creative work? Does it make an impact on your bottom line? Generate awareness? Build your brand? Get attention for your product?
If you do, then please help persuade your peers, fellow board members, and colleagues against asking for free creative work. Stop holding logo contests. Don’t ask for volunteers to design, write, illustrate, photograph, animate, code or produce anything for free. Refuse to approve spec work. Stop expecting creative makers to work for free.
Like it or not, creative services are part of our capital-driven society and those who make things are an essential part of the economy. Like all services, businesses need to pay for design, writing, photography, videos, etc. to make the economics work. The creative economy in Minnesota in 2014 was $7.8 Billion.* In the U.S. it was $704 Billion (2013).** Out-dated ideas that you can get this work for free need to be eliminated.
As you read this you may be thinking that is is obvious. But, just yesterday I received a request to do “volunteer” work as a “labor of love” for the 2018 Super Bowl. No kidding. Someone on the Minneapolis host committee thought it would be great if they just asked designers, illustrators, writers, producers, etc. to contribute their work for free to create a guide that promotes other businesses during the Super Bowl. That’s right, create FREE work to help other businesses make money.
This kind of thinking has to end. So, I’m going to ask my fellow business leaders, entrepreneurs, marketers, owners, and colleagues to shut it down. If you are in a conversation in which someone suggests getting creative work for free, just stop them in their tracks and tell them they need to find some money to pay for it. Do it for the economy. Do it to keep other businesses afloat. Do it because it is the right thing to do. It will pay off for you and everyone else.