Why you should never work for free
Cake decorators are a talented bunch. Creative, full of free flowing ideas and passionate. But everything that makes them all kinds of wonderful are the very things that trip them up.
You see, that passionate enthusiasm allows them to get all a bit too carried away and before they know it, they find the words yes coming out of their mouths when they actually mean no. It may be a cake for a friend, a discount that would eat into their profits. Sometimes a cake decorator or any creative person is actually so excited about the design aspect of a project they overlook the money part of the project.
Professional cake decorators spend a good deal of time and money to learn their skill and practice their craft. And they are in business to make money. This is a basic economic law, a business needs to earn money to operate and pay its operator, it baffles me that cake decorators and other creatives so often are saying they have completed work for free or have been paid to cover costs, which is still working free just to be clear.
Do not confuse working for free with donating your time. These are very different things. I may choose to donate my time to a charity or for a friend in need. That is a donation. Working for free is giving more discounts that you can afford, working to make a cake in the hope of a little free exposure that very likely will not result in paid work.
Professional cake decorators should be paid for their time, for their time is valuable like any other professional and as it happens, they actually spend less of their time doing the creative part of their job that they love. They have to answer emails, order supplies, pick up said supplies, meet with clients, liaise with clients, send out quotes, deliver cakes not to mention all the OTHER stuff that goes with running a business.
So cake decorators, know this. PEOPLE WILL NEVER STOP ASKING YOU TO WORK FOR FREE. Stop expecting them to be considerate of you and your feelings. They have done nothing wrong by asking. It is up to you to learn to say no. Say it now. Right now. Out loud. Actually shout it. NO NO NO. It feels good doesn’t it. And the more you say it it feels easier and better.
This has nothing to do with not showing compassion in the world. Saying no does not make you a bad person. In fact, when you are saying no, you are showing true compassion. Compassion for yourself and your boundaries. Be kind to yourself and choose to spend the few hours you have on this planet with your loved ones, doing the things you love and being paid for the work you have chosen to do.
FOOTNOTE – Are there ever times you should work for free? Yes. For your mum. You should always work for free for your mum.
Louise runs the online course Start Your Cake Business which is designed to help you achieve profits and success in your home cake business.
You can learn more about the course HERE