When I first started freelance writing, I was sixteen years old in college with bills to pay. I enjoyed writing for myself and spent hours working on fictional pieces.
However, writing for clients was always considered work and nothing else, and the value of all projects was measured purely in the immediate dollars and cents that they provided.
Ten years later, when I took on freelance writing full-time, my perspective was the same. If it wasn’t cash in hand or cash in the bank it wasn’t a worthwhile project to take on. However, the more clients I work with the more I find myself taking on projects which pay in other ways.
Not all great clients pay in cash.
In fact, some of your absolute best clients will not be able to offer cash in hand. I had one friend pay for my services by letting me use her card to buy lingerie. I also have one client who helps me renovate my new home in exchange for managing the online presence of his construction business.
Earlier this year, I took on a client who sometimes pays in cash. But for the most part, they pay by providing a wealth of connections and beneficial experiences. And who can complain about that?
My Favourite Client: SMG/Godigio LLC
In January 2016, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse when I met an executive for a lifestyle and entertainment start-up. The company and its sibling was backed by Jesse Boyce, a musician who had paved a path of success in the industry. He has worked with household names like Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Lionel Richie.
The executive was looking for a fellow millennial to be the voice of the company through its blog and social media platforms. They had big aspirations, but a small budget, and needed help with generating some buzz before their launch date later this year.
I was given the freedom to set my own (future) pay rate and work my own hours, but no payment could be guaranteed until the investors put their money where their mouths were.
The Godigio Perks
“We can’t pay you until funding comes in,” the President told me. “But we have connections, which means a whole lot of perks – travelling, meeting big artists in the industry, free concert tickets, business cards for your freelance services… and maybe some free gear.”
I took five seconds to think about it and the next thing I knew I was the contracted VP of Social Media for Godigio and so far the perks have been great. The most recent perk involved me travelling to Nashville to work behind and in front of the camera on a series of video shoots.
They covered all the expenses and I had a blast meeting great people; including the CNN cast who had come to work with Jesse on an upcoming piece.
Other perks included free tickets to live shows like a Black Violin concert in April. The show was amazing, and it helps that one of the members happens to be the best friend of the President behind the company which owns Godigio. That meant I got to meet them in person.
You Should Try It Too
You may think that an opportunity like this is unlikely to come your way, but many start-ups with great connections are looking to hire. Don’t turn them down simply because they can’t immediately make big contributions to your monthly income.
That start-up could connect you with the right people to kick-start your career or provide you with amazing experiences to complement your lifestyle. I know one freelancer who got paid in a cruise trip for him and his wife from a start-up travel agency.
As long as your bills are paid, be open to accepting kind in place of cash from passionate people looking for a little help to further their dreams. They will remember your assistance and thank you for it, and if success comes their way you can count on being taken along for the journey.
Here are the pictures from my Godigio/SMG-sponsored business trip. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait until they find some new reason to send me to Nashville again.
This is not paid promotion of any kind – not even perks! I took some amazing pictures on the trip and knew that this three-day travel adventure might inspire someone out there to take a chance.
Have a great week guys!
Originally published in March of 2016.