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Freelancing and childcare.

(8 Posts)
notthegruffalo Mon 24-Feb-14 19:46:54

I freelance in the creative industries. I do a lot if things for free - giving interviews, giving short talks etc. Often there is a token fee, or a fee in kind ( eg an artwork, a copy of the book being promoted), and more often than not these things lead to paid opportunities. And of course loads of openings, launch events etc, which are part of the same economy.

Before I became a parent I would think of these events as 'cost of sales ' - part of what I had to do to keep up my profile and find new work.

Now I have ds (6 mo) and have just been invited to give a talk about feminism. There is no fee "but your expertise will be invaluable and you will be fully credited." It's for a (funded) research project run by a prestigious academic.

I plan to say yes I'll come, with my son. Or if they prefer, they can pay for childcare. Aibu? What would you do? Tbh ds won't have a brilliant time. Am I being selfish?

Flibbertyjibbet Mon 24-Feb-14 20:09:44

When I was freelance I used to get asked to do a lot of stuff for free- while the people asking me to do the free stuff were usually well paid ... Giving talks, helping a radio journalist get background for a programme, people who would offer thir company to be used as a 'case study'. All these things were put to me as a way to get 'exposure' and thus help get me business.

I had two children in child are 3 days a week and preferred to spend that time doing actual paid work!

One day someone said 'you can die from too much exposure' and she was right.

When I got 'offers' to do free stuff I started to give them a list of rates. Talk = £x inc several hours prep work, picking my brains was £x per hour etc etc. strangely some of them said no thanks, but others were happy to pay.

Don't ask for £xx for child care, ask for £xxx for actually bringing something that they want, to their event!

Flibbertyjibbet Mon 24-Feb-14 20:11:31

Ps if it's a funded project there will be a budget for a fee if they want you enough. And if they don't value you enough to pay for your expertise (and making them look good) then don't do it.

notthegruffalo Mon 24-Feb-14 20:28:06

I know you're right. But it hurts to turn stuff down, doesn't it? This is an organisation I do a lot of work with and who have always been really supportive of my work, so I'm keen to stay involved. And I know they've asked other people too so if I ask to be paid then they would have to pay everyone, and that means they definitely won't do it.

But all of that is irrelevant - you are of course right.

How and why do other people afford it though???

whatdoesittake48 Tue 25-Feb-14 07:46:00

Only you can decide if the opportunity is enough for you to give up your time for free - but it is certainly reasonable for you to take your child with you - if that is practical for you.

In fact, a talk a bout feminism would be the perfect environment to show the difficulties associated with the lack of childcare in the UK - and the lack of opportunities for mothers who want to look after their children and work at the same time.

I have also been asked to do some stuff for free - I am a freelance writer. I don't need the exposure, but do sometimes accept if it means I get something in return. One recent example is free merchandise for a few blogs...

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notthegruffalo Tue 25-Feb-14 19:43:54

Yes, the others are academics. And I am always the one saying, "I am not part of the academic economy. Please pay me ..." But not often than not, they just congratulate me for making the point but then say their hands are tied.

I do think bringing ds would make the point pretty well. But would he want to be there? It would be a pretty boring few hours for him (to the extent that he would notice - he's still very young) So perhaps it is selfish - using ds as a pawn for my politics?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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