How Working for Free Can Enhance your Life and your Career, by Brandon Jackson, Director of Marketing and Social Media

I’m going to be real with you all this week! Working for free can change the trajectory of your career path and increase your business acumen for the better – IF you can see the value in opportunities that are in front of you. It doesn’t sound fun at first but believe me when I tell you – you’ll be better for it. Since I’ve started working for free, so many doors have opened that are going to help me reach my goals. I’ve met amazing people, acquired new skills, and learned more about an industry that I’m not employed full-time in. It’s a game changer and may be the thing you do that sets yourself apart from the rest of the herd.

This can be a touchy topic in the workforce as many people believe that no matter the circumstance, money or general compensation should always be on the receiving end of work. However, that’s not what’s going to separate you from those who are real hungry and hustling with a chip on their shoulder. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that time is valuable and people shouldn’t be taken advantage of, but at the same time, if you can squeeze it into your schedule, life can change for the better. Don’t think about the things you’ll lose but think about what you must gain and how much better you’ll come out on the other side. I used to hate the term “You get paid with experience” but it’s true and no one is telling you that you can’t eventually cash out on that experience!

A positive I want to touch on is that working for free enhances your network as a professional. I’m not advocating for anyone to quit their day job or neglect the 9-5 that pays you, I’m saying that working for free, volunteering, etc. allows you to connect with those that you may not have had a chance to in your day job. For whichever organization you’re grinding for, you can build relationships with managers, executives, and others who work for that same organization. That could turn into mentorships or allies in your corner. Better yet, if you put out good work and are consistent, you then have more people in your corner. You build goodwill and trust with those across different businesses and it could turn into a lucrative opportunity in the long run. Don’t fall short of seeing the larger picture.

A second positive is that working for free exposes you to possibilities you may not have normally had. You could work for free in an entirely different industry that is separate from your 9-5. You also get a chance to build out your portfolio with a legitimate partner and market yourself as such. I understand that some may not be able to do anything for free and I get that, but if you have time or an inkling that a certain opportunity can take off for you than grab it!

Lastly, working for free allows you to express yourself a bit more because it’s more than just monetary compensation. You don’t have to, and you won’t work for free at a place where you don’t align with the mission or values. It could be your own way of giving back to the community or asking to do something you’ve never done before just to add value. Everything thing you represent in this life, you should strive to add value. The best part about it is that putting in the work early on can turn into a paying job later and you get to cash out on the skills you’ve obtained. Sometimes you must show that you’re worth it and trust the process!

Thanks for reading!

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