About a year after I finished high school a friend of mine contacted me asking to create some posters, business cards and brochures for her debut solo comedy show. She’d been in the circuit all throughout school and she was always OK for money so I was kind of hoping that after I’d finished the work for her she’d pay me something as thanks. I was young and inexperienced so I figured anyway that if she didn’t the exposure would help me out.
Fast forward to her show a few months later. I had completed the work with a simple ‘thank you’ in response which kind of ticked me off but whatever, I didn’t ask for money so I couldn’t really complain.
I buy my own ticket to her show so I can see my work, and sure enough it’s pasted all over the city, it’s on a billboard with a bunch of other young comedians show posters. It is everywhere. She sees me at her show but doesn’t talk to me and declines my text asking if she’d like to go have dinner later.
The poster goes on to win the comedy festival award for best show poster design. I get tagged in the post on Facebook and that is it.
About a year later I receive some Facebook messages.
Client: Hey! I’m producing some shows later this year for [Redacted, but some of the biggest comedians in the country] and I’m sorting out the posters. Since you did mine I’d like you to work on these.
Me: Okay I’m up for that, but I can’t afford to work for free as I have moved out of home now and pay my own rent.
Client: OK, how much would you charge for production pamphlets and the posters for 3 separate shows?
Me: For the number of hours I would be putting into it I would charge you [$x] per poster and [$x] [still a huge discount because I’m still clinging onto our close to seven-year friendship] for the brochures.
Client: Sounds great! I’ll get in contact with you when we’re closer to the show dates.
I have not heard from her since in either a professional or personal manner and the aforementioned shows have already completed their respective tours. Guess paying someone she’s known since she was 13 a little bit of money for a job worth 5 times the quote was too much for her.
Don’t work for your friends. Ever.