After stumbling across my pet-portrait commission work through social media shares, the “client” private messages me and sends me a (low quality, face barely visible) photo of their pet.
Client: Can you draw from this photo? If you did this and shared it to my social media feed your following will definitely double!
Me: I’m currently taking commission bookings if that’s something you’re interested in?
Client: I was thinking that it would be a charitable donation. It would be really popular with my audience and I’m absolutely certain it would get you lots of sales!
At this point I was stalling for time as I racked my brain for a client-friendly response. From previous experiences where (paying!) customers have shared my work, sharing to this size of audience definitely doesn’t guarantee more sales.
Client: We could even get my audience to make decisions about the creative direction of the piece! There could even be a promotional campaign where a percentage of the profits from your future sales goes into my charity!
Me: I can’t work for free, I’m very sorry.
(I then provided information about my fees and explained that I’m fully booked for several months so would have to wait their turn if they were to book now)
Client: Oh. Okay.
I felt a bit bad about knocking the wind out of their sails, but I think I dodged a bullet.