Freelancers get asked for free work. A lot.

Whether it's from friends, family members, or clients looking for spec work, there's an overwhelming expectation that, just because someone works alone, they're willing to give up their time.

You wouldn't ask your doctor for a free checkup, would you? You wouldn't expect your accountant to give you a pass on tax season "just this once," right?

So, why are creative professionals not treated with the same amount of respect?

Even though larger companies and clients are mostly to blame, freelancers need to do a better job of protecting their own interests.

Like most things, this confidence comes with time.

However, there's no reason why students and young professionals can't change this expectation from the beginning.

Here are a few ways to find paying opportunities from the start:

  • Placement agencies
  • Paid internships
  • Coworking centers
  • Professional organizations

Start here, and eventually, we can take the "free" out of freelancing.