Three things could happen to you as a contract content creator or artist.
1. You could get paid less than what you are worth, which happens a lot.
2. You could be lured into working for free especially by friends and family, in which case, you get friend-zoned.
3. You could draw a line in the sand and ask to be paid your due before rendering your service.
The three scenarios depend on the type of clients you are doing business with, the value of the solution you offer and how you position your offering.
Doing contract work is like speed-dating. There are many fish in the ocean and if one client wants to pinch pennies with you, there are many other clients you can put in your prospects pipeline. Ask for your dues and be willing to negotiate.
When working for friends or family, it is expected that if you work for free, they’d find ways to reciprocate the gesture. Nothing is really free which is why getting them to value your time by communicating things you might need from them in the future is a healthy way to ask your due. This is probably the reason why the Chinese say, “Wine and dine with friends and family but do business with strangers.”
The last scenario is tricky in a buyers market. If you want to get paid before action, you must have either built a relationship with your clients or you are one of the best in your area of competence or you are so darn hard to replace. Whichever it is, there’s nothing like asking for your due.This could be more money, more equity or more jobs.
The simple fact is, your clients can’t read your mind when you don’t stand up and ask. So ask.