I saw a tweet the other day that pointed out something about the modern age: anyone, anywhere, now can easily get the means to be an artist, filmmaker, musician… jobs that used to require very special training and expensive equipment. It’s an amazing thing, but if there are far more people able to complete the same task, then how valuable is that job?

Because of this, many people crave to be noticed with how well they can complete their work, and try everything they can to try and get people to look their way and enjoy their creations. Some even go so far to do their work for free to anyone with a larger audience than them, or even offer free art to people willing to follow them.

But many of these things, while the resources are more readily available, take a good deal of talent and training in order to create. So while doing the free work may help a creator get noticed, is it actually good for them?

As someone who has done art commissions and voice acting for YouTube, honestly often it’s not. Hours of work and training sometimes have to go into even a single piece of art, and years of practice; a lot of time and energy used with little payoff. I’ve seen a lot of artists and creators burn themselves out doing volunteer work, then struggle with their expenses and lives since they spend so much time working for free.

Simply enough, doing creative work for free or cheap now and then as a favor is fine, but if you have a talent or skill you’ve worked hard at, don’t sell yourself short. If you love your work, then sell it. Set up a Patreon or Ko-fi to reward your followers and take donations. Charge money for commissions, especially when other people have the means to pay. You can make a living off your talents, you just gotta work hard and value your own work.

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