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When you invest in a freelance consultant, you invest in the power of words, advice, and knowledge – an investment that makes all the difference, but can’t be physically seen, as it’s typically a conversation that you have.

But should this mean that the investment is less worthy, and therefore should be offered on an unpaid basis?

All Work – No Pay

An article by the Guardian, explores the exploitation of a freelance filmmaker who ‘committed one of the biggest crimes in the freelance world, ‘ by offering to work for commercial companies – for free- in return for exposure and experience.

The filmmaker recalls situations when he agreed the payment total beforehand, to then be refused pay when the job was completed.

As a first-time freelancer, it’s only natural to feel like you can’t demand a chunky pay-cheque, as you’re lacking in experience and your contacts list is as short as a lunch receipt. On the other hand, this leaves room for companies to undervalue the work of freelancers, and expect the work to be completed for free, or at a cheaper rate.

The newly-emerged freelancer soon realised that he was ‘undermining seasoned professionals and possibly causing them to lose out on paid work.’

He said, ‘I also didn’t foresee that, even after gaining professional experience and expertise, I’d still get asked to work for no pay.’

Annual loss of £5394

Research conducted by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) and The Freelancer Club, found that Freelancers working within the creative industry make a whopping annual loss of £5394, due to free work.

The Freelancer Club provides a platform for creative freelancers to access jobs, meet other freelancers through networking events, and get support through mentor sessions. The Freelancer Club actively support paid work for freelancers, and as a result, they have launched the #NoFreeWork campaign.

The campaign attempts to change attitudes towards freelancers and foregrounds the value of their work. The Guardian article written by David Chandler, founder of Kind Sir Production, continues to read,

“To this day, there is still an expectation that I will work for either an extremely low amount, or nothing at all. I love filming, but I have a bigger passion for, you know, being able to afford the rent and having enough to eat.”

He continues, “I firmly believe legislation should be introduced to stop exploitative free work where the client clearly profits financially.”

Protection for self-employed

The lack of protection for gig-economy workers and contractors has increasingly been at the forefront of the public agenda. An inquiry report released by the Work and Pensions Parliamentary Committee explores employment status, rights and benefits for self-employed workers and freelancers. The report summarises that,

“It is clear that current ways of categorising workers are creaking under the weight of the changing economy.”

The Taylor report, which is expected to be published later this year, will also look into employment practices for the self-employed. The Taylor report, put together with the inquiry report, is expected to function as a catalyst of change for self-employed professionals, and gig economy workers.

At Gorilla Accounting, we proactively inform our customers on upcoming legislation changes, as part of our all-inclusive accountancy package for just £85 plus vat per month.

For more information, get in touch with a member of our New Business Team by calling 0330 024 0406 or email