How To Decide If Spec Work Is the Thing For You

Are you looking for new projects and it’s been quite long since your last paycheck? Bills are stacked on the shelf and you would accept ANYTHING just to get a new paycheck? Are you considering taking up spec work? Then read below and find out if spec work is the thing for you.

You might be a good fit for spec work if….

You really need the money. Badly. Your work isn’t the best out there. But you’re cheap. Because you don’t know better. Or maybe you do…. Maybe that’s all you’re worth. You work for loose change because your design are worth loose change, or that’s about how much they cost to buy from a stock photo website, and you add a touch here and there. You change a colour, change a font here and there, add an extra sparkle and – voila! The spec work is done, the client will certainly love your low price and you got yourself a paycheck.

Are you in this category? If so, you can take up your folder of ready made design ideas and apply confidently on Freelancer or PeoplePerHour 99designs.com and start applying at hundreds of low paid, low expectation, no respect jobs.  But don’t call yourself a designer. Call yourself a paid minion. Call yourself the towel boy for the slick boss who waves a paycheck under your nose much like the farmer putting a carrot in front of a plow mule.

Don’t try it, no matter what, if…

You are a true professional. You invest time, talent and skill in your work. You see your relationship with a client as a collaboration based on mutual respect, on understanding ideas, demands and coming up with a high quality result. Clients who try baiting you with a contest for the best design aren’t really looking our for quality. For them, best means cheapest.

Don’t be cheap. When you undervalue your work, you become a prey for clients who will exploit you to the maximum and pay you dimes. Word goes around in the online world that “he’s a good guy, works cheaply” and whenever you try to raise back your fees, you will find it very hard.

Why Is Spec Work So Bad, After All?

Spec work means that a lot of people are supposed to do a job – a part of a project – and only one gets paid. It nurtures plagiarism, sloppy work and in the end, it transforms the entire concept of bidding for a good idea into bidding for the lowest price. Quality has a price. Innovative design must be paid at its true value.

However, if your professional dignity is not so sensitive to the concept of fast work for little money, spec work could be the thing for you to make ends meet, to pay your bills and still have a bit left for kebab lunches and cheap rum.

It’s just a matter of defining yourself. Will you do anything for a fistful of dollars? Or will you value your work in a professional way? After all, this world is big enough for everybody….including spec work aficionados.

Still not convinced? Well, maybe this video will clear up what spec work is all about:

And now one final question: to spec work or not to spec work? Choose your side now!

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  • jmcgraphics

    We have completely different definitions for “spec work”

Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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