Yesterday I wrote about why you should never work for free. Today I want to delve into the topic of ‘exposure’. Anyone with any experience of running their own business or being otherwise self employed, say as a freelancer, will no doubt have been offered many incredible opportunities to ‘boost their exposure’ over the years. I certainly have. Exposure can sound amazing in certain contexts, perhaps, if it’s offered as an opportunity to appear on TV. However, it can be very challenging in instances where it’s offered as a form of payment.
Enter my new Crypto Currency: Exposure Coin. I’m launching this coin in response to the real uptick in demand that I’ve noticed in recent years from people looking to pay for goods and services in ‘exposure’ rather than in Euro. Given this obvious demand for people looking for others to work in exchange for opportunities to gain exposure I feel that it is about time that we have financial instrument to support the exposure growing market.
Exposure Coin will be pegged against the normal money value of goods or services at launch. It will also be possible to trade the coin for incumbent currencies like the Euro, Pound or Dollar. This would enable a purchaser to continue to pay for the things they need in exposure but will also enable the service provider to be paid in a format that has a tangible value that they can then use to pay their bills and to put food on their families tables. The timing for this launch is very apt too as even the dog in the street seems to be talking about all things ‘crypto’ and ‘blockchain’ these days - evidencing what a hot topic this is…
Ok so as that last bit of sarcasm alludes too, I’m actually not being at all serious here. I’m not really launching ‘Exposure Coin’ - or at least not just yet anyway. However, I am writing this post all in all earnestness, to raise awareness about the very real issue that it is never ok to not pay people, or (almost) worse still, to expect others to provide goods or services in lieu of exposure. Speaking as someone who’s had plenty of ‘exposure’ in their day, although sometimes nice to have, I’ve never seen it as anything that had any kind of tangible value and so have never accepted it as a form of payment.
The funniest ‘exposure’ related experience I’ve ever had was a restaurant downloading one of my photos from Instagram to use on their own social media channel without my permission. The incredible thing was that it took a lot of effort to get them to remove it and they were almost expressing shock when I asked them to do so. I wondered how much more or less shock they’d be in if I rocked up for dinner one evening and then, getting up to leave without paying, I announced: “Totally cool guys, I ‘Snapchatted’ my whole dinner there - that’ll be great for your exposure!” I suspect they wouldn’t see the funny side of things.
A better way of handling this might have been to contact me to ask if it was ok to use my photo while inviting me to have dinner in their restaurant as their guest. There we would've had an obvious value exchange.
In reality, there are also times when someone may well have a social media following that you’d like to have access to, so you may feel that it’s worth trading your efforts for access to that audience. This may well constitute a value exchange but make sure that you have someway of clearly measuring the potential value to you in such a deal. If you can't measure the value then it's probably more of that exposure rubbish so walk away.
Conversely, you may may have an audience that somebody else might benefit from having access to. Just make sure that everybody is clear from the outset about the value that each party is bringing to the table in such circumstances. Expanding on my post from yesterday, it’s as important to know the value of others as it is to know the value of oneself.
If you have any inclination that you are being taken advantage of then you probably are so walk away. If you feel that everyone's getting a fair deal then go ahead. Worse case scenario - you get in wrong - chalk that down to a learning experience and improve from there the next time out!
Got a great story of someone offering you exposure for something? Please do share it in the comments below!