Not Getting Paid For Projects

Do It Anyway

Have you ever taken up a project for the sole means of growing your own creative experiences and knowledge? Probably not…

And that’s okay! Or is it?

Most people wouldn’t want to take up any more of their precious time by adding onto their workload — especially when you’re not going to be paid for it.

We already work 8–10 hours a day, 5–7 days a week so why do any more if there is no compensation involved? Well, you might want to reconsider that notion based upon the belief that,

“Do good things and good things will come your way”

That principle has supported me throughout my entire life. From martial arts training, to helping out friends, staying late to close up shop, working an additional 10 hours so my direct reports could get extra time with their family and so on.

That’s simply how i’m wired, not everyone is and this post isn’t designed to make anyone feel they need to change their life around. No…what I hope to share with this post is that not everything you do in life has to have the prerequisite of monetization.

Show me the money

As a content creator, my focus has shifted from managing people in I.T to sharing experiences through imagery and video. I’ve been doing it since 2006 creating highlight reels and demo reels for the martial arts school I used to manage, but that’s besides the point.

At every turn of my career there has always been opportunity. I will say that 90% never turned out to bring an immediate ROI

BUT

The long term economics of being selfless and supporting others gradually opened up doors that I would have never been presented before.

It’s drawing the line between doing the right thing and making a buck. If you’re good enough and work hard every single day the bucks do come — not everyone is willing to deploy enough #patience is the problem.

We have bills to pay, families to support, vacations to pre-plan and on and on. The logical thing then is to ensure we have the financial backing and support to live the lifestyle we wish to have.

It’s obvious how accepting projects for free would run counter-intuitive to your plans, but doing something for free with the mindset of new opportunities and personal growth as the reward can be one of the sweetest things in life friends.

Life is sweet, it really is

A Recent Example

On April 1st, 2017 I received an email from Adobe sharing a contest to create a music video for the new Imagine Dragons single “Believer” with prizes and all that good stuff. All of the footage, audio and accessory media was supplied by Adobe, all you have to do is…

CREATE

I jumped on this opportunity even with the deadline being April 8th, packed with current projects and meetings I finished everything up this past Tuesday, April 4th and went to work.

Creating in Adobe Premiere Pro

Did I do any of this because I 100% believed the $25,000 grand prize would be mine?

NOT EVEN CLOSE

I did it because it was an opportunity to test my creative skills and push my current knowledge to the limits, forcing a sense of expansion and internal growth to create something unique.

NOTE: Lots of coffee, breathing exercises and focus was involved

I’m not sure if anyone reading this has ever worked with a video editor doing post production but it’s not as “Easy” as slapping together a few clips and calling it a day.

Perfect frame. Okay we are done

After 72 hours of arduous work, I exported the project and uploaded it to Adobe’s servers for the judges to review. I’ll still have to wait of course for the results to come but i’m more excited at seeing everyone else’s projects!

It’s the pure rush and excitement to learn from other creative professional’s work, to see what I could do better and take note of what people like about my own work.

To me, even if 72 hours of blistering work for a project means not even 5% of the viewers watch my video

THAT’S OKAY

I know that it’s not about the end, it’s not about the destination.

It’s about the process, the journey, the love for the challenge and seeing where it takes you regardless of how you will be compensated. The only compensation I look for is the pure notion that my personal growth will create a genuine, honest and hard working aura that will bring success in its own way.


How could anyone think this way and not be broke or starving? Well, i’m sure you know of many people who are broke and starving pursuing their creative endeavors to the fullest. Sometimes you have to be humble and sacrifice MUCH in order to fully live the life you wish you have drawn out for yourself.

It’s about finding the right balance of working 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week to make ends meet while you work on your craft…

EVERY

SINGLE

DAY

It takes strong habits to get things done

Take Away

With all of my heart and altruistic being — I invite anyone reading this to re-evaluate your motives when it comes to taking on new projects or ventures.

It doesn’t always have to be about the immediate ROI, that sure is nice and if that’s what you’re looking for then keep doing what it is you’re doing.

What I share today is to be OKAY with not having something in direct return when putting forth effort and energy towards a new project. You will be rewarded IF your intentions are true and you give 100% of your creative talents to new opportunities.

I understand it’s hard, trust me i’m there with you, but you can’t give up your thirst for becoming better — a stronger version of you.

Keep Aspiring, Keep Creating, Keep Going

David Lee


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