One of the hardest things for me is to say no. Tell me to ask a stranger for a purple pony or to do a duck dance in front of an office building – i’ll do it. Ask me to design you a website for free ? This is when I freeze, and before the three-letter word forms in my mouth, I realize I have to say no. This is particularly hard for me because friends usually ask me to design or make this or that for them with nothing in exchange. What people don’t realize is that in a perfect world, I would grab my tablet and come up with something stunning. Truth is: it takes me hours, sometimes longer, to get something i like. Something that should ‘supposedly’ take 5 minutes easily turns into 5 hours or more. Then I think, when would I ask a friend to work for me with nothing in return? “Hey Bob, could you take care of this patient for the next 5 hours please? Thanks, appreciated!” No, no, no, this would never happen.


This year I am only taking design and photography projects that give something in return, no more of working for free. I realize that if I work for free and I don’t value my work, who will? Eventually, I know those few NOs that I said, will pay off later and become YES’s. What are your thoughts? - PatiĀ 


Happy weekend!


more instagram photos here.

design by Pati Mo


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  1. Posted 07.05.2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I have a hard time asking for something in return when I design too. I’ve been doing it as favors for the past few months and haven’t had the courage to ask for compensation. Like you, I need to STOP doing that – you’re right, if you don’t value your work, who will? I do agree some of the NOs do pay off, I’ve made great connections since then :)

  2. Posted 07.05.2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the first things all designers should learn. DO NOT do work for free, even for your friends. If you do it once, people will expect you to do it all of the time. Even if someone wants something small for free, that could turn into something big. Overall, it’s just best to steer clear of that word all together!

  3. Posted 07.06.2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    You have a valuable talent, Pati – don’t give it away for free! You worked hard to learn your skills, why lessen your value? Keep your chin up and just remember, it’s only two letters – N & O!


  4. Posted 07.06.2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    It is hard to say no to friends but I feel my friends who value my services are willing to pay for my talents. I do occasionally still take on pro bono projects when it comes to certain things but those moments are extremely rare. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  5. Posted 07.08.2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I think you are absolutely right. You are a generous can-do kind of person, but that doesn’t mean people should be allowed to take advantage of that. I am just as bad at saying no, and I honestly think it comes from never wanting to disappoint people having been brought up by a mother it was impossible not to disappoint. If you really value your time and skills others will too, I’ve learnt that the hard way!

    I give my knitting patterns away for free in the hope that I am generating donations for a favourite charity but because I give one thing away freely people seem to assume my time is free too. I am forever getting emails with questions related to the patterns that the person concerned could have answered for themselves if they’d just used Google . If one more person asks me which store local to them sells the yarn I recommend, or to convert cm to inches for them I will probably scream.

    • Pati
      Posted 07.13.2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Annie, i totally get a lot of emails too of people asking me to design their blog for free…but we need to stand strong! x

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