Creators, we hate being "paid in promotion". We should never accept being paid in promotion... unless there's some serious promotion involved or the end product could add a lot of value to your portfolio. If a huge client, like a Mark Cuban or Elon Musk, needed some new designs and marketing materials then I, as a graphic and web designer, would want to hop on that opportunity. Not only do I know my designs would make it into important hands and be displayed for millions to see, but these works would also increase the value of my portfolio. I sure hope someone with the success of these example clients would offer to pay for their needed services, but if this were the case I wouldn't be working for promotion, I'd be investing my time and abilities for a potentially huge pay off. Sure, they could end up hating my designs and using some from elsewhere, but what investment doesn't come with risks? At least I'd still have the experience that I could use later.
This theoretical situation is an unlikely occurrence, but you're surrounded with more realistic ones. There are businesses starting up every day by people who are focused, that have succeeded in things before and have the potential to succeed in their new venture. A lot of these businesses are funded out of pocket, or with very limited start-up cash and could really use valuable services like web design, graphic design, video production and social media management. If you have the skill and use it to build the proper relationship, this could result in something big for you.
If you're good, you could get all of this in a single conversation. If you go about this the correct way, you will have everything you need to know weather or not you want to buy into this new idea with your precious talents. Worst case scenario, you could end up with a new connection that could potentially open doors for you in the future.
If you decide to invest your talents and abilities, make sure you pay close attention to the flow of everything in and around the business. You need to be able to constantly gauge how much time and stress you need to dedicate. Always give your best effort. If you ever begin to feel that you will need to back out of your investment, do so without breaking the connection that you've established. Communicate with your contact and express your feelings and concerns. Try to give no excuses and don't place the blame on anyone. Own up to your decision and promote the idea of you being available for future opportunities.
So now that you have an idea about how you could invest your talents and abilities, you should work
on sharpening your networking skills. Here are a few helpful resources:
7 TIPS FOR NETWORKING
The List: Vol 2
by Various Artists