Will work for gifts: How one web designer walked away from being paid

Feb 4, 2014

A bank employee displays US dollar notes

A bank employee displays US dollar notes in Manila on August 3, 2011.; Credit: TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay – but should your wages always come in monetary form?

Two years ago, web designer, Adrian Hoppel stepped away from corporate America and decided to be paid in ‘gifts’; no harsh negotiation process, no bidding wars, no contracts.   Working with nothing more than a verbal agreement,  Adrian takes on projects and on completion, customers pay him what they believe is fair, in cash or other gifts, such as soccer camps for his children or a bottle of  good Scotch.  

 Unlike traditional work models, Hoppel assumes all of the risk, but to date all of his clients have generously compensated him for his time. If you could be paid in anything other than money, what would it be? If you’re a business owner, have you tried working for gifts? How did it work?


Adrian Hoppel, web designer and Gift Economy advocate

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