Pro Bono Blog Make Money Working for Free

How You Can Make Money Even When Working For Free

When Will you Work for Free?

Many people find themselves in situations where they have to work for free. Whether voluntarily or by necessity, internships, volunteer opportunities, even our lovely professionals at Joe Pro Bono must work for little or no charge. However, just because you may work for no cash doesn’t mean you can’t create PROFIT.

What is Profit?

To think of profit as just earning cash is a great error in the minds of many aspiring business entrepreneurs. Profit is about creating capital resources, which you or your business can then use to create financial revenue. With this definition in mind, it makes total sense that you can work 100% FOR FREE, and yet still make a profit.


If you want people to give you cash, you have to add something of value. In financial jargon, this is referred to as capital.

According to prestige business consultant Mark McElroy, there are 6 kinds of capital that drive profit. Coined by Elroy as “multi-capitalism“, this includes internal economic capital, external economic capital, natural capital, human capital, social/relationship capital, and constructed capital.

4 of these are resources you can gain by offering to work for FREE, which produces capital profit that you can LEVERAGE for cash.

1. Internal Economic Capital – Assets

Internal economic capital are the assets of your business. This includes cash, I.P., equity, and intangible assets like brand value. Working pro bono is a great entryway into both networking and portfolio building, both of which strengthen your brand recognition.

2. External Economic Capital – Impact

Too often has external economic capital been viewed in terms of B2B (business to business) operations. External economic capital is the influence one party has on another, like when a newly built highway causes rent prices to fall. There’s a fundamentally human aspect of impacting other entrepreneurs through your own work too. Despite the repeatedly praised economic benefit of network and influencing, 25% of entrepreneurs still refuse to do so. One of the greatest threats to creating value is stubbornness, so take opportunities as they arise.

3. Human Capital – Talent

Human capital is within each worker. Knowledge, expertise, drive, charisma, and more all make fantastic resources to an organization. By working for free, you can communicate among other individuals with their own human capital resources, and sharpen your own skills.

4. Social & Relationship Capital – Groups

The idea that a whole is a sum of its parts is not applicable when it comes to S&R capital. When people collaborate together, they develop a unique form of human capital that combines all their knowledge. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or just like to dabble in professional services for your own personal gain, its difficult to know where to form these groups. However, working pro bono can expose yourself, your brand, and your expertise to the masses, allowing you the discipline it takes to collaborate successfully.


Of course, life isn’t as easy as gaining capital and earning cash . Most people don’t acknowledge the ability to leverage. Leveraging comes down to how you SELL AND BRAND your assets.

You can receive all the assets in the world, but if you lack the expertise to properly orient them and maximize their value, your NET PROFIT will turn into a NET LOSS. Branding is a skill that requires constant practice, but thanks to the online platform Joe ProBono, you can hire professionals who will work pro bono, free of charge. These professionals not only have expertise in marketing, branding, business development, and consultation, but can help you in plenty of other areas as well, like legal, financial, administrative, technical, and more! Why would they do all this for free though? It’s because they understand a thing or two about creating capital!

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