If you're going out on your own for the first time or are new to writing show notes, you might consider working for free. But should you? And what if a new client approaches you and asks you to do an episode for free?
I've faced all of these scenarios and I have never worked for free. I once agreed to a discount when someone asked, but I don't offer them and I doubt I'd ever agree to a discount again. Not because it was a bad experience, it was great and the person I gave the discount to is a client as of the day I'm typing this, but simply because my time is too precious to be given away for nothing.
The one and only time I can agree to possibly working for free if you approach a prospective client. Say it's a big name podcaster and they'd be an amazing coup for you - then go for it!
Even better - find a set of their show notes and rewrite them for them...then send the rewrite to them as a gift. Tell them you love their show and include some reasons why. It's even better if you can tell them some actions you've taken as a result of listening to them, all the hustlers love action-takers because it shows you're one of them.
And then as a token of your appreciation, give them the rewritten notes for an episode you particularly loved. Let them know they are welcome to use the notes if they like them, explain how much you normally charge for what you did and that you'd love to do more for them if they are interested.
That would be the one and only time I'd recommend working for free. Once you're established and you have a few anchor clients you'll be on your way and this won't be a concern of yours!