While I understand why you choose to do so, I have had a different experience. I charge reasonable rates for my services because my time and skills are valuable, but I still foster and built and have maintained strong relationships with my clients.
The proof of this for me is the fact that my clients always refer people to me and all my current clients are referrals and many of my clients have become friends.
That’s not to say it is ONLY for the money, because I genuinely love what I do, but it is important to me to be paid for my time (an entrepreneur’s greatest commodity) and then to provide top-notch high quality service. I go above and beyond for my clients, but part of that is because they invested in me.
I’m very glad it works well for you and you’ve been repaid from this process and built wonderful relationships, I just don’t personally agree for myself.
The only “free” work I do is general writing and editing for friends and family.
There are unfortunately people out there who take advantage of freelancers. I am more than happy to prove myself to those who want to work with me, and have learned to walk away from those who may be trying to use me for free work.