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Go or No Go on Freebies?

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 6.39.37 PMI had a friend reach out to me this week to help talk her off the cliff of giving her services away for free. So, I thought I’d share my mental rubric for determining whether or not I should give away my goods/services or not. I don’t know if this is “right,” it’s just the way I think before I say yes or no – and frankly, my time is limited, so often my answer is the latter.

1. If I can’t be paid for this service, what other consideration can be in the mix?  So, stuff like networking/big crowds, social media exposure, free ticket registrations, or memberships can be enticing. If the org or person can’t pay you in cash, what are other forms of capital they can provide?

2. Is the consideration worth it to me? If they cough up cash or other consideration, is it enough for you to say yes to? For example, what are you charging per hour? What do you make per hour at your day job? What is your salary per year, broken down by hours? What does one day of vacation from your day job cost you in lost salary? If they aren’t offering you enough of value for whatever you can be making at work, then I probably need to just say no.

3. Is it for a cause that I care about?  If it’s a non profit, they usually have smaller budgets. Do I care about the cause enough to donate to it?

4. Did the person asking do something for me in the past?  This, above all is something I carefully consider. While I don’t have a long memory about irrelevant stuff, (and some relevant), one thing I keep in the vault of my long term memory is who helped me out in the past, and who did not. If a person asking really helped me out when I needed it in the past, I will often say yes – but for the INDIVIDUAL, not the thing/cause they’re asking for.  If the person asking did nothing in the past for me, it’s probably going to be a no again.

And on the flip side – I know that you, my fab 14, aren’t like this – but to some others out there who shall remain nameless: PLEASE STOP ASKING FOR STUFF FOR FREE.

Brain picking sessions and meeting over coffee are borderline offensive to those of us who coach and consult professionally. That’s like asking a day job professional to come in on their day off and work for free. DO NOT DO IT. I pay, heavily, for top tier coaches for myself – and so should you. It’s your life, after all – why not pay someone to help you get to a better place? You pay for your doctor to treat you, you pay for your lawyer to write your contracts, please PAY coaches for their time.

Conversely, if a friend of a friend connects me, I generally will meet with parties interested, but I’m also doing less of that. I just go back to bullet 4 and make the call that way.

It’s not selfish to want to get paid. And I’ll say that goes twice for the ladies out there. You need to make money too – to feed your family, to pay your bills, and to save some for your retirement and a rainy day – there’s nothing wrong with that!

So let’s all vow to STOP giving away our most precious assets of all – our TIME and our KNOWLEDGE – for nothing!

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