Whether or not you should give away free stuff is a hotly debated issue recently. I’ve seen quite a few articles saying that you should never give away anything, that by sticking to your paid models, you show that you are worthy.
I agree, except that there are certain times that it makes sense to give away your stuff free. In addition to that, if you pay attention to all of the successful entrepreneurs, they all give away stuff. In fact, many of them give away their best stuff for free.
My mentor, Lisa Larter recently wrote a wonderful article in the Huffington post called, “The Real Cost of Free”. She talks about how free implies no value and that you are not only short-changing yourself, but the person that you are giving it to.
This article really rang true for me, because, like many entrepreneurs, I have also given away far too much for free. I’ve had to strike a balance between giving value to others, while at the same time preserving my own value.
You Can’t Make More Time
You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. Generally speaking, if you provide a service, such as coaching, for example, you shouldn’t give away your time free. However, there are some important exceptions to this. Whenever I have a situation that calls for giving my time away, I have to think strategically about it. That is, what are the reasons/scenarios that I would offer my time free?
- Discovery Sessions – These are designed for both me and the participant to get to know each other. We need information about our working styles, personalities, etc. in order to see if we would be a good fit to work together. Notice that there is a big difference between a discovery session and a coaching session. In a coaching session, you are giving actual paid content.
- Speaking Engagements – When you are speaking one to many, the return on investment of that time is often very good. By putting yourself in front of a large group of people to talk about what you do, you increase your chances that someone in that audience could hire you.
Website and Social Media
Blogging and social media posts are great ways to show your expertise. Obviously we don’t charge for blog and social media posts, but without giving great content, people won’t bother to read your stuff.
Share your knowledge and experience through your blogs and social platforms. Tell stories, share testimonials and give valuable tips that your viewers can use. This will spark conversation and your potential clients can ask questions and you can build relationships.
There is no need to worry about giving away too much on these mediums – think of it like giving mini presentation to people so that they have the information they need in order to hire you.
People give away pdf e-books, videos, audios, etc. for free to show others that they are an expert in their industry. Typically you have an area (or several) on your website where you would collect a visitor’s name and email address in exchange for the freebie.
This is a fair exchange, a you are not giving anything – the visitor is “paying” with their email address. This exchange is essential to building your email list.
The quickest and easiest way to give away your stuff without compromising your value is by creating PDF e-books