Nothing in life is free, they say, but I beg to differ. Every day around the Internet, savvy people barter goods and services or grab a valuable report that only costs an email address. Free alive and thriving. Business is booming, folks.
Free goods and services are great if you’re on the receiving end. Amass your treasures and collect a wealth of stuff – no charge!
What’s it like to be on the other side, though? Creating free downloads, reports, products and blog posts takes time and energy. Free doesn’t give you any money and it often takes time away from the money you could be making.
Some freelancers think free is stupid.
Why bother writing a free ebook when you can make it a selling item? Why donate your services or products when you can charge for them?
We’re a short-minded society with big-time focus on our wallets. Two of the most frequently heard questions these days are, “What will that cost me?” and “How much does it pay?”. And if the person isn’t asking those questions aloud, you can bet they’re still questions on his mind.
I’m often privy to expressions of shock punctuated by gaping mouths when I tell people that I write free blog posts (both for my own blog and for others), teach two online university courses to lawyers, mentor three people and offer business consulting to a handful of lucky ones.
After they close their mouths and recover from the shock, they always say the same: “You’re not being paid for that?”
Not financially, no. Several people receive the benefits of my effort, time and creativity completely free of charge. And I’m not being paid – and yet I am being paid back. There’s a huge difference.
When you give, you always receive. What you receive may not always be what you want, of course, and in that case, you should stop giving to that person or project and find something better to do.
In most cases, though, you receive a great deal from free labor:
You get to market your business and your services without paying for advertising
You earn credibility, notoriety and in many cases, a loyal, satisfied customer
You enjoy word-of-mouth recommendations as the people you work for tell others how great you are
You benefit from increased traffic or heightened interest as people come to see what you do
You receive personal fulfillment for having done something great for someone else
You get back, because most people like to return the favor of a good deed done
You can learn new skills and practice them without having a client bar of standards in your way
Have you ever donated your skills or services? Was it worth it? Can you think of other reasons you should give your work away free of charge? Can you think of times when you shouldn’t?
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