We’ve all been in the difficult position of giving our time and expertise away for free.
If you’re at the early phase of building your business, it’s likely you’re even enjoying the fact that friends, colleagues, and professional acquaintances are seeking you out for your expertise.
There comes a a time in every creative entrepreneur’s life where you find yourself wondering where the line is between casual advice and crossing over into your own services.
I show up all the time in online communities and give my time away for free by answering questions, providing support, and championing those who need it. It’s relationship building. It feels good to me and I value generosity.
If I’m completely honest with you, what triggers me is when people directly reach out asking for help with no recognition that what they’re asking is a service I provide (where money is exchanged — we all have bills to pay, yes?).
I use to think it was because I’m too nice (insert can’t say no!). Or maybe it’s because I’m too accessible and responsive. Or approachable. Or I make it look too easy.
The truth is that even if all these things were true, I STILL have listed services on my website that clearly state I provide the services that they’re asking for.
I even make it super easy and have my rates posted. For previous clients, I even have a hidden page with an a la carte menu of typical add ons.
Inevitably, there are a couple of people every month who reach out to ask me to handle something, or ask a question they know I’ll have the easy answer to. I personally like to use these questions as blog post topics. I mean if one person is asking, there are likely more who want the same answer PLUS, you’ll look the hero mind reader for already posting it on your blog. (I’d also like to note here that ..by posting the answer on my blog, it honours my value of generosity because I’m helping SO many more people with my solution!)
I’ve created this script to help you navigate the tricky road that exists when you need to say that you can’t give your goods away for free anymore.
Dear friend/past client/otherwise wonderful person,
Thank you for reaching out! I’m so happy to know that I’m the expert of choice you like to call on when <insert why they reached out>.
You asked a great question! Luckily for you, I just recently wrote a blog post on it. You can find it right here: <insert URL>. If it doesn’t completely answer your question, I’d be happy to set up a time where we can jump on skype and I can help you further. I’ve even already got an easy way for you to set this up. You can click in this link <insert link to a page on your site where you have a purchase now link to one hour of your time>, where you can easily get hooked up with a whole hour of you + me time. Since this is the work I do daily with my clients, I’ll be able to support you fully in helping you with your needs. Yay!
If you’d like to take it to the next level and hire me on a more permanent basis, let’s chat to see how I can support you. I’m constantly tweaking my services to serve the needs of my most favorite people and I’d love to develop a custom experience for you too :)
Looking forward to hearing from you!
It’s been my experience that 90% of clients will happily pay me for my time by clicking on that buy now link. The remaining 10% aren’t my target audience anymore and I’m happy to set them free to find someone else who’ll give them what they need.