Anyone who knows me will tell you a mantra that I have had is "I don't work for free". I have held fast to this rule ever since I graduated from high school. Then something magical happened I CHANGED. I firmly believe that experts deserve to be paid for their expertise but don't exchange short term payment for long term gain. The short term gain may be a few quick dollars but in the end you may have forgone a much more lucrative long-term relationship.
Here are a few tips that I use when deciding when to hide behind the pay wall.
Free Consultations for All!
Whether 30 minutes or 1 hour take the time meet with potential clients for FREE! I have read several posts and commentaries suggesting that you should charge for the "pick your brain sessions". I would agree that if people are using lunch as an excuse not to pay you then you are in a different situation. However, this is not typically the case. I find that many people are curious about what I do or my journey or whether I am the right person for them to trust with their ideas. I agree that time is money however, we have to create space to build "client-expert" relationships. I also contend that we as citizens in a larger community should pass on the knowledge we have gained as our great gift to society. I am perpetually thankful to all of the men and women who took their time and shared their wisdom with me. It has shown me new ways of thinking and different perspectives. I am willing to share with anyone who seeks knowledge. Be sure to schedule these in. Tip: I set aside a few hours each week to do consultations. This may mean that the person seeking my thoughts have to wait a week or two but I have adequately planned for the time and they will get my best.
Do Not Charge for Free things!
If you can very easily google it do not simple create a booklet and charge people for it. If there is a process that exists as a free service charging the ill-informed is simply wrong. While you may get the $5.99 for your e-book you lose credibility with your peers. .Exploitation is not how you want to grow your business. If you have not added some additional nuance or guidance then there is no product. Get rich quick schemes will catch up to you in the end.
Define Your Services!
If you know what you provide it is easy to know what to charge for. After a consultation you should be able to easily identify the potential client's need. This requires you to ask questions and listen. This is where having defined services come in. You should be able to look at what you can provide and what expertise that you have, if there are overlaps this where you begin quoting prices and charging for a project. You also have one additional obligation... send the client to someone else if this is not your area. At the very least pull in an expert so that you can learn and deliver a quality product. If you have to pass it on remember these referrals tend to be rewarded with referrals. If it does not then who cares you met another human and frankly its part of the cost of doing business.
It is my belief that there is no harm in sharing information. I give away information firmly believing karma will take care of the rest. Do good and good will be done to you.
Dr. Shante Williams is a serial entrepreneur who started slow and in the shallow end of the business pool. She has worked in Biotech, Big Pharma, Green Energy, and Academia