After 15 years of coaching, I have stopped giving away my most valuable wealth-building support for free.
My clients increase their net worth by between $5000 to $100,000 while in class with me! And they go on to use the tools I taught them to build million dollar nest eggs and do generous giving.
Pretty valuable stuff, huh? Generally in my business people do value me and pay me well.
Unfortunately last year I made a mistake, and in some areas, I gave too much away. I gave away information for too many months, and discounted classes in order to "help" my community. Sadly, this made my business lose momentum. Everyone expected my help for free or cheap.
They were building wealth like crazy, but not compensating me in fair measure. I had to set some boundaries, and get back to charging good rates.
Don't get me wrong~there is a benefit in giving.......UP TO A POINT.
But after that point, giving does not create value for your business, it devalues your business.
In this blog I will explain what kind of giving is good, and will help you grow. And I outline the types of giving that are bad, and will undermine your business.
Giving 10% of time, talents & treasures(money!) away to places that inspire you and do charitable good in the world.
Tithing, or giving 10% away, is a powerful practice...for YOU. Generosity makes us wealthy instantly because it affirms that we have something to give. When we give away something we formerly thought of as scarce, we reframe our experience of it to be something of which we have plenty. When we give, we open up space to receive more of what has been given.
I have given 10% of my money, time & talents away for 15 years. It is a great practice!
Giving a little helps dissolve blocks in our business. If you are stuck in your business, and need a breakthrough, giving can help you move to the next level. It moves energy. A woman was experiencing business blocks, and I advised she give away 10 free sessions(she had not been giving anything away for free previously). It shifted things for her, and paid clients started showing up!
If you do not do ANY free giving, I recommend the following:
1. give to inspiration~Share 10% of your time(and money!) with places that feed you spiritually and help you in your own personal growth. This kind of giving is always fruitful. You are giving back in gratitude for what you have received. And you will receive blessings from the universe in return.
2. give to charity~share some of your 10% with places that are doing good work in the world, or to uplift the disadvantaged. I have given free coaching in the past to single mothers, and most recently gave a lot of my time away to help low-income people find new homes after the Alameda Fire. This feels good, and made me happy!
3. keep it to 10%~just give 10% of your time and money. More than that will eat into your income potential. But giving a little in this way keeps our hearts open, helps our communities, and keeps things circulating in our business.
3 Types of BAD GIVING:
1. Giving away your expertise constantly for free to friends and family
You know this one, right? Friends and family will often ask the health coach "What should I eat this week? How can I lose weight?" and you feel you owe them your ear. But that's not the case. You don't owe them anything! Often free advice to friends & family can turn into hours and hours of unpaid labor, which does not help you build your business.
As a money coach I get this all the time. My friends are always asking me money questions. I gave ongoing free advice to a friend that was already prosperous; ie, they were not a charity case. I helped them up their net worth by $75,000 dollars! Normally as a coach I would get paid a small percentage to get them the kind of huge results they did, but they did not offer to pay me a dime!
And I realized it was all my fault. I had "trained" them to expect advice for free.
Remember, you are in business to make money based on how you help people get results, and if the people around you respect you, they will understand that. Now when friends & family ask me questions, I refer them to my blog, my e-book, or my Wealthypreneur facebook group! I have created plenty of free material that does not require me to give away my time. And people that want my time now, are willing to pay for it, knowing I help them get results.
If you find yourself constantly helping friends and family for free, I recommend the following:
*get a testimonial~"Normally this is my paid offering, but I will give you a free session in exchange for a testimonial!" A lot of times friends & family are not aware you need testimonials, and will happily agree to help you. This is good when your biz is new.
*set a time limit~"I usually get paid $200 for this, but I will give you 30 minutes of my time." And set a limit on the number of times you will do this. Like 1 or 2.
*just say no~"I don't have time for free sessions right now, I am focusing on my paid clients." Move on, and move forward. If this person really wants your help, they will be willing to pay for it.
2. Giving away the majority of your content for free on the internet
Many of us have done this in the "age of COVID". Social media has been flooded with all the free offerings generated during the pandemic. But it often can bite us in the butt. Giving away everything for free, and then trying to promote a small paid offering doesn't work.
When the pandemic hit, I spent a lot of time giving away free content on social media to help others. In the beginning this was my "tithing 10%", such as the material I shared on Financial First Aid to help struggling business owners. That was a freely given gift of charity. But then I went on to share information, articles, interviews & blogs in my facebook groups for free for the rest of the year, and did not enroll any new clients!
My giving went overboard, and hurt my business. I had to get back in action enrolling people at good rates. While some during COVID lost income and had to scramble, many Americans actually did well financially during lockdown. The "I can't afford it" excuse was not always valid.
If you find yourself constantly posting free content on social media and NOT enrolling any clients, I recommend the following:
*post a simple tip~you can still give, but keep it simple: "Here is 1 way to lose weight you can try right now" or "Here is a money tip for Spring!". Don't give away your whole transformational system. Save that for the paying clients.
*free, then paid~share a free offering, such as a free talk or blog post or article, and THEN sign people up for your paid offering. Don't wait too long after your freebie to sell your paid offering, or offer too many free things. Then people forget you are actually in business, and think you are just a source of freebies!
*monetize your "freebies"~If you have shared a lot of free content already, you can gather it and use it as value-added bonuses for your current clients, or even assemble it into a group program. Monetize that shit! Be sure and gather it in an attractive way, perhaps in a private page on your website or a private social media group, and delete it from public social media.
3. Giving away free classes & sessions or lowballing them
I made the mistake of doing this at the beginning of COVID. I sold a class that I normally sell for $150, for just $47. Yes, I sold a lot of the class, but guess what? A lot of the students didn't show up, do the work, or report their results! I had way more success helping people show up & get results in the last 5 years of teaching the class, when I charged more money for it.
People value what they pay for. Charging a decent rate is important, not only to honor your time, but to help your clients get the most out of the work. And those that pay the most tend to also be the most grateful! Isn't that interesting? I've received the best testimonials from those clients who have paid the most.
If you have been giving away your most valuable work for free I recommend the following:
*identify your low/high offerings~Pin down what you do as your initial consult, your inexpensive offering, and your higher-end offering. Getting clear on this "sliding scale" helps you meet people where they are at, AND honor your own time.
*private time is valuable~Charge more for private work, always. Getting your one-on-one attention & expertise should be the most expensive aspect of your business. You can charge less to run a group program because you have more people contributing smaller amounts, and of course they each get less attention.
*find your "sweet spot"~The sweet spot is that intersection between what you love to do, what you can get paid for, and what other people want. Take a moment to brainstorm ideas for these three areas, and then see how they intersect. That is your offering, and you can charge market value for it.
Hope this article helps you value yourself and your time.
Yes you can do a little giving...in balance.
And yes, you deserve to get paid for your very valuable work.
Blessings and good luck!
Coach. Teacher. Author. Speaker.