Can we meet up for lunch? I’d like to pick your brain.
Let’s do coffee! I’d love to talk to you about something I’m working on.
I’d love for you to come speak at our event, oh, but we don’t have the money to pay you. But don’t worry, you’ll get tons of great (free) exposure.
The Problem With Free:
- I don’t respect you,
- I don’t value your time,
- I don’t value your opinion (at least not enough to pay for it),
- I don’t see the value (though you’re probably not communicating it well)
When you do things for free you do two things to your business:
- Little by little you devalue yourself and your business. You subsconsciouly set the expectation with yourself that it’s “Ok” to do this.
- You take time away that you could otherwise be spending on revenue producing activities (you know, those tasks that actually make you money).
Now, I’m not saying you should say “No” to that non-profit. I’m not saying you should say “No” to speaking at that REALTOR luncheon for free. I’m not saying you shouldn’t help out a friend.
When you’re starting out, Free gets you exposure. The more you give (in terms of being helpful), the more you get. Free is good. But also, business is business.
What I’m saying is, at some point, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard and respect yourself and your business enough to say no and acknowledge that your time is worth something.
So the next time someone asks you out to lunch to “pick your brain,” you can reply with:
Are you asking to hire me?