You Can’t Make Money if You Keep Giving Everything Away for Free

When I was working in the nonprofit field, my main area of expertise was in fundraising. This means I pretty much spent eight years of my career asking people for money to support charitable causes. Yet ironically, when I decided to take my business full-time in 2010, I had a hard time marketing myself, let alone asking potential clients and customers to pay me for my services and products. Because I started out as a blogger, I was so used to giving everything away for free. This included valuable information and expertise that, I soon learned, many consultants charge top dollar for!

Obviously, if I had kept along the path of giving away all my expertise for free, I wouldn’t have a business right now. The model that has proven successful for me has been to offer SOME information for free – blog posts, workbooks, webinars, teleseminars – and charge money for my more in-depth, robust resources.

I’ve learned how to package my knowledge into books like How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar: 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career, ebooks like 31 Days to Reset Your Life: A Practical Guide to Personal Transformation and programs like The Blogging School and Personal Branding 101: How to Use Social Media to Accelerate Your Career. I’ve also developed clear options for potential clients who are interested inĀ my speaking services.

What I’ve noticed is that the people who take advantage of all the free information I share on my blogs are actually very likely to purchase the products and services I have for sale.

The key is making sure they know about them.

Here are three ways you can start to make the transition from free to fee in your business:

1. State your prices and fees on your website.

This makes it obvious to people that you are a business and you charge money. It also helps them determine if they can afford you! If you’re not comfortable posting exact prices on your website, simply give a range instead. For example, $400-$800 for website design, etc.

2. Create dedicated sales pages for each of your products and services.

It helps to tell people exactly what they’l be getting when they work with or buy from you. I maintain separate pages on my websites for speaking and coaching, with details and benefits listed alongside the pricing. I also have sales pages for each of my books and programs.

3. Stop offering free consultations.

In my career coaching, I offer a “30-minute introductory session,” but it is NOT free. Instead of giving that time away, I actually charge a fee for my initial conversation with clients because it helps weed out the people who are looking for free advice. I already get at least a dozen requests every month from people who want to “pick my brain” or ask me to look at their resumes, etc. So if I didn’t charge money for my 30-minute sessions, I would be overwhelmed and broke!

Questions for Reflection:

  • What’s really holding you back from charging money for your services and/or products?
  • Name one service or product that you currently give away for free that you know you need to start charging money for.

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Comments & Feedback:

  1. Thank you for this information. It is hard to transition from the blogger hobby mindset to the social media business mind set. This is encouraging. Thanks for th practical advice.

    • Thanks for stopping by – glad the information was useful. It looks like you’re doing a great job building the foundation with your blog :) Let me know if you would like to submit a guest post for HBW!

  2. I am so happy I came across this website. I am currently building my business and consulting will be one aspect of my business and now I have a better idea and how to handle and approach that. I also have a tumblr, Facebook page YouTube and twitter all of which I provide tips and hints on areas of hair care makeup skin care and your blog entry just encourage me so much more to work smarter not harder. Thank You

    ~Jess~

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