There is so much encouragement of businesses to give away products and services for free, talk about "Freemium" business models, it's hard to know as a business owner what to give for free, and
what not, and where the limit needs to be drawn to protect your own resources.
In addition to this, with the popularity of social media, so many people assume that just because you're connected online, you're somehow boosom buddies, and there's nothing you'd rather do than help them out for free. This can create a serious problem.
A problem of giving away or doing too much for free, a problem of being drained of time and energy into activities which are not an investment into your business, no matter how you might justify them as "Building Your Network", or following the "Freemium" business model.
I know this trap, as I've been in it myself, and so does Sharon Hayes, successful entrepreneur and builder of many very successful online businesses. She's particularly popular with her social media presence, and has over 138,000 followers on twitter!
Over the years she's been inundated with requests for help from business owners who wanted to "pick her brain", and these requests still continue, daily.
Initially, being the helpful generous, kind hearted person that she is, she did help many people, for free. What she found very quickly was that the people she was giving free help to,
weren't implementing the wisdom she was sharing, and had more issues that they needed help with, and drained more of her time than her fee paying clients... Does that sound familiar to
She's certainly now mastered the skill of converting Free to Paid, having several monthly turnover figures exceeding $1million dollars in the last year alone, I'm honoured to have Sharon as a good personal friend, and when she told me about the free training she's doing to help people tackle the issue of "free to paid", I was excited about sharing it with others.
The free online training this is this Thursday (20th June) at 8pm (London time, noon PDT, and 3 pm EDT).
Now of course, learning to say no is a good way of getting out of this trap, but how do you say "no" politely, how do you explain, without causing offence that actually, you're busy running
your own business, and as much as you'd like to help everyone, you just aren't able to.?
Only a few weeks ago I had a follower on twitter ask me to help a friend of theirs with a personal bank loan application!! When I politely declined the opportunity to get involved in someone else's personal finances (Who I'd never met, or even heard of) the response I received was less than polite, they let me know how disappointed in me they were, how they had believed I was a "good person"...!
I allocate more than enough of my time and expertise in helping others for free, I have one mentee who I invest a lot of my time into, and once they've flourished, I will take on another. I help my network, I provide my expertise to my own mastermind group members, I even provide a regular supply of free advice and tips through my social media accounts.
But at the end of the day, I'm a marketing/business consultant, I get paid for my expertise, that's how I earn my living. Asking me to work for free is like asking your bank to stop charging you for the service they provide, or walking into your local electronic store and asking for the free use of the latest flat screen Tv, you just wouldn't do it, would you?
Free products are also a challenge, how can you persuade customers to take that next step and purchase the products that you actually generate your profit from?
These are the areas that Sharon will cover on the Free To Paid online training, and as the last one was midnight our time, I'm looking forward to being able to listen in live to this one!