Don’t Give It Away

STack of presents wrapped in grey wrapping paper with white text over top reading “don’t give it away”

My grandfather used to say free advice is usually not worth what you pay for it. I say, don’t give it away.

He explained that other than gifts, we tend to place little value on things we get at no cost.

I frequently work with clients at the start-up stage of their businesses. In their eagerness to develop a clientele, they are often strongly tempted to give away their services for free. This is particularly true for those in businesses where they offer their expertise and time.

Organizations often hire me to deliver training programs of various types to both public sector organizations and private sector corporations.

I always suggest my client insist their employees pay a fee to attend the training sessions. Again, don’t give it away if it has value.

I have batted 1,000 in my efforts to convince anyone to go along with this. In other words, it has never happened.

Skin in The Game

The response from employers is always, "If we do that, then no one will show up."

That may be true, but I stillquestion why an organization would bother with a training program for their employees if the workers aren’t invested enough to pay a small fee. Everyone performs better if they have a little skin in the game.

I can always tell very quickly who in my audience has paid their own way to attend, and who has had their registration fees paid by someone else, usually their employer.

Those who paid tend to be far more attentive. Their cell phones are turned off and tucked away. They engage from the very beginning in all aspects of the program.

The others, despite being willing participants, respond to texts and leave the room to answer calls. They just generally seem less engaged than the others.

Of course, I am generalizing. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but I have long believed that paying for our own education greatly increases our learning and commitment.

When we have nothing to lose, we can easily fail to see what we have to gain.

Know Your Worth

I have observed the same trait in many of the people I have coached over the years. Those who have had my fees paid by their employer have frequently chosen not to live up to their own commitments, whereas those who wrote cheques drawn on their own personal chequing accounts tended to do everything they said they would.

Again, this is a generalization and certainly not true of everyone.

I urge my clients to never devalue their worth as they do when they give away their services and to never discount their fees as this accomplishes nothing more than to establish a new, lower price for their offerings.

It is long been said that having skin in the game keeps us in the game and, not surprising, the more skin we have, the harder we will play.

If you truly believe in what you are doing, and in the value you bring to others, then pledge to never sell yourself short. Don’t give it away.

Till we read again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *