Brain Buster

Free Until I Tip

Drew is wondering why he is giving away so much for free. In other words – how can you make it as a consultant when you have to give stuff away for free to get attention and respect.

I had two answers to this that came up – the first is that if you charged for every bit of good advice that would make you a lawyer and you’d know that Satan’s already called “next” on your afterlife. You know that in your heart it’s good to give valuable advice and maybe you believe you’re scoring some karma. A incredibly rare example of a Marketer sleeping better than someone else.

I choose to take a slightly different view – rather than see my advice as a product with a price tag on it, I see my time as the commodity. I give out advice, and if it’s good the demand will grow to the point where I run out of time (my tipping point), at that point I can engage the meter and let the bidding begin. Even if I never reach the point where the advice I share is making the mortgage payment at least I’ve gathered some karma, made some friends, and I’m still not a lawyer.

4 replies on “Free Until I Tip”

This happens all the time, and the biggest thing is that we have to be aware, and sometime the person we are giving to for free doesn’t realize it either, especially if what we are selling is new to them. This is where we have to become self-aware of what we are saying, and lay it out to them, and in doing so to be polite. If they don’t buy, then you move on.

To the defense of lawyers, I am starting to see some offer packages – incorporate for X, a will for Y. This way, the person going in knows what it will cost them, and their confidence in the attorney will say if it is worthwhile. And I am guessing the lawyers inch away a bit from hell as well.


As a business owner, I’ve learned a lot about this topic.

1. Building a personal brand comes at a price – providing free advice, articles, blog posts, etc. But the value of developing that personal brand shows up in the bottom line of your business.

2. Those who “get it” reward your generosity with great referrals that turn into clients.

3. The challenge is to know what can be given for free and what can’t – giving a service away for free doesn’t work – people don’t value free and won’t be committed to it.

So the balance is to provide advice and valuable content for free that lead people to your services that they will be more than willing to pay for (if of course you you have created them with their needs in mind.)

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