Do I Look Like an Idiot? Real Help is NOT Free

How much of yourself do you give away? Chances are that you give away a lot of information for free. I’m not talking about website content, social media and blogging here — I’m talking about your one-on-one chats and consultations.

If you’re an independent consultant or own your own business, I’m sure you do a lot of it. If you’re working for someone else, you probably do it it too, but off the clock. When you need to account for your time on a timesheet, you won’t get away with handing out too many free consultations.

I love this article in Forbes: No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much – Forbes:

“And no, a turkey sandwich is not payment for something that helped you overcome an obstacle and either created value or additional revenue for your company. I charge my paying clients very good money for my expertise and results. How would they feel to know that I’m giving out free advice? Not too swell I would imagine. In fact I hope they don’t call me demanding refunds!”

The Internet encourages “free”, because it’s a marketing tool.

However, you shouldn’t give away the farm. I learned that 30 years ago when I was managing a business. There were only so many hours in the day, and if I gave an hour to someone who wanted advice, that was an hour I couldn’t spend on what I was being paid to do.

There are still only 24 hours in a day.

If you don’t value your time, no one else will, either

Suspect you’re being taken advantage of? 

Here’s how to fix that.

1. Work out how much your time is worth.

Let’s say that your time is worth $300 an hour to your employer. (That employer may be you.)

Keep that figure in mind — write it on a sticky note and stick it onto your computer monitor. Stick another note onto your car’s dashboard, and onto the mirror in your bathroom. Let the figure sink in. 

2. Count the minutes.

When the phone rings, hit a timer. When someone enters your office, hit a timer. 

Hit a timer every time you chat with someone, or answer an email message by giving out free assistance.

At the end of the day, count up the minutes, and work out how much money you gave away. 

You’ll be shocked.

Now, think about how and when you’ll charge for your time.

Make a list of your fees for all the stuff you’ve been giving away — and start charging.

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Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.

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