Stop giving away your knowledge and services for free!

Are you giving away your knowledge for free…are you helping friends, friends of friends and your aunts cousins girlfriend brother just to be nice or do you simply have a hard time saying the word no?

Many of us have “know how” education and talent in fields that people around us like to use for free.
They ask for help with anything from baking cakes for their upcoming weddings, children’s birthdays or sewing dresses because “you are so talented” to helping them with IT, web sites or just a moment to pick our brains for legal questions, finances and HR.

We all have these people around us, they need help and advice, most of all they want advice for free and turn to you as a “friend”

The question is usually asked discreetly over a coffee, a dinner or at work. If you are close friends the question might be more up front.
I have been asked for help from people that I accidently bump into on town, people I haven’t met in years. They have no problem asking for help so why should I have a problem asking to get paid for the service?

Now when I am self-employed I have all the possibilities to actually get paid for my advice and work, but valuing my work and my time has been quite hard.

Free advice have a price!

I recently read an article in the Forbes magazine about a woman that used to work in HR, when she changed her career people around her started asking for her help to write CV’s and job applications.
She helped close friends and family, for free of course, but then their friends and the friends of their friends started to ask for help. Everybody wanted her help and she became a coach involuntarily, during a year she helped 22  people with their applications.

Helping these people took a lot of time, she sat down and talked to them, coached them and helped them get on with their careers. This took so much of her energy that she finally hit the wall, not only because of the work, but for the lack of gratitude. Only one of the people she helped said thank you by sending a fruit basket…she got burnt out because she was nice and she didn’t get any thanx or money for it.

The woman in the article got the advice to charge people for her services, create a price list and print business cards. Next time she was asked for help, she said ” I would love to help you ” and gave them her business card.
This resulted in her starting her own business as a career coach, sur she lost some assignments but most people where happy to pay for her services. It was not easy to go from being a free service to actually get paid, but it worked  and now she gets more appreciation for her work than before.

That teaches us that we value advice and services that we have paid for more than free help.


Learn to value your knowledge!

I don’t know why we hesitate to ask for payment for our services and under value our knowledge and time so low, but we really have to get better at it.

If you have a talent or knowledge that people in your environment need, they should also be prepared to pay for your time.
You have probably spent a lot of time and money to get good at what you do, why should they make use of it for free. It does not matter if you make nice cakes at home in your kitchen or if you are a qualified lawyer.
1. Take a proper think of everything you give away for free. Write down everything from the obvious (your products and services) to the not so obvious (your advice). 2. Write down everything you do that you do not charge for today, do you do this to get honest feedback for a service or for the pleasure of giving away free advice / services that actually help people?
3. They may not value or implement your advice if it’s free.
4. Get paid, it helps you and the recipient to value your services and your expertise.

If you get paid for your services and stop giving away for free, you will gain increased confidence.
Once you start evaluating your unique talents, your own value will be improved.
Question: What challenges have you met with friends and family who want to use your expertise for free and how have you coped with this? Do you think it’s hard to value your work in money? Would you consider beeing a self-employed so you can get paid without having to start a business