If you have been in business for some period of time, you will run into a situation where someone wants you to work for free. Now you have two options, grant the person their request and help them for nothing or tell them “no”. Now, let's say that a multi-billion dollar corporation asks you to do something for free that gets your fledgling business massive exposure. What do you do then?
The indie band, Ex- Cop, was faced with this situation a few months ago at SXSW when McDonald's asked them to play their showcase event for free. I will spare you the suspense, Ex- Cop said no.
What would you have said?
I am not saying that you should always turn free work down but there comes a point where you have to draw a line in the sand and say no to free work especially for people/companies that can afford to pay.
The problem is that it can be challenging for business owners, like yourself, to get there. This is typically because you don't value the work that you do appropriately. This causes you to disrespect the very craft that you worked hard to learn and master. The by- product of that is that you get angry about the free work that you are doing. That anger, in the end, serves no one.
In my business, I only work with high level, high minded people who are committed to breakthroughs in their business and in their lives. Even though these people are awesome, they don't always charge for their service like their awesome. They charge for their service like they are average. Average businesses are commodities. Consumed like a glass of milk without any consideration given to where the milk came from. Respecting your craft means charging the price for your service that frightens you but, deep down, you know you should be charging.
As a consultant, I get people that want to pick my brain constantly. At first it was flattering, after a time it started to take me away from doing work for people who were willing to pay me for that work. You can't pay bills with an inflated ego but you can with money.
As a business owner, you probably get people who ask you to do work for them for free as well. The issue with free work is that no one values work that is done when they don't have skin in the game. What you end up doing is wasting your time and, typically, the people that want free work are a pain in the ass as well and you also end up wasting their time.
To the band Ex- Cop I say good for you. There comes a time where you have to stand for your value. Are you standing for yours?