Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why FREE is Never Really Free

I always find human nature so bloody predictable. Whenever we fail to assign value to what we do, it's never a surprise that other folks won't either. If there is any lesson in life, it's always value what you do lest you get taken advantage of. I can't tell you how many times prospective clients show up and ask for favors -- and if I do them the favor, they act like spoiled children, demand more and then poof! Off to gleefully frolic in the long grass. I've had this happen a number of times among authors. One author without really thinking asked my opinion about her manuscript. Now my coaching services are not free, but in this case, I was under the impression he intended to sign up. So, I gave him my insight into his first chapter -- and then (you guessed it) poof! He took my suggestions and said he would use them and then maybe get back to me. See! Do not do people you barely know favors. My time sucked up and no reciprocity. And what really kills me are those who just think they're entitled, period. My favorite one comes from a woman who literally demanded I read her entire book and get back to her. OK, first I barely have time to read paying clients' books. Second, who are you? And third, why do you think I owe you this? Again, I get paid to do this kind of work. And it isn't endearing when people demand things. And finally, my last on the list of demanded freebies was a group member of my writer's group who complained about the free venue. So Bob! If our free venue bothers you so much, why don't you pay the next room fee at the Ritz. Again, watch out what you give away. And watch out for those who think you owe them everything, including a free spaghetti dinner just because they're so special.

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