In a world where dang near everything costs money, even air (have you seen or heard of the flavored air bars? Yes, it’s a thing), it may seem wrong to NOT charge for your services and products. How can you not capitalize on any and every opportunity that comes your way? Especially if you are an independent contractor or entrepreneur with a new business. Earning money for your hard work is always the goal, but what if working for free with the right people could propel you farther than trying to working for a company for years before they realize your worth! Today, we are going to discuss that and why you should consider working for free, under the right circumstances of course.
The more eyes and ears that experience your work, the better! It is important to make sure if you are taking an opportunity that is free, you will gain SOMETHING, even if it isn't money. For example, taking certain opportunities can result in you learning new skills, expanding your network, and align yourself with those persons you want to work with now or in the future. You need to make sure that the right people know who you are and what you offer. I can use myself as an example here. I am a contributing blogger here at Jane Ella & Co., but I also have my own blog and brand. Prior to getting paid as a blogger, I did it for free! Even though I was writing for free, I was able to practice my writing skills, show my dedication to the blog, and expand my audience! Fast forwarding, I am now a paid blogger for Jane Ella and have expanded my readership for my blog! Working with Jane Ella & Co. allows me to learn from the inside how an organization of this nature is run. It has been invaluable.
Building key relationships goes hand in hand with exposure. When you make the decision to speak for free or give away free products at an event, make sure you are connecting with the right people. You can network your way into paid gigs and lucrative relationships. Are there people who you admire in your field who are doing it big? Have you reached out about possibly providing some assistance for their next campaign or at their next event? A genuine helping hand to others may aid you in securing the bag you desire.
Perfecting Your Pitch
In a Forbes article titled Why You Should Work For Free by Dorio Clark, Clark features Charlie Hoehn, a 20 something-year-old unemployed college graduate during the recession in 2008. He utilized this time to work for free with some influential people; but, he also pitched himself. He aligned himself with two business owners and created detailed, targeted pitches. These pitches even included video reels. How can someone not see you as prepared and valuable if you took the time to do work they never asked to solve a problem or enhance their brand. You become a resource and an asset.
Product Testing and Feedback
Giving away free products or your services for free.99 can be great for advertising and exposure! Let’s be honest. People love free stuff. I mean they LOOOOOVE free stuff. So why not offer free samples to the people you want to get your product in front of anyway? You never know who someone else knows! How many times have you seen products or services offered as free but you have to pay shipping and handling? Or, a downgraded version of something offered for free, but used as a sales funnel to the more robust version? Offering free products to potential clients is a way to test your products and service lines. It is a way to get free advertising and maybe in the press for your brand (which leads back into exposure). It can help you work out any kinks in your systems so, when you do charge clients, everything is seamless. One person who is a great example of this is the creator of Diamonds by Dominique. Dominique offers free samples of her natural, handmade body scrubs and butters, which helps create a buzz about her products. She has created a business that attracts new customers and keeps them loyal customers using this strategy.
As you can see, there are many ways you can work for free (or offer free products) that can help build your brand and raise awareness about your services. Now, we don’t suggest you do this forever. Making connections is great, but know when to start charging your worth. If you have positioned yourself with great business people, they won’t have a problem paying you for your services because they see your value.
Have you ever worked for free? Was it a positive or negative experience? What came from that experience and would you do it again? Share in the comments below.