Why I Don’t Like Free Stuff
I know it sounds insane. Why would you pay for something when you can get it free? I’ve been called crazy a time or two, but I stand by my rule: just because something is free, doesn’t make it fun. This rule was established years ago, but recently I forgot my golden rule and fell victim to the lure of the FREE. I feel the need to share my lessons so you don’t get sucked into the thrall of free too.
It all started in 2007 when I was invited to a free weekend in the mountains. But so were 11 other people.
Imagine a whole bunch of women smushed into a two-room cabin. There estrogen-powered battles over things as simple as potato chips and bitter feelings about who was sleeping the beds.
My main take-away from that weekend: Free does not equal fun.
The Curse of Free Help
While this rule was established from personal experience, the professional applications are endless. How many times have you seen the terrible results of a son/niece/neighbor….“helping” a small business?
I’ve also talked to countless entrepreneurs that tell me their friend that’s a web developer will be helping with their website. More often than not that entrepreneur is still waiting months later, because the friend’s paying clients always seem to take precedence.
If you’ve ever been in either of these situations, you may know first-hand that free does not equal fun.
Now I don’t want to diminish the power of your network, as some of the best legal advice I’ve ever gotten has been paid for in wine and cupcakes. But as a whole I am writing this post as an ode to the professional.
3 Reasons Why It’s Worth Hiring a Professional
1. When you actually go through the process of hiring someone, you have the opportunity to research them. Find out if you actually like their style and what their professional reputation is. If you don’t think this is important, imagine letting the guy down the street run your marketing campaign. It sounds frightening and it is, but that’s essentially what you’re doing when you go with the free option. When you take what you can get, the results may not work out in your favor.
2. Hiring a professional comes with accountability. When someone is helping you out as a favor, they’ll get to it when they get to it. There’s very little motivation for the person to do it on your timeline and so you are at their mercy; that’s not something that generally works well when you’re running a business.
3. Professionals are paid because they are generally good at what they do. Just because someone can do something, doesn’t mean they should be doing it. This is the trap many of us fall into, myself included.
I can create a banner for my clients, but it looks a heck of lot better if my fabulous designer Alyse does it. I can also write (look at me go!), but like many of us, sometimes I struggle to articulate my own value, so I bring in Monika the copywriter to help polish things up.
None of us can do it all, so when you find yourself in the position of needing help please consider if free help will really payoff for your business in the long run.