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 for a girl’s weekend in the mountains. So were 11 other people. With a whole bunch of women, smushed into a two-room cabin you can imagine the estrogen-powered battles over things as simple as potato chips. 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 a bad website or social campaign and the person told you that their son/niece/neighbor….“helped.”
I’ve also talked to countless entrepreneurs with friends that are true professionals who intend to help out with their website. Somehow paying clients always seem to take presence so the entrepreneur is left waiting and waiting and waiting.
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, because I have to say that 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 and Joe 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. You are taking what you can get and 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 how to market myself, which is when 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.