The simplest way to stop working for free is to simply say No.
No is a complete sentence and it needs to be one that you practice.
This post would be primarily for consultants and people in service-based businesses, who don’t necessarily have a tangible product that they sell. There are others with a tangible product but work with people who don’t understand the real value of what you do such as graphics design, photography, etc. who may benefit from this as well.
Scenario – A friend, associate, or company calls and asks you to execute a piece of work for free. You really want to say no but you have said yes in the past and so they are back again expecting you will do the same.
- Use technology as a barrier. Before agreeing to quickly, say you will call back, if by email or messenger/inbox/watsapp/etc. acknowledge the query and promise to respond in a timely fashion. Do some research on the project if you are unfamiliar with it? Was there money attached to it? Why are they showing up now asking for free? Does your friend have the means to otherwise compensate you? Would she ask others to work for free as well?
- Respond with an opening that states what it will cost for you to work with them. “My fee for a basic consultation such as this is _______. If you wish for me to provide ongoing support we can discuss a retainer or another payment structure.” Have your rates clearly defined. If you believe you can be of added value state that and offer to sit with them to have a more in-depth proposal on how you can support them for a fee. Do have your contract/agreement ready to close the deal
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