When did people start thinking that they should be able to get everything for free? We used to EXPECT to pay for music, books & training. When did that change?
Jim Kukral demonstrated the topic of his upcoming book “Attention, This Book Will Make You Money” with this clever blog post “Attention, My Book is Free Today “. Some of us saw the witty video post as a great way to emphasize just what his soon to be released book was all about. But a large number of people were angered by the post. They bemoaned the fact that Mr. Kukral didn’t actually give anything away for free.
I disagree on two points. He found a way to show us exactly what we would be learning in his book and he taught us one of those lessons…free. Or at least for just the cost of a small snippet of our time.
He also managed to uncover the ugly truth that those of us involved in selling information are so painfully aware of. A lot of people that could benefit from what we sell aren’t willing to pay for it. Somewhere along the way they’ve developed an expectation that information should be given away. They’ve cultivated the mindset and preached it to others; gaining a following of recruits that are hooked on the ‘info for free’ Kool-Aid.
I’ve had individuals review my “VA Survival Guide” , giving it high marks for the information shared, agreeing that it goes beyond what many virtual assistant guides include and then lower its value, not because of the content but because of the price. Now, I’m convinced of the value in my information product. I’ve paid three and four times as much for classes and seminars that didn’t share as much useful information. Heck, I’ve paid as much or more for fiction and how to books.
But I suddenly found myself questioning my decision to sell my knowledge and experience. I agonized for awhile, did some soul-searching and hashed it over with others.
Over the course of the past 3 months I’ve come to realize that it’s not me…it’s you. Or rather it’s those of you who have jumped on the “I’m entitled to free” bandwagon.
I understand that many of us have offered a lot of information for free and I’m as guilty as the next guy. I own my role in developing an entire demographic that believe they shouldn’t have to pay for any information when they can probably find it for free on the Internet. And since I own some responsibility for cultivating that mindset, I feel it’s important for me to come out and share some truths that the ‘free’ flag wavers might not be disclosing or even aware of.
1. Free is never free. It always costs you something. It may be your valuable time, but shockingly it may be your reputation if you take free advice that either isn’t sound or incorrect in some way, shape or form.
2. Free can cost you a lot more than money. How long is it going to take you to find your free information? Time is money, and how many of these so-called free information products are you going to spend time on, only to find there is very little value in what is being shared? How many times is the information being shared unsound, and will you even know it until you somehow lose credibility or clients because of it?
I strongly believe it’s time that we realized that we had it right before, when our expectations were that we would be expected to pay for things.
It’s time we reminded ourselves and each other that things of value come with a price.
Do you agree or disagree? I’m interested in both sides of the coin, so let me know how you feel about free in the comments section below.