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Featured Freebie: 7 Ways to Legitimize Your Side Hustle

  • Sarah Sheehan

Why “Free” Isn’t the Friend You Think It Is

If I asked you for the #1 way to acquire new customers, what would you say? Free consultations? Free products? Free bonuses?

Guess what? *sounds obnoxious buzzer for emphasis* All of those answers are wrong!

If you find yourself giving away consultations, products, or services with no rhyme or reason, you better glue yourself to this page until you’ve absorbed every word. This advice is exactly what you need to hear.

“Free” is fear-based

Especially when we’re just starting out, we’re so eager to nab our first few sales that we’ll do damn near anything to get them. More often than not, that strategy works against us.

Think of it this way: Imagine you’re on a date with someone who is so genuinely surprised at your interest that they’re thanking you left and right for giving them the time of day. They’re layering on the compliments, they’re going above and beyond to impress you, and they’re one step away from literally groveling at your feet.

Now, tell me, how does the second date go?

Oh, right. There is no second date. What they thought were acts of gratitude were really just creepy ways to flash their insecurities. See where I’m going with this?

When you give away too much in your for-profit business, you communicate a serious lack of confidence. That mindset comes from a place of fear:

  1. Fear that you’ll lose the client if you charge too much

  2. Fear that your business will fold if you don’t close every sale

  3. Fear that you will fail

Say this five times out loud: Fear has no place in a strong business model. And neither does free.

Price conveys value, whether you like it or not

Working for free, no matter how that looks in your industry, tells your customer base that you don’t have faith in your product--which tells them that they shouldn’t either.

After all, if you believed in your offering, why wouldn’t you charge for it? And if you have to give it away, how good can it really be?

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s a time and place for promotions and purposeful freebies. (They’re great for boosting sales strategically or building your email list, for example.)

But if your primary selling point is not selling at all, the only clients you’ll keep are the ones you don’t want.

Your ideal client will go elsewhere, looking for higher value at a higher price, simply because that price is a measure of confidence. And you, my friend, will be unhappy and broke.

“Free” de-prioritizes your profit margin (and your mental health)

Listen, you are not a charity. You do not run a non-profit. You operate a for-profit business that requires--you guessed it--profits to stay functional.

The more you give away, the less you earn. I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many entrepreneurs forget this.

When you undercharge, you force yourself to work longer hours and hustle harder without actually growing your wealth.

Compare the companies you see with $20 products to the businesses pricing in the three- or four-figure range. Who do you see showing up and showing out nonstop? Who do you see going on vacations multiple times a year?

Who do you think has to grind 24/7 to hit their income goals? Who do you think has time to rest and take care of themselves? Who do you want to be? I rest my case.

Here’s what to do instead

Rather than charging ahead in a race to the bottom, charge solely based on the value you provide.

There will always be someone charging less than you. If you try to compete on price alone, you’ll lose every time, even if you win the client.

Remember that the clients you want are clients who want you, too. And those clients will pay for the privilege.

Unsure of how to price your product or service offering? Apply for coaching so we can strategize together. Leave underpaid in the past, and let’s get you set up to price the right way.

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