Want to stop working for free?

I know from the emails I receive that some of you are already consulting — you’re just not getting paid for it. You may be providing your expert advice to your friends, family, charities or religious organizations. Stop working for free!

But — wait! I’m not telling you to start charging your friends and family!

I’m not one of those MLM types who wants you to start gouging your friends and loved ones. No way. I’m just saying that you need to start thinking like a business person, if you’re going to make the leap to consultant.

You can still give free advice to friends and family and anyone else who strikes your fancy. But here’s where you need to make a change.

Turn your donated time into a business strategy.

When you give away your consulting, you undermine its value. If you want people to take you seriously, you need to make sure you’re treating your time and knowledge as valuable resources.

Identify reasons for giving away knowledge — then determine what you gain from giving away your knowledge.

  • Do you want to build up your portfolio?
  • Develop and enhance new skills?
  • Demonstrate competency in a particular area?
  • Build relationships?
  • Get references?
  • Foster goodwill?
  • Meet personal goals?

If you trade your time and knowledge for specific outcomes, you’re not really working for free. You’ve identified the outcome of the transaction.
Although my Consulting Fees Guide tells you not to give away consulting services to businesses, you can make an exception if you’re building your personal inventory and you haven’t yet made the jump to making money. But don’t give away your services to anyone you even dream of having as a client. They’ll never be able to believe you’re worth $150 an hour if you were doing the same thing for free before.

So, if you want to do work without charing for it, do so. Just make sure you understand why you’re doing it.

By the way, if you like donating your time for the sake of helping other people, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re meeting a personal goal. And not everything in life has to be about business. But, if you’re struggling with making the transition to actually charging, take the time to rethink your strategy.

"Want to stop working for free?" from Become a Consultant at ConsultantJournal.com.

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