September 23rd, 2018’s Jam Session was “Giving it away for free 2.0”, a repeat of the same Jam from June 2018, due to popular demand. Here are some of the thoughts that came up, as questions to consider.
We didn’t resolve the answers to the below questions, but they were thought provoking, and they highlighted the need to really reflect on what our purpose is, what we each are trying to achieve, and how we balance altruism with building a sustainable business. Particularly when our businesses already tend towards providing caring, helpful information or services, as opposed to selling a breakfast cereal (yummy as cereal may be!).
So, what ARE we giving away for free?
1. If we give away free information, are we de-valuing our expertise or are we making valuable information accessible to those who may not otherwise have access to it?
If we give away our product, are we de-valuing our creations while simultaneously allowing our product to be used and appreciated by those who could not normally afford them?
2. Does giving something for free allow people to understand what we have to offer?
3. If the intent is to provide people with a sense of what we have to offer, then it should, in theory, lead to people approaching us as paid clients. How often does this happen? What proportion of people come to us (a week, a month, a year later) because they received advice from us for free?
4. Are we giving things away to people who are not interested, and never will be interested, in becoming paid clients? Does this fit our goal? Does this contradict our business plan?
5. How much free advice are we giving on social media? Is this effective in meeting any of our goals (the goal to provide general information as a public service?; the goal to support and educate?; our goal to attract clients?). How do we measure this time and is this time well spent?
6. What if what we are really giving is US? By sharing and connecting and providing live videos on facebook, are we allowing people to know us better? In an age where consumers want to know where their food has come from, how ethically their clothing is made, and whether companies treat their employees well, are we able to give people a deep sense of who we are so that they are confident they have chosen a service provider or company who aligns with their own goals, or values? Are we able to make relationships instead of give “stuff”?