I recently volunteered my web marketing services for a charitable organisation. I offered to create a newly launched website which would aid their brand image and capture data where legally applicable. What started off as a straight forward project turned into a time consuming, painful and time wasting exercise. The reason: they never valued my time. But more importantly, because they were getting it for free, no person was accountable for the cost.
One of the first lessons I was taught at university from a £500 per day business consultant was never to offer your time for free. Why? Because people never value it. Its taken me 10 years to learn this lesson.
If someone is paying you for a service, you should feel obliged to deliver some value for money. If you are paying for a service, you expect a return. If you have paid for a service and its not up to standard you can get a refund. When you are offering something for free and deliver poor service; the client simply wont use it because ‘ it was free’.
The key lesson is if you do offer something for ‘free’ have clear timescales, have clear deliverables and a cut off time. As they say in business school, always have SMART objectives.
My advice, when you have invested in your business and education, never give away your knowledge and experience for free. If people are not willing to pay for something, they generally have no value or need for the service in the first place.
So whatever you do, always keep it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely !!