Volunteerism is great but, if you’re building a business and want to make a living, you need to learn how to be paid for your advice or service. If you give everything away, you’re a charity not a business.
Friends will always ask your advice, and that is not a bad thing but in this totally hyperlinked world we live in today you most likely have hundreds of “friends” you’ve never met, who have an intimate picture of your background. The ease with which they can connect with you creates a false sense of accessibility. When you put your creds on the web and announce you’re opening a business, you’re instantly opening the floodgates so you need to have a plan.
I have a lot of experience writing and editing and could set up an independent business to help others with their writing projects. That being said, before I’d take a step forward and go public, I’d need to create a plan and set up some parameters. My first step – and yours should be – is to create a list of services I could provide and put a price on each of them. People need to understand that your time has value and each minute you are giving something away you are not focusing on building your business.
For some super practical tips on negotiating this tricky territory, read Nancy Collamer’s great article, When (and when not) To Charge for Your Expertise and Time on NextAvenue.org.
And, when you get down to the nitty gritty of pricing your services, check out Pricing the Goods and Services of Your Small Business at Startacus.
Last but not least, don’t forget that you can always offer a “friends and family” discount or a new customer, multiple services and/or customer loyalty discount.
Information is cheap. Anyone can find bleams of it at any time on the Internet. Only experience can distill all that info into wisdom and put it into in a context relevant to your clients’ needs. Your experience is one of your most valuable business assets – don’t give it away!