Understanding the Costs of Free

Be careful when asking people to provide a service for you for free. Many people and organizations have a habit of having people perform tasks and expect to contribute to the person performing the tasks very low to no compensation. Many people do not mind performing tasks under those conditions especially if the person performing the tasks is passionate about his or her skill set and makes a conscious decision to inform you that they will complete the tasks at no cost, even then it is respectful to offer some type of contribution to show that you are respectful of their time.

When expecting free services or lower than normal payments for service understand the following:

  • You are limited to what the person can deliver without the use of outside collaboration. Some of the best work is done in teams. If you expect not to compensate, than whatever the person can perform without spending additional money is where the train stops for your expected results. Don’t plan on top quality.
  • You are on their time. You can not expect you tasks to be priority when other tasks that the person is performing is helping to pay the bills. You will normally get it when the person has time to work on it and complete it. So don’t initiate a deadline.
  • Don’t try to sell the back-in money. Save your breath when telling someone that they will get paid once they finish the task and that you will make them part of the big picture and give them a percentage of return. A smart person would ask you what percentage would you give them once the return comes in and then ask for half of that “right now” as the only and final payment and let you keep the rest when it comes in.

Just remember on any given task you will spend either time or money. The more you spend on one the less you will spend on the other. Don’t jeopardize your position by taking advantage of key players. At the end of the day those key players can send you business and “Give People a Reason to Talk about You“.


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