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The Power of Free

Brilliant episode from NPR’s Planet Money podcast on the power of free. (for those without flash you can listen online here)

“Free has the power to make us do completely irrational things. It can drive us to break rules, and take risks we never thought possible. It can make us feel savvy and smug and exhilarated.”

It’s just under 20 minutes so perfect to listen to on your tea break.

Most interesting to me (11:38 mins in) was the idea of charging for something people don’t expect to pay for such as your mother charging for a family meal or an airline charging for customer service (one airline actually did this!). What would you expect to get for free?

I provide free advice so people can get a feel for our process but I used to struggle with how far that free advice would stretch, often into many follow-up emails and becoming a time suck, and it put me off offering anything for free at all which then in turn put off people who needed a little re-assurance of how we can help.

I found setting a clear boundary for what’s free and what’s not enabled me to offer the advice knowing there was a limit which was communicated upfront. Should people want only the free advice then they tended to use their time wisely.

I am now happy to offer my advice for free if I’m out networking or other similar event, either as a talk or just casual conversation or as a one off coaching taster session. After that, get your wallet out.

Are you charging for something people expect for free? Or are you not charging for something people would pay for? Let me know on Twitter @benkinnaird.

Image credit: Libre Sign by Gisela Giardino