Should you do free consulting? (part 1)
Today, I’m going to answer another question I get asked a lot from readers: Should you do free consulting? There are a ton of opinions on this question, and I want to dig into this question, since how you answer it can powerfully affect your entire consulting business.
Here’s just one example of how one reader asked “should you do free consulting?” (this is a condensed version of his actual email):
Should you do free consulting?
First, I’ll tell you how I answered this question when I first started consulting, since it shows how most consultants and freelancers think about this issue.
When I first started consulting, I felt that since my knowledge and time were valuable, that I should bill for any consulting-related time I spent with a prospect or client. After all, if I was giving the prospect or client information or technical assistance that was valuable to them, I should be compensated for it.
Would I have been giving that kind of help if I was an employee? Yes, and I would’ve been getting paid for it.
Was the prospect/client getting value for my involvement? If so, I should be getting paid for it.
Would I spend time with the prospect/client on my own, as a hobby? If not, I should be getting paid for my assistance.
Here’s a smattering of my thoughts on this question when I first started consulting:
- If I did stuff for free, prospects and clients would take advantage of me.
- If I didn’t bill for my time, prospects & clients wouldn’t value my contribution as much.
- I needed to bill for as much of my time as possible.
And virtually all of us have blind spots that prevent us from seeing the beliefs that limit our progress.
I’m going to answer this question in much more detail in my next post, but for now…
Where do you stand?
Take a quick sec, and let me know where you stand on the question of “should you do free consulting” in the comments below.
Should you do free consulting? Why or why not?
Have you done free consulting before? How did that turn out?
What about if you’ve declined to do free consulting? How did clients respond?
In my next post, I’ll reveal:
- my stand on this question,
- my rationale,
- the results I’ve gotten,
- and a framework for putting it into practice.
For now, let me know: Should you do free consulting? Tell me right now in the comments below.
If you’d prefer to tell me in person, click on the orange “Ask me a question!” button on the right of this page to send me a voice mail right now. I’ll post the best responses in the next post.