Before you answer, “YES, of course,” please take a moment. It’s not as simple a question as you might think. Before you answer that first question, reflect on these points.
1. Are you more interested in the price of something than its value?
2. Are you more likely to dash off an email complaining about something quicker than thanking someone for their information or a job well done?
3. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to post a comment on a blog thanking the author for his free information?
4. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to tell someone about a great product/service you just found?
5. Are you more likely to complain about the price being too high rather than praise someone for their work?
6. Are you more likely to complain in public and thank in private or the other way around?
Many people who make a living providing a service or information products tell me that they are much more likely to be asked to lower their fee/price than they are to be thanked, even when they provide them for free! Web designers, for example, are quite often approached to provide free services. In fact, many of the people asking don’t even ask nicely!
“Can’t you just redesign a few pages for me? After all, it’s not like it’s costing you any money. Just some time!”
What they don’t seem to “get” is that it has already cost the web designer dearly to come by this specific expertise and obtain all the software she now possess in order to make that happen! I always wonder how that customer would feel if the roles were reversed and that web designer had asked her customer’s husband (the accountant) to just do her taxes for free. After all, it’s not like it’s costing him any money. It’s just taking his time away from paying customers who could put food on the table for their family.
Does she even understand the position she is putting this web designer in by asking for freebies in this way? It communicates a lack of respect for her as an expert, a lack of respect for her time and a lack of respect for her right to make a living and provide for her family. It also puts the web designer in an uncomfortable position. If she says yes, she is bound to do the work for no compensation. If she says no, she risks communicating that she is selfish.
What would happen if this web designer were to give a great deal of her time away for free? Who do you think would lose? If you answered only the web designer, herself, you would be wrong! Her clients would suffer also, because she would probably have to take on a job to make ends meet. She would no longer have time for her paying clients who would have to find someone else to do their websites. Her non paying “customers” would lose too! Do you think she would have time to do web design for free if she wasn’t bringing in an income for her family and wasn’t able to pay the upkeep on the software and websites she maintains?
I hear ya out there! Sometimes, especially in this economy, you simply can’t afford the very fair price of someone’s services…and hey, sometimes they OFFER to give them away. It’s their choice if they want to offer this for free. I’m just taking advantage of it. Right you are! However, how often did you personally email the host of a free event to express your gratitude for all his hard work during the year to put this event together? When’s the last time you sent a short email thanking the author of an eBook you were able to download for free for the years of research he put into it? How often have you helped them get the word out about their product or service? How often did you cry SPAM if they so much as mentioned that they make a living by offering these products or services?
We teach our kids to say thank you, but in my experience, most adults say it far less than their children do. Most adults don’t understand the power of thank you either. It’s a lesson I often include in my communication studies.
That web designer understands how tough things are in this economy. That’s probably why she offers her services at a discounted rate when she could make so much more under different circumstances. She knows how difficult it is to put food on the table. She is self employed! That’s probably why she offers some of her services for free.
A little compliment goes a long way and can create an environment where the even MORE is given back. It’s precisely because so few show thankfulness that it will be noticed. A heartfelt thank you will cause her to want to give back even more. That’s the power of “Thank You”. A small thank you can brighten her day or make her forget a bad encounter. A little appreciation for her work can give her the strength to continue on in the face of difficulty.
“He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” Proverbs 22:11
And how much time does it take to dash off a short email with a line of thanks? Less than a minute of your time can make all the difference to someone else. Now imagine what a blessing you could be if you took two minutes and made it public? What blessing could you bring to her if you took three and a half minutes and passed along her website and told your friends or Yahoo group how much she impressed you?
At the very least, and even in this economy, you can certainly afford to pay someone what she’s worth. Pay her a compliment! Pass along her information. After all, it’s not like it’s costing you any money…just some of your time.
This article was written by JoJo Tabares, who graciously allowed me to reproduce it. Here is the link to her original article. I have often been asked why editing costs so much (it doesn’t!), and I have been very frustrated by writing for free for so many different venues that I run out of time to market my writing to paying clients.
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com.