15 July 2015

Here is my solution to two problems – being asked to do stuff for free all the time and trying to make the world a better place.

From time to time we all do jobs for free, it’s the nature of being a business owner. And I think we should be doing things without exchanging money when we want to. But over the years I’ve realised that there needs to be a fair exchange of something when it comes to interacting with others in a business environment, and if you don’t want to charge money, or it doesn’t feel right to charge, what are the options?

Well after a lot of thought, this is my new approach to anyone who I agree to “catch up for a chat”, which is code of “can I pick your brains”. I’ll do that, but in return, I want the person to make a donation to one my charities. Now this might be a donation of money, and I don’t really mind how much it is, but I do want to see the receipt or Paypal confirmation (because I have asked people to do this in the past and they haven’t made the donation). Or alternatively, they can make a blood donation and send me a selfie whilst they are on the couch bleeding (see below for a little clarification of this).

In fact I’ve made up a flyer to explain how this works and my expectations of this session. I want these freebies to be fairer, and I don’t have to benefit, but I’m very happy for my charities of choice to benefit. And as you can tell from the flyer below, I explain it pretty clearly.

So, what do you think? Is this fair enough. Is this a win/win in the best possible way?





5 thoughts on “Here is my solution to two problems – being asked to do stuff for free all the time and trying to make the world a better place.”

  1. SALLY ARNOLD says:

    Thanks Andrew, have been thinking about this for ages and also want to support my charities further, SAHA and small Performing Arts organisations too.

  2. Ben Hale says:

    Brilliant idea Andrew, it’s win win win – good gets done, advice gets given and the asker also has their network see their good deed (in the case of giving blood).

    I have two thoughts.

    1. I would be interested in the transactional value – i.e. is what they are donating as much as they can afford, or what they think your advice is worth? It almost doubles as an indirect feedback mechanism giving you a barometer of the value of the advice you are giving.

    2. When I’m asked to provide free advice for the price of a cup of coffee or a more direct favour, I’ll think through my client list and see if there isn’t something that the person asking might be able to do to help someone else on my client roster. While its not doing as much good as helping out a charity, it does help reinforce network connections and on occasions solve two problems with one action.

    A practical example of this is a client who is a keynote speaker needing a flyer written and designed to launch a corporate wellness program. I declined to be paid, only asking that they ask a contact of theirs (a famous international racing driver) to tweet a link to a post I wrote for a large scale renewable energy client about electric vehicles and how important it is to charge them with renewables. It’s amazing how many synergies can be found when you look. No payment is received by anyone, yet value is delivered three times and three relationships benefit rather than one.

  3. Hey Ben – great thoughts as always from you. I have done the “value approach” and I felt a bit awkward with it, as there are certainly times that I offer advice to people in a dire spot. Plus I’m hoping on human nature to do the right thing – but we will see. Hence my request to see the receipt. I have one experience where I did the value thing and fella donated thousands of dollars on my behalf.

    And I like your network idea. Another great angle.

    You always add a new layer of thought to ponder. Thank you Ben.


  4. Andrew, I love the idea of a having document to explain the way it works.

    Ben, Like your thinking; what is seen to be of low value to one person can be of huge value to another.

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