Saying No to “Free” and Yes to “Fee”

For years I ran my business like it was a side hustle, or part-time gig.  So much so that I even had to get a “real” job for a couple of years to supplement my income. And then I got mad. I started looking around at people who had been in business for way less time and they were raking in the cash. Here I was working 14-16 hour days and barely able to pay my bills. Something had to change. Me. I needed to get a better paying day job or finally get serious about building my business. They say, “You’ll never get rich working for someone else” so I got to work.

I made three big changes immediately:

I said NO to:

  1. Barter deals
  2. People who asked for discounts
  3. Coffee meetings and requests to “pick my brain”

I said YES to:

  1. Investing in a NEW website, (since mine looked like Uncle Vinny designed it in 1997)
  2. Professional headshots to use on the website, business cards and for speaking gigs
  3. High end business cards, with my social icons encouraging people to follow me on Facebook and Twitter
  4. Offering one hour complimentary “discovery” sessions over the phone or via video on Skype, (not in person) for those wanting to learn more about working with me.
  5. A new “Meet Me On Monday” initiative where I meet with a new person each Monday at a quiet café and then I write a little blurb about the person I meet with, which I share on my social media channels.

Since I had been essentially “giving away” a lot of my services for so long, the top three things I said yes to were investments that I felt would help me the most and the only three I could afford, at that moment, without going into more debt than I was comfortable with.

Item #4 had the potential to make me money, if I had the courage to “ask for the sale” at the end of the introductory call. I realized that not everyone was a good fit for my style of coaching, and that’s okay.

The results were impressive and almost immediate. Within the first six months of my new No/Yes plan, I generated more new business than I had in ANY previous YEAR. On a good day, I was making the same amount of money in two hours that I had made in an entire day at my former day job. On a not so great day, I was making zero dollars, which is the reality of being an entrepreneur sometimes. During this free transition,  I had a dilemma, I still wanted to share my knowledge, just without giving too much away for free.

Top 5 Ways to Start Moving from “Free” to “Fee” (while building a larger following and being generous with your expertise!)

  1. Select one or two non-profit organizations that you feel passionate about and donate your product or service to them. Pick organizations that will give you great testimonials or truly valuable exposure that you can’t get elsewhere.
  2. Offer some quick feedback to your followers on Twitter. For example, when I’m interviewed on a podcast I invite the listeners to tweet me @ThePitchGirl using the hashtag #15SecondPitch, if they’d like me to give them hints on how to improve their pitch.
  3. Invite people to a complimentary webinar or teleseminar and share your expert advice. Even if this is free, you can offer paid options to those who want more help, but avoid the “hard” sell.
  4. HARSH TRUTH: When a prospect tells you, “I just don’t have the budget right now,” it often means that they don’t see the VALUE in the product or service they are providing. Refine your offering and your pitch, and try again.
  5. Broadcast your message wide. Write a blog post, record a podcast or shoot a Facebook Live video and invite your social media followers to check it out. If someone really wants or needs your individual attention, they can pay your consulting or hourly fee.

Biggest Takeaway So Far: You can focus on Fee, (not free!) and still share your knowledge generously.

Laura Allen
About Laura Allen 1 Article
My name is Laura Allen (some people call me “The Pitch Girl”). I can show you how to make a great first impression and close BIG deals through effective pitching. I once sent a three foot tall steel pyramid to Star Wars director George Lucas in a pitch that yielded $60 MILLION for my client. Please visit: to learn more.