They say share until it hurts because…you’ll get it back with interest.
Others offer a quasi-mathematical ratio that says – give 4,5,6 items of true value before you ask for something in return.
Where does that leave you?
Working your arse off trying to churn out your best content to give away. You feel like you’re doing the right thing but the mortgage company, the dealership waiting for your car payment, or Wal-Mart doesn’t count comments and good feelings as payment.
At some point, you are going to ask.
Am I giving away too much?
A true story about the failure of the Karma Code
About a year ago, I received an email from fairly well-known internet marketer. He hadn’t been blogging for a while and I had the impression that he was going through some tough personal circumstances.
Up until that point, he had been a prolific content generator. He had given away stacks of material and rarely asked for anything in return. He did sell information and offer services, but that wasn’t the focus of his strategy. I felt he was the poster child for the share until it hurts movement.
In the email he sent, he stated that he was retiring his website. As his final gesture of good will, he gave his readers a choice.
1) They could choose to pay fair value for his online guides and video courses or
2) Just download them for free.
I thought, “Wow” this guy is going to hit the jackpot. He’s given his heart, soul, and more to his audience. This is a good test of the “Karma Code” advocated by the unicorn union.
The next day, he sent another email apologizing because his server had gone down because it couldn’t support the number of people downloading his material – for free.
Yep…he was picked clean.
I’m sure he received a few bucks here and there but it seems that the law that said – Give and You Shall Receive – was broken that day.
I remember saying to myself…”I’m not going to get pickpocketed like that poor guy.”
Enough is Enough
If you are asking… How much should I give away?
My answer is – your blog posts are enough.
Each of your posts probably took you an hour to research, write, edit, and publish. For most people that hour is worth a good amount of money. Let’s suppose that you bill yourself out at $50 an hour. Post twice a week and you’ve invested $100. Add another two hours for comment replies and blog maintenance and your karmic donation goes to $200 a week. In a month, that $800 in the offering plate in a year – well $9,600 is nothing to sneeze at.
I say that $9,600 is enough.
Sell the rest.
Sell it for a good value. Honestly promote real benefits not empty hype. Offer amazing customer support. Work hard to break new ground and give people something that works. And feel damn good that you are in business to exchange for your hard-won expertise for profit.
If this notion of free enterprise and good business sounds scary to you then I’m willing to bet that you’ve been victimized by “That Guy”.
In every audience you’ll have someone who is quick to download your free guide. Quick to sign up for a free webinar. First in line for every free 30 minute consultation and willing to take 110% of every thing you offer.
This same person loves to question your motives when you propose a business transaction. They worry about the state of your soul when you offer a service in return for pay. They blissfully forget the tens of thousands of dollars of free time and content they’ve consumed while they write an email questioning your integrity.
That Guy may have good intentions but they are not running your business. You are. They aren’t paying your bills. You are.
Remember. Enough is Enough.
When Free Makes Dollars and Cents
You need to audition for your reader. You need to gain their trust. You need to demonstrate competency. Free content does that. That is why I believe that content marketing is the best slingshot that any small biz David can own.
But at some point, Free becomes a financially debilitating crutch.
Set your limits. Something like:
- Two blog posts a week,
- A free report every quarter.
Readers get the blog for free. Free Report downloaders pay with a valid email address. Everyone (including “That Guy”) is on the hook to hear your authentic, well-considered, and value-driven pitch.
Her name is Claire. I love her to death. She’s a client but I call her Sis because we can’t help to bicker and poke fun at each other.
Claire puts out incredibly “meaty” posts at least twice a week on her blog. The rooster calls her “reliable”.
But that’s not why I love Claire. She is my hero because she’s always thinking about how she can build her business with high-quality products. She can do this because she has paid her dues. Her blog posts show she’s not greedy or “desperate”.
I’m sure Claire will have an unfortunate encounter with ‘That Guy”. I hope she asks her Bro to take care of it.
Stop beating yourself up. You deserve to build your business. Your readers should feel fortunate they have found you as a resource.
Enough is Enough.
What do you think?
Do you feel guilty about conducting business on your blog? Talk to me.