There was a conversation on Twitter which gave reason to pause. The main writer was arguing in favor of running a business based on giving away their services for free. To them there was a payoff. The thing is they are wrong.
Free is not a business model, but a marketing gimmick which only works if giving to targeted audience. The writer could not get that, and here’s why: It was a stay at home mom who was dependent on her husband for her money. She can give stuff away for free since it is not her money which she had to work to earn.
Sure there is the notion that whatever is his is hers, but the reality is that some people are very frivolous with other people’s money. Another thought is that the woman has a hobby which she calls a business, but has not made any money to justify its existence. That is really big on social networks. There are tons of people claiming to be experts at something, but do not have the real experience to prove it.
A hobby is something people do on the side, and perhaps make a little cash in the process. What she proposes is giving away your services in hopes that it will lead to bigger things. This rarely works, since most of the people who want the free stuff will never use it, or will pick it a part. Think of it like a dentist office. They expect to be paid for their services, so why should a qualified person in another area just give away their product.
The reality is that a person in a position of not making money should not be dispensing advice to those who are. They have no leverage on which to stand. This is also another element in social networks. Some who are not in business or even working think they can tell others what is right for their business.
It would make sense if this person had some experience to make the suggestions, but a hobbyist is not in the same category as a business owner. Business owners have responsibilities, payrolls, customers, and more, while a hobbyist, can drop it if they don’t feel in the mood.
They are not thinking of how to market, where to find customers, what to charge, and how to get paid. The business owner is thinking of all that and how to pay taxes, what part of their house is eligible for deductions, networking, and growth. See, they are coming from two different places.
Free is not a good business model because it does not pay the bills. Charging a rate which is on par with the market, is a much better model, and eliminates the stress.