I felt I had to write about this topic after a sudden influx of requests from companies and PR people asking for free therapy services for their employees or to advertise/promote their products. If you haven’t received one of these emails or phone calls yet this is what you could expect (this is a genuine email!).
I wondered if you did info sessions for businesses – presentation on importance of sleep – useful tips/guidance etc
13 March World Sleep day so looking for something to promote this area around that week.
We are based in XXX city centre.
Perfect I thought so I spent the next few days trying to contact the HR lady who had sent the email to discuss her requirements and my costs. In the end I sent her an email and this is the response I got:
Sorry for the delay in responding. We don’t really have a budget for organisations to come in however in the past businesses have been in to promote their business and then further down the line we have organised more specific training etc if required.
In other words do some work for me for nothing and you never know we might decide to do something with you in the future but no promises. This was my response:
I am afraid free does not pay my bills or take into account my considerable experience and expertise. Perhaps your company needs to reconsider its approach to asking people to do something for nothing as it is rather insulting.
I do not feel bad about sending this note and neither should you if you were in my position! If you want more polite responses you can always check out this article in Forbes.
Don’t Work for Companies for Nothing
The companies who have asked me for free therapy services are cheap full stop. They are perfectly able to reconcile earning massive profits with thinking they are doing me a favour by asking me to work for them for nothing. In fact what they probably haven’t bothered to think about is that it would have actually cost me money to run the session they wanted.
- I would have taken time out from my work in order to write the presentation they wanted.
- In this case I would have had to drive a 30 mile round trip and pay for petrol.
- As the talk was in the city centre I would have had to find a paid space to park.
- I would have lost a half days client income by taking time out to do the talk.
This is the worst deal in the world! No professional occupation is going to get taken seriously when they do work for nothing. Can you imagine what a plumber would say if they had been asked to fit a toilet for the exposure.
Therapists Do the Same
I hate to say it but it isn’t just your clients and corporations who think this way but also therapists. I have had countless messages over the years from therapists who wanted my time to teach them how to set up their business but without any payment. Some of these would be in direct competition with me but still thought it would be ok for me to do all the work and for them to profit. Remember these are not people I have ever met and in many cases even talked to or been in touch with on Facebook. Their requests came out of the blue which is beyond cheeky. Don’t do the same to others and if people do that to you be happy to call them out for their poor behaviour.
Valuing Your Therapy Services and Products
I know from many years of experience that the only way to get success with your clients is by getting them to value what you offer. When they believe that your words are disposable, or not worth the money then why would they bother paying any attention to what you have to say. It doesn’t matter if I am talking about a corporate company or an individual the same applies. You will always get a poorer outcome with clients who haven’t bothered to pay.
In addition this company would never value me enough to pay me in the future which was the carrot the organisation was trying to dangle in front of me. Once someone has got something for nothing they will expect it in the future. I would never earn anything from them so why bother.
By the way I am not the only one who is experiencing this. On a hypnotherapy forum I moderate plenty of other therapists told me of their experiences of this freebie culture. I had to laugh when one of them said they had been approached by Apple to do a free talk. This is one of the most profitable companies in the world.
When Should You Think of Doing Free Work
Now of course nothing is ever black and white there are some circumstances where you might consider working for nothing.
Fame and Glory
Imagine that tomorrow morning a TV company called you up and wanted you to appear on their segment about Hypnobirthing. Your name, expertise and company details will be broadcast to millions of people across the country. Then this is a prospect worth considering because of the potential for a real peak in client bookings. Plus you now have the chance to place this on your website and pitch yourself as a TV expert. This will earn you money over time.
If you have a favourite charity that you work with then I can totally understand that you might do some free therapy services. BUT from my experience some of these clients are less motivated to work with you because they are not paying for their services. Be clear on who you will and won’t work with it you do volunteer so that you get the best outcomes for your clients.
Free Therapy Services for New Experiences
Last year I did free work for a number of radio stations partly for publicity but also because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it is good to be pushed outside your daily limits as it keeps you on your toes and teaches you new skills.
If you get together with other health and wellness professionals to do talks and cross refer products and services it may be worth your while doing the odd free talk. Just make sure that you are not the only one doing all the work whilst the other health professionals sit and do nothing. Cross referrals can be a nice money spinner when you have everything set up and working on auto pilot.
Therapy Marketing to Make Money
If you market your wellness business correctly you should never have to offer free therapy services. I gave up doing most free work years ago and have never looked back or regretted calling out people who asked me to do something for nothing. Learning how to use paid advertising such as Google Adwords or Facebook can make a big difference. Setting up your website so it is a client magnet will earn you money. Learning to Blog for money will never make leave you broke. All of these things can be learned and my online courses in my shop will teach you how to walk away from these requests knowing that you are never going to need to hustle for business again. What are you waiting for?
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