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I do some free – pro bono – work at times.
These are usually people in significant financial need, those whom I decide to help free of charge for other reasons, and those who are sponsored by other people (someone else pays for my services so that they are ‘free’ to the client).
Please contact me if you think your case is one of great need. Let me know your circumstances and I will tell you whether I can/will help.
The rest of this article is aimed at those who might expect free help for all the wrong reasons…
You think I should work for free. Yeah?
Will you work for free?
- Take advantage of my expertise and experience without helping me out at the grocery store checkout?
- Take up my time – it won’t take long after all.
I like to eat.
And have you worked out that if you lose just 10 minutes from every day, that works out at over an hour a week? Yes, just 10 minutes a day. Then there’s the time I have to spend getting my focus back.
I get lots of requests for free help. Even telling people I can’t help adds up to significant time.
In any case, would you value my help as much if it were free? Generally, people don’t value free as much as paid. Would you use my help if it were free?
Should my paying customers subsidise your free? How do you think they might feel if they knew you got something for nothing just by asking?
What about charity? As it happens, partly due to some then unresolved mental health issues, from which I have long recovered, I overdid the charity for my whole life years ago (especially in my 20’s). I spent way too much time in some prime years of my life. In other words, charitable activities overdone meant that I did far more than most people ever do in a lifetime and my efforts for others put me even further behind in life than I already was due to such a poor start and terrible parenting.
Yes, I still do significant charitable stuff today but it is my choice – not just because someone asks. If I do stuff for you free then do you think I should ‘rob’ the charitable work I still do so that I can help you? Yes?
I focus. I spend lots of energy thinking. I get great results. Some of my work is world-class (have a look at some Testimonials). I live out of my passion. Because of all this, anything I do, including free stuff for you, saps my energy and my creative nous, thus leaving less for me, my clients, those I love, and those I support.
If you want free help, I don’t want you to come back – as you probably will if I help you. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even send more people wanting free! Word of mouth referrals can be so effective can’t they? Phone, email or visit Alex ‘Muggins’ Rowan – he’ll help ya for nowt.
Over the years, I have paid a big price for what I know, and for my ability to help people; some of which has been monetary in one way or another. Time has been another significant cost. Even what to you might seem a ‘little question’ may have cost me a lot to be able to give you the right answer. In any case, if it’s a ‘little issue’, or something ‘brief’, why are you asking me? Don’t you think it fair that I get some reward for my effort – my life energy/time spent?
Would you expect to get your house painted, your accounts sorted or your body fixed for free? How many painters, accountants or doctors do you know who work for free? And if they do, do you wonder if they are any good?
I work online and face to face. Some of my paying clients send me an email, a Tweet, or they phone me; which is probably the same way you would get in touch. Why are you expecting not to pay? Why are you different?
Another drawback with doing free stuff is that there is not the same passion and attention behind my focus as there is for paid, or for the free stuff that I have chosen to do. As a result, do you think my advice or help will be as good? And how do you think that will affect how you and potentially others, see me? Also, will it adversely affect your results? It could. And since I work in significant life areas, the consequences of sub-par focus could be detrimental.
So, am I an uncaring thoughtless and selfish sod? Have a look around my site and you will see that is not the case. One of the reasons I am so effective at what I do is that I know how to ‘look after myself’, and say no – where and when necessary. I look at the bigger picture. One part of that is if I am spending too much time helping people for free then I cannot help those who depend on me – my loved ones, friends, animals, clients and community. Would that be wisdom? Would you recommend I do that?
My website is just one key area in which I help people for free. I spend valuable time creating content, partly for the benefit of my website visitors. In time, my free content will become increasingly valuable.
With my Shaman hat, I have a substantial (cherished) responsibility and desire to help people. I need food, clothing, shelter and so on. Fair enough eh? Just because I have a spiritual aspect to some of my activities – personal and business – does not mean that I should not be paid for spiritual stuff, or other stuff.
Another reason I give so much away is that I am extremely blessed and I want to help as many people as possible. By choosing how I give things away enables me to influence the ‘return on investment’ – ROI. For example; if I spend one hour creating content that benefits many; how can I justify helping someone with a poor grasping attitude who wants that hour for themselves, thus depriving the wider community of the benefit of my time?
There is an unlimited supply of abundance, however we need to exercise good judgement in how we allocate our time and resources. In the past for example, I have overdone the giving and thus tapped into a stream of deprivation. It is important to have balance. I have an overly generous nature to the extent that it has been a weakness at times.
Anyway, I expect some of you have formed negative judgments after reading this far. Be careful. Get the full picture.
Here is part of my story which will illustrate why I need to get paid…
- My parents were assholes – in different ways. This messed my head up big time and caused mental illness.
- My start in life was poor, despite high intelligence and a good education, because of the poor parenting and mental illness.
- I got financially behind in life due to my upbringing and mental health issues.
- I spent too much time helping people and doing charitable work – even when I did not have enough money to put milk in my tea.
- I missed out on a normal start in life, and one reason I never had kids was because my head was not ‘on straight’ due to mental problems. Another was that I simply could not afford them. Yet another was that I couldn’t maintain a stable relationship.
- Mental health issues meant that I was a poor money manager, despite knowing some stuff.
- I have not received compensation from my parents, siblings or any other relevant family.
- I had to fix my mental health issues myself, all the while fending off negativity and malicious actions from all sorts of bastards.
- Today, I have not only recovered from my mental health issues, I have gone even further and attained happiness and wisdom beyond that which most people are even aware of, let alone achieve. This is not some proud boast – in fact, humility is a cornerstone of so much that is worthwhile in life.
- Today, I have long-term and quality relationships with a wide range of people. Friends, clients, associates, service providers and women.
- Today I have empathy and other positive traits which were once ‘foreign’ to me.
- Today I am extremely grateful that I had such dreadful parents and bad siblings (one especially so). I turned their shit into great blessing. Stuff them! (I am not bitter – bitterness among other things contributes to ill health – I do realise however that my parents and siblings are my enemies; so my comment is in the same vein as ‘stuff the Jerries’ would have been in WW2).
- Today, I help top performers with their mind, thinking, spiritual or life issues (Testimonials).
- Today, I am well paid and am unusually ‘blessed’, ‘fortunate’ etc. But…I have financial catching up to do, especially capital wise. I don’t stress over it. In fact, a close friend who is a battle hardened special forces veteran*, marvels at how I didn’t stress over my finances; which suggests how bad things must have been. (*In other words, he’s not a guy to think much is worth getting bothered about). Thanks Mum and Dad!
Getting paid therefore seems pretty fair and necessary don’t you think?
So if after reading this you still feel ‘entitled’ to some free help just because you asked, I suggest getting some paid help from me concerning parasitism.
1 Stop wasting my time – some good advice on time management and networking from the Sydney Morning Herald.
2 A friend writes on her Facebook profile:
So many emails from (industry removed for privacy) businesses wanting free advice lately. If you need help with your marketing/social media/product research/blog writing, etc. you should be willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you need to invest the time into learning it for yourself. After all, there are ample resources online. But it is completely unreasonable to expect other people to give you their time and expertise to help you make your business profitable for free.
Ironically (name removed for privacy), many of the people you describe are likely to fail simply because they haven’t ‘got what it takes’. Being parasites, many will always need a ‘host’. An article to help them clarify their situation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitism
3 Since this article was written, I received the following message via my contact form:
I am loving reading your posts and hearing how effective you are and how you are getting these fantastic results with with people. It sounds great and I’m really interested in hearing more about your techniques and influences, if you would be willing to share?
I’m actually interested in a professional context as I’m studying counselling, with the hope in becoming a substance abuse counsellor one day and I came across one of your posts through the whole internet start off looking at something else which leads to twenty other sites thing, actually it was something you were writing about ayahuasca. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a really great experience with it in the past when it was the right time for me and I saw how effective it was in treating addiction and have been looking at any studies which tie in western therapies and ayahuasca use as medicine in treating addiction… Anyway I’m going off on a tangent, really I was just hoping to hear more from you about certain theories which apply in your field or don’t.. the techniques you use to get in touch with the spirit world without the need for chemical help, how effective you find meditation and just any extra info you want to provide would be great.
Thanks in advance
Note how ‘assumptive’ the message was, and that the person is studying for a career in counselling. Much studying for professional development costs money…
I never received any reply to my message.
Ironically, what I have to share may be one of the most important thing she could have learnt! If you have trouble believing that; watch this website over the next few years.
5 An excellent article on entitlement by author Sarah Madison: Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me.