I’ve been thinking about the best way I can help my clients or potential clients be successful in life, online or overall. The idea that keeps coming to mind is to share all my knowledge with anyone who wants it. I’ve always said I’ll talk to anyone about anything and share all the knowledge I have. If the result is success for that person, great! If the result is you hire me for more work, even better! But, ultimately, once you get me started talking, I usually can’t stop. And if it helps, then that makes me happy in a way that I can’t really explain.
Then I also noticed a few other authors who have written about the same thing. Most recently, in the Christian Science Monitor, Josh Burek writes about Chris Anderson’s book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price (which, ironically, is NOT free from Amazon). In it, he talks about “Free” being a marketing tool and a sales tool.
For anyone trying to make a living in the digital economy, that example is good news. Finally: a plan for profit when the price is zero. “Sooner or later every company is going to have to figure out how to use Free or compete with Free….” Anderson writes. But don’t give away all that you have just yet. Free is a sales tool, not a source of cash. You still have to sell something. Actually, free is an old concept in sales. Anderson tags four different ways in which it is used:
- Direct cross-subsidies: Free cellphone with a two-year contract.
- Three-party market: Most radio and TV stations. You don’t pay for them. Ads do.
- Freemium: Free tax-prep software with invitation to buy a premium version.
- Nonmonetary markets: Wikipedia. Real people wrote all those articles, motivated by social capital, not cash.
Why is free a radical price? Chocolate brands give a compelling answer. Which would you pick: a 15-cent Lindt Truffle or a 1-cent Hershey Kiss? In a study, most bought the Lindt. Then each price was cut by a penny. Most wanted a free Kiss. “[T]here is a huge difference between cheap and free,” Anderson notes.
Recently I’ve had several conversations with clients and potential clients and friends that have needed help or new ideas in some way and I’m always happy to share all that I know and any ideas that I have that are specific to their needs.
For instance, yesterday I spoke with someone who wasn’t happy with their current host/developer and how she was charging too much for updates that the client could do themselves and holding their website hostage for no reason. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with them discussing their different options and how they might go about getting access to their website and domain name that they paid for without having to start from scratch.
Also, with every client I have, I’ll tell them everything they need or want to know about internet marketing, social media and websites. Knowledge is not only power, knowledge is freedom and anytime I can help someone gain the knowledge to make the decisions they need is incredibly freeing for everyone involved.
I believe that Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net understands this well. (Author of The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life) He’s recently removed the copyright from all of written material in his blog. A fantastic move, really.
Until now, I granted limited permission, mostly for non-commercial use.
Now, I’m granting full permission to use any of my content on Zen Habits or in my ebook, Zen To Done, in any way you like.
I release my copyright on this content.
From now on, there is no need to email me for permission. Use it however you want! Email it, share it, reprint it with or without credit. Change it around, put in a bunch of swear words and attribute them to me. It’s OK. 🙂
Leo has some really good, interesting reasons why he’s done this, that actually, I won’t reprint here, but they make sense. I would also add that trying to keep people from using your content might make you hold on too tight to something that might not be all that important. For me, I’ve never been one to want to hold on to ideas too tightly or to have to keep track of things like that. In the web development world, I’ve never tried to price things by how many users you have, how many products in your store, dollars sold or bandwidth used because then I would have to spend too much time tracking it and worrying about it.
So, from now on, if you find anything I say interesting, feel free to use it. A credit would be nice, but it’s up to you… It’s all about freedom.