Richard Maun – Working For Free! Really?

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


Working For Free! Really?

6 May 2019

Let’s image youre reading this on a smartphone, or a tablet. Would you give them away to someone for free? What about the laptop sitting on your desk? Would you pop that in the post and wave goodbye to it, for nothing?

I’m sure you’re thinking….duh…no! No way am I going to just give away something so valuable. Why would I do that? That would be crazy!

Of course, you’d be right and I’m not asking for an avalanche of free gadgets to arrive in the post. Is all I can do to keep track of mine anyway …phones seem so complicated these days. I miss my little flip phone, the size of a pebble. Life was much simpler then and people survived happily, without feeling the need to post pictures of their breakfast. (I think if you’re a breakfast-poster then it’s time to get a hobby).

We value things and objects and yet do we always value ourselves? I’m often asked if I can ‘do a bit of coaching for free’ and people can be surprised when I say no, it’s how I pay the bills and feed the children. If we wouldn’t walk into a café and help ourselves to free food when we are hungry, why should we expect someone to share their hard won skills for free?

In business it’s important that we value ourselves, our skills and our time. Given that people are happy to pay for a CostaBucksMcStar coffee then it seems fair to me that the same people can pay for our time. We don’t have to overcharge them, we can be reasonable about it, and yet the principle stands.

If we value ourselves then those around us will value what we do. If we recognise that we have saleable skills and talents then we can find a price that works for us and our customers.

If we want to work for free, then we can wonder if we are being taken advantage of. Or we can set up a café ‘selling’ free food and drink and see how long we last. Two days? A week at maximum, maybe?

So, the next time someone asks us ‘if we could just…’ then we can take a moment to think about how much we are worth. We can also think about how else we could use our time, our pseronsal opportunity cost. I read my books for free all the time…seems better than working for free!

And of course I’m not talking about charity work here, that’s a whole different thing. I’m talking about the world of business, where ‘free’ can hide a lack of self worth.

Have fun being valuable! What’s your hourly rate?

Next week: Risky Business!


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact