As an entrepreneur, small business owner and savvy individual, do you find that people in your inner circle think it’s okay to utilize your talent and expertise without ever offering compensation for your services? How can a business run solely on a payroll of favors and promise?
A few years ago, I decided that I was no longer going to give away my M&Ms (mind and muscle) for free because that would devalue my brand as a PR expert, drain me as an entrepreneur and make me bankrupt. I calculated the hours spent on coaching the clients, researching their brand, analyzing their competition and providing a 99 percent success rate, taking their brand from virtual obscurity to notoriety.
End result: I was losing money while some other less talented company was getting paid for services.
Lesson learned: People find the money/resources for what they want to pay for. Get your business in the game and stop giving away your M&Ms.
The first step in taking back your M&Ms is to understand and master the concept of the word “no” and how to use it. Not only is the word “no” a complete sentence, it empowers the individual using the word. Secondly, start cleaning house, put everyone on notice and let them know that you will no longer be in the business of offering freebies to vampires sucking you dry and not paying you the market value for your services. Thirdly, individuals can be crafty. Be mindful of one-way bartering, quickie partnerships and deferred compensation. Most importantly, if people say they would like to work with you, but want to try out the partnership first, proceed with extreme caution.
Here is what you can do to stop giving away your M&Ms and win:
1) Be the boss. Make a rule that you will allocate two freebies a year to an organization, friend, charity.
2) Follow the paper trail. If you are donating your services, get it in writing on the company’s letterhead and provide the letter to the IRS.
3) Stop playing house. “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” also applies to businesses. If you don’t value your M&Ms and make it known, no one else will, which damages your brand reputation.
5) Create new rules. You are playing to win; this is no longer a hobby. Accept and believe in your talent.
6) Courage. It takes tenacity and moxie to become an entrepreneur. You have a brand that’s worth fighting for.
Karen Taylor Bass’ #RESET: Never under-value your intellectual property. Know and believe that you are talented, authentic, and smart while deserving to be compensated for your muscle and mind.
Karen Taylor Bass, The PR Expert and Brand Mom, provides entrepreneurs, corporations and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing and public relations coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom. And join Karen for “Creating Your Ultimate Brand You: Everything You Need To Win Online & Offline” on Wednesday December 3. Details here.