03 AUGUST 2017
written by Mike
SHOULD YOU GIVE
A FREE ADVICE?
Before we try to answer that, let’s look at where we are now.
We are entering the biggest revolution humanity had since industrial time – age of information. Thanks to the internet, all knowledge is here, and it’s free. We can have any question answered instantly, without going to the library and this is just the beginning. And the changes are seen everywhere.
The end of “faceless” companies and organisation. Thanks to social media, customers can now have a direct connection with their favourite brands. Audio companies, podcasters, producers. They all have (or some of them at least) Facebook pages; Twitter feeds, Instagram accounts.
We can follow them, ask them questions, comment on their content. “Behind the wall” secrecy is gone, IP laws are still in play but they are antiquated, and soon we will need new ways of doing business. Protectionism won’t work, people need and want transparency. Especially from professionals who help with subjects such as business and entrepreneurship.
Look at Pat Flynn, it’s the community that drives his business. The stories, financial reports, encouragement. If that was hidden from a public eye, I doubt he would enjoy the success he has.
So what should you do?
Let’s have a look at some thought leaders of our time.
On the front, you have people like Gary Vaynerchuk who in his work “Thank you economy.” explains the principle of reciprocity. Give people until they want to give back, and they will, it’s human nature. We don’t like the feeling of debt.
An example could be my friends, a yoga teacher. I told her she should be selling yoga mats and other accessories after her classes. I would rather buy a yoga mat from her than from a random shop online. She is an excellent teacher, and I want to support her business because when you add value to people’s lives, they want to give back.
Kevin Kelly in his books “New Rules of the New Economy” and the latest “Inevitable” writes about the same issues, but from a technology point of view. Everything will become cheaper, instantaneous and abundant. Attention becomes the currency of the future and to get the attention you need to offer value. Free advice, tips, and content that helps people, without any hidden agenda (we are savvy enough to see through it). As the information will surround us the answer to your business will be in providing the best experience – human experience.
So again, what should you do?
Go outside and start training people for free?
Well, not quite.
In his book, “Free” Chris Anderson gives many different business models based on advising for free. You could give an “evergreen” advice through videos, blog, and posts but charge for a personalised plan and “premium” content. Skype calls check-ups, weekly meeting. That could be built into a subscription model your business is based on. Online lectures could be free, with video recordings available for everyone.
Maybe more insightful content, books and special events could be a premium that you charge for?
Every business is different; every customer is different. By looking where social media and the internet is going, we know one thing. Content is a gateway to your business. Building an audience and loyal customer base takes time and effort, asking for money upfront won’t work in the future, you need to offer something first.
Your neighbour is not the only competition you are facing now; it’s the whole world.
So better start now.
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