What do you feel when you find out you can get something for free?
Do the endorphins start dancing a little jig in your brain?
We get conditioned by all the marketing and pitches for free things that we gravitate towards it, but be clear:
Free implies no value UNLESS there is a fair exchange involved.
The first half of that sentence is illogical; I mean if it's free then you're getting something you didn't have before so there MUST be value right?
But, why would you give something of value away for free? You wouldn't, neither would I, and neither would anybody else.
Everything requires an equal exchange for both parties to feel satisfied (even the one getting the free thing). In the instance of a free download for an email address, or a free trial in exchange for feedback or in the hopes of persuading someone to become a customer, fair trade has occurred.
If you believe giving products or services away will endear the recipients to you or your business, it's not going to work. The people receiving the free thing have vested nothing in the relationship, which means you have devalued your business in their eyes.
On the other side of the coin, if you are not willing to pay for a product or service because you believe you can accumulate the expertise and knowledge on your own that's also not going to work, and I see it all too often. I'm amazed at the lack of insight people seem to have when it comes to investing in their business.
There is a cost of doing business, and inherently you should expect to pay for what you don't already know. If you're only willing to take from others in the form of time, information, etc. you are not only devaluing them you're devaluing YOU.
You can read all the blog posts and ask all the questions you want but that's not going to replace years of study, degrees, certifications, and experience that experts possess.
There may be people out there that have zero knowledge that are trying to sell to others, but they are few and far between.
To avoid being taken by a scam follow someone for a while before you decide to invest with them. If you're receiving value from what they share over time, you can feel confident that they are reputable. If what they write or say inspires or educates you that's real, and they passed the litmus test.
"Free" carries no risk for the person receiving it, and it requires no effort on their part, but does that make it valuable?
Our brains are wired to want to grab at FREE whether we have a need for it or not. Because people take you up on your free offer doesn't make them potential customers for your paid offer.
There's a huge difference between free information and an education - don't confuse the two. Pay for the services of those who can teach you what you need to know, or for those who can perform the tasks you don't know how to perform. Don't fool yourself into thinking reading some blog posts, or consuming free training resources is going to give you the education you need.
Typically, free training resources provide 10% of what you need to know to succeed; you have to pay for the other 90%.
Let's also not forget that you will pay whether you pull out your wallet or not. Payment will come in the form of time spent (wasted?) and mistakes made. Experience is a great teacher, but do you want to gamble with your business' success to learn the lesson that paying for something up front would have saved you?
Bottom line: You get what you pay for.