Why do people expect me to work for free?

Hey, since when is that a problem?


Since your business has grown and you don’t have time to work for free anymore. That’s a good problem to have!

Yet for us business owners, it can be difficult to navigate the complicated waters of the expectations that come from friends and family.

We wish we can give our product or service away for free and just do all the “small quick favors” that they need done by tomorrow. Often the struggle of setting boundaries in this area is fraught with complexity.

However, today I would like to take a step back from the current problem that you might be facing. Let’s take a moment to see the big picture and appreciate what this issue really means.

Hello, if someone wants your work for free - it means that they actually like what you’re selling!

Let today be the day that we choose to celebrate that people appreciate what we have to offer.


Who were those first people who believed you?

The ones who asked you for help, because they saw something special inside.

It may have been a teacher in school who volunteered you for a project, it may have been some classmates that voted you in for a position. It might just be any opportunity that has only presented itself more recently.

I’m happy to be the first to share:

I would like to publicly thank my most wonderful friend who owns the first real business I ever got to work with. She is a talented hair and wig stylist with a fast growing business. She wanted a normal life and that’s where I came in...

She asked me to help her organize her business so that she can be more professional and also stay sane :) Our relationship wasn’t too official, yet she trusted my opinion and implemented my recommendations.

Preparing for this blog post, I starting searching through my old emails to find record of the above story. Reading our early business conversations, it became obvious to me how this experience developed my confidence and taught me about the tremendous value I had to offer.

Here was her response to one of my emails, word for word:

“Wow!!!! Sarah YOU ARE THE BEST!!! This is amazing and clear and precise. Put me on your recommendation list for being a business consultant!! Can't wait to sit down with you and my calendar to finish it all off!! What will I do without you!”

Looking back, it’s amazing for me to see how that first opportunity years ago actually snowballed into the business that I’m grateful to have today.

Show your gratitude and take a moment to thank that person who got you started!