Coaching Blog

Should Coaching Be Free?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Notice how certain memes seem to be on everyone's mind at the same time? Makes you wonder. I read the Wired article on Chris Anderson's book FREE! last night and in my inbox this morning was TrendWatch's Free Love article. None of the ideas in either article were really new to me, but they did spark several new inspirations, so that's pretty cool.

Learned a couple of new words: Freevertising and Freeconomics (not the book, the phenomenon)

Basic idea: Business is quickly moving toward $0.00 for everything. Great news for consumers, eh? So how do you make any money?

Answer: Get real creative. A lot of people who read this blog have already experienced the excitement, love and loyalty this type of business model creates, because they were members in an early FREE business venture, one that was a featured Purple Cow, back in the early 2000's. Remember Thomas Leonard's "free web-based coach training?" About 30,000 people signed up in two years and Thomas made 2 million dollars. Whoa. How does that work?? It was brilliant.

If you read the aforementioned articles, you'll find that most money is being made via advertising. Think: Google. That's not how Thomas did it, exactly.

However, the concept is the same. In today's market, you don't prosper just by getting people's money. The competition is too stiff. It takes more: Prosper by getting people's attention and by creating value for them. A lot of it. Today everyone seems to do that by making stuff free.

Chris Anderson makes the point that there is a huge psychological difference between cheap and free. Especially now that stuff from China, service from India and virtually anything on the web is so cheap you can hardly believe it. 

If you want to make a statement, make it FREE.

This does beg the question: How can you possibly stand out if everything is free? (Much less make any money?) That's where your creativity comes in.

You might be relieved to know that I actually don't think coaching should be free. Not most of the time, anyway. But "free" is a valuable tool, so don't throw it away.

The Trendwatch article pointed me toward Kevin Kelly's Technium Blog
about the stuff that shouldn't be free. That's where the money is. He had a list of 8 things and added a 9th: Trust. These are what people pay MORE for.

Here's the list:

1. Immediacy

2. Personalization

3. Interpretation

4. Authenticity

5. Accessibility

6. Embodiment

7. Patronage

8. Findability

How many of these features does your coaching have? How can you tweak it so it has all of them? That's right. You can charge MORE for all that.

Now how can you make stuff free for the sheer joy of it ~ and create raving fans for your business? 

You see? You really are brilliant!

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2008
All rights reserved.

Topics: Free, Kevin Kelly, Chris Anderson

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