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Ending pro-bono… it’s no bueno

In the past eight years, I’ve passionately worked with individuals, teams, and groups to equip them with the right tools and mindset to become high-performing leaders. And I never charged a penny for the time I invested or the resources I shared. I was funding my business with work from small to medium-sized organizations, which wasn’t much to speak of, but a humbling experience.

Striking out on your own isn’t for everyone, and I’ve learned some of the greatest entrepreneurial lessons the hard way. But like my friend says, “nothing in life goes to waste,” I’ve made the most of the experiences I’ve had.

This past year I continued to experiment with a couple of new formats (mastermind groups being one of them), and the response has been pretty tepid, if not better. Yes, I’veI’ve had a whole lot of sign-ups but not a lot of show-ups. Given that almost everyone on the planet is “zoomed” out of their minds, that is okay.

One of the most profound realizations this year was that people don’t respect free as much as they appreciate a price tag for the same results. And I so needed to learn this lesson! All these years, I was under the impression that people value content, effort, and the passion with which I deliver great content. But I was wrong. I think the only thing that matters is creating desirable outcomes, something I’m very good at.

And if I, the entrepreneur, can deliver the desirable outcomes, I’mI’m better off charging people for the value I’mI’m providing than not. I’ve learned that having some skin in the game is critically important for a successful program. It can boost engagement levels through the roof! Contrast that to the disappointment I’ve experienced to see participants show up to a world-class group coaching program without doing any of the “work” that is supposed to happen between the sessions.

Of course, there are genuine challenges, conflicting priorities, or life getting in the way of our plans. But would things be any different if you had invested your hard-earned money into this free coaching program? You bet!

This morning, I just decided to change a few things starting with ending pro-bono initiatives: coaching, consulting, or educational workshops. If people want free, they can check out this blog or listen to the podcast or my YouTube channel (the podcast, in the video). Expecting anything else is asking for my precious time for someone else’s selfish reasons!