Such interesting questions come up in my Business Power Hour group!
Yesterday, an Interior Designer asked about working for free- specifically when to stop!
Many people starting out will, of course, offer their services for free (or very cheap) just to get the ball rolling.
For some it can be difficult to stop that pattern. It may be uncomfortable to start charging, and many people are left feeling resentful and taken advantage of.
It was such a great question, and I got so excited to answer that I barely let her get the question out before I replied,
"NEVER. Never stop working for free!"
Some of the people were shocked! What kind of terrible advice is that?
And then I said, "I'm working for free right now!"
(I couldn't help but think it was funny that the question came up in my free group coaching session!)
And as I write this I'm thinking.... "Actually, I'm also working for free now, writing this blog!"
Of course, the key is coming up with a free offer that converts into clients.
When I started Business Power Hour, I didn't know what was going to happen. No one could show up. It could be awkward. It could get me no clients in the end and be a waste of time.
But then I also had a vision that it could grow into a big thing, where 30, 100, or 300 people show up each time, and it's a huge opportunity to show the best of what I do to a lot of people.
In the future, it will look like this. And those 300 people will leave signing up for various programs I have yet to create, and online courses I have yet to create and so on.
But for now, Power Hours are proving to work as they are.
Here are the stats:
About 8 people show up each week. I put in about 90 minutes of work, between setting up the chairs and leading the one hour discussion.
I get 3 Discovery Calls on average as a direct result. And I convert 2 out of every 5 to my 3 month coaching package.
It also leads to referrals. People who attend tell other about it, and then more people come (or just go straight to the Discovery Call).
It expands my credibility and my audience in leaps and bounds. And I learn more and more about my ideal clients so I can attract and serve them better and better each week.
It grows and develops my skills as a coach.
I consider this an excellent use of my time, expertise and energy.
And I never feel like I'm "giving away too much" because I know I'd be able to coach someone over the next several years of their business growth and still there would be more to coach them through!
I've developed a free system that WORKS!
And this is just one of many examples of freebies in my businesses.
Here are two more!
In my daycare business in the early years, it was challenging to build a waitlist because we were new, so I decided we should host a Sunday Drop-In in February.
We knew parents of babies and toddlers climb the walls in February! And most other programs at rec centres and so on are closed.
So my business partner and I showed up, prepared some snacks and hosted people who came in.
(Here's the graphic we shared on social media.)
This became an annual tradition, and has been an incredible way of advertising ourselves. We promoted it through posters in the neighbourhood, a sign in our window and through Facebook neighbourhood and parent groups.
Another freebie is our annual Great Wardrobe Makeover Giveaway at Fresh Collective (which is on now).
We do an in-depth Style Consultation for women that shows them the best of what we do and gets them into our changeroom.
There's no obligation to buy anything. It's truly an educational service for them, and they can take what they learned and leave - no strings attached.
BUT, they usually do buy. Stats show it's an average sale of $450 and 9 out of 10 buy at least something.
In fact, we often convert new raving fans who come back and back because we've had a chance to show the best of what we do.
Who the heck am I?
I'm Laura-Jean Bernhardson!
I'm an entrepreneur and Business Coach based out of Toronto. I work with clients all over North America helping them create the business (and therefore the life) of their dreams.
I'm the owner of Fresh Collective with 3 locations in Toronto and an online store, and the co-owner of Rowanwood Daycare. I also have a clothing line and a jewellery line that we sell at Fresh Collective.
I've been an entrepreneur since 1992!
My first business was a (failed) comic book library I ran with my friend out of a neighbour's shed in Saskatoon in 1978. Since then I've learned a bit about business! lol
My mission is that every entrepreneur with a sensitive soul finds support in creating the business of their dreams.
I also LOVE dogs.
Here's Stuie (1 of our 3) with my son Dexter! We call him Baby Stu because he's such a baby. Baby Stu comes to work with me at Fresh Collective in the Beaches on Mondays and Tuesdays.