Updated: Jul 1, 2019
Our lives are too busy. We run from one appointment to the next. We juggle work, home, family and societal obligations and are constantly on the verge of burning out. We are always chasing, working, running, paying and barely allow ourselves a moment to catch our breath. Throw running your own business into the equation and every last second of every day is now well and properly consumed and taken up, as normal office hours definitely don't apply.
We all have different reasons for doing what we do, for choosing a specific career or for starting our own businesses or for remaining in a job that does not fulfil us. Nothing is free. In fact, the world is getting more demanding and more expensive everyday. We can't afford to slow down and relax because someone faster, better, cleverer, and more desperate than you is waiting just around the corner ready to replace you.
It is very easy to be exploited when you are trying to create something - to build something and are desperate to get your name and brand "out there". Most often, the folks who are more than able to pay for your services or product, even tend to try and haggle over your price or trick you into working for free in return for "exposure", "marketing" or the possibility of "networking" with like-minded individuals and creators. I find this extremely patronising and exploitative and encourage every small business owner and artisan to stand their ground and say "thank you - but no thank you". You are perfectly capable of personally reaching out to others and building your brand and to mingle with like-minded individuals. You are stronger than you allow yourself to be.
It certainly cost you something to get to where you are today; to know what you know; to do what you do and to be who you are. Every journey takes its toll and you did not reach this point without investing time, money, blood, sweat and tears into the laying of the foundations of your business. You have poured every ounce of your energy, love and creativity into your brand and by lowering your prices or working for free, you are only damaging your confidence and your business. There is something remarkably empowering in learning to say "no".
So next time someone tries to trick you into doing something for free remember to say "nothing for mahala" and continue to go about your business the way you already are.