So far this year, two blog posts have really inspired me and the way I think about business.
The first was Elizabeth Potts Weinstein's manifesto, "I'm Not Sorry About Selling," which contains my favorite words in the history of entrepreneurship: Dude. This is not a freaking non-profit.
The second was Nicole Jordan's brilliant "No. You Can't Pick My Brain," a phrase that me and my entrepreneurial friends invoke on an almost daily basis.
I think both women hit one of the issues that inhibits both the growth of our businesses as well as those of our fellow entrepenereurs: we give things away. All. The. Time.
A huge chunk of time here, a string of free tips there, until we have nothing of value left to share or sell. And it's bad enough that we're undervaluing our own worth, but we're also undercutting the value of others' products and services, because all of this "free advice" floating around out there creates the expectation that you can get anything and everything for free. Which means no one gets paid.
If you know anything about me, you know that I have a huge heart. Probably too big. I'm the first one to offer advice, a connection, an introduction--for childhood friends and new acquaintances alike. I truly believe in the power of the loconomy, of relationships, of partnership and collaboration.
But there's a difference between a free food sample from your favorite restaurant at a local festival and sitting at the chef's table at that same restaurant for a six-course meal with wine pairings.
Nibbling is great. Nibbles turn into bites which turn into meals.
But you can't build a business on nibbles, and every time you give away a meal disguised as a sample, you might as well tack that "closed" sign on your door right now--and to that of every business around you.
We need each other, and we need to start valuing and supporting each others' work. And sometimes, that means opening up your wallet and shelling out some cash.