Everyone likes free stuff, right?
If you’ve been subscribed to this blog, you know that I love to give away free resources whenever I can.
For instance, while some blogs are now charging their subscribers to read their content, my 600+ blog posts are all free of charge.
In addition, my podcast of 75+ episodes is free.
I recently gave away 25 free eBooks to those who purchased a copy of God’s Favorite Place on Earth during release week.
Beyond that, I’ve given away several eBooks, hundreds of copies of all of my print books, and a free copy of From Eternity to Here for two weeks.
I say all that to make one simple point. It’s a discovery I’ve made from all of the above.
To the minds of most people, if something is free, it’s not really valuable.
Here are some examples of how I’ve come to this conclusion:
* Every eBook that I’ve given away for free has gotten less downloads than eBooks that had a small fee.
* My most widely read and distributed books were not free.
* In about 95% of the cases where I’ve given away my books to people (which comes to thousands of copies over the years), the person receiving the free book never read it.
* Even though I’ve given away 20% of my life’s work (the God’s Favorite Place on Earth Sampler), I can count on one hand the number of people who have shared the Sampler with their friends via blogs and Facebook. (If you think the Sampler may not be that valuable, read it yourself. Almost a dozen grown men said they cried reading it.)
* And then there is the witness of others. I’ll just give one example among many. I have a friend who has a consulting business. He used to charge $25,000 to consult an organization. After he spent time with a well-known businessman, the businessman told my friend, “you’re losing business because you’re not charging enough.” As counter-intuitive as it sounds, my friend raised his consulting fee to $100,000 and his business skyrocketed. He suddenly had more clients than he could handle.
These are all examples of a principle that I don’t particularly like.
That principle seems to be: If someone gives something away for free, there’s a subtle, unspoken message that’s communicated which says, “Because this is free, it’s not valuable. Don’t cherish it. Take it for granted.”
This is the world we live in, unfortunately.
That said, there’s no need to take out your heart medicine: I have no plans of charging for this blog or for my podcast. But I wanted to make an observation about this subject and get your thoughts on it.
If you are someone who creates art (whether music, writing, speaking, etc.), have you noticed that giving away your art for free often devalues it?
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