The importance of sacrifice is often overlooked. In an era of free trials, ebooks and pretty much whatever you want in exchange for your email or phone number, it’s easy to think that you really can get something for nothing — In spite of the old saying.
But is this really true?
While sacrifice-free offerings might be fantastic for getting newsletter subscribers and fans online, they don’t carve you the optimal route to making people give a shit about what you’re doing. Without knowing who has skin in the game, you’ll continuously be second-guessing not only the value of your audience but your own value too. You’ll be unable to make a living for yourself. You’ll be too busy worrying about what your legions of un-paying customers think, instead of cultivating an audience that values your offering and can pay your bills.
Putting skin the game shows commitment, and an unspoken promise to tie your wagon to someone and to trust them. It’s why designers ask for deposits before they start a project. And why courses that deliver high-value, exclusive content aren’t free or commonly distributed.
The value of the customers gained from free content can be low, their attention is fleeting, and they don’t care. They got something for nothing and, as a result, don’t value it at all. On the other hand, those who put down their cash and capital show that commitment you’re looking for are likely to see things through and open themselves up to your trust. It’s all about allocation of resources. In short, when someone spends money, they’re more likely to commit their time and attention. Use this to your advantage when framing things for your audience.
While “free” might get always get the most people, it won’t get the best people.
Stop undervaluing your craft and experience without having a plan.
By having an element of expenditure in your product from the start, it sets a precedent early that a monetary value can be tied to what you’re offering. It builds comfort in the idea of capital being involved and reminds the audience that cash is a player in the game.
Think about entry-level offerings you could offer to your audience or clients as they’re moving into your ecosystem. A paid book, a course, maybe even a consulting call. Anything that provides value and as a result, you can charge for. Work these small offerings into the journey of your leads to introduce expenditure and segment out and highlight those people who are genuinely committed to what you are doing. Your champions.