Imagine this… you open your inbox and find a wonderful email saying that your favorite mentor is giving you a challenge or short course that will solve one of your biggest struggles, and it’s free!
Yes and no. As a wellness professional, I admit, I do it too. It’s a great opportunity for all parties involved. You get a taste of what I have to offer and solve something you’ve been struggling with. I get to help you and hopefully you’ll want to continue working with me, either in other areas or to enhance your results.
So What’s the Problem?
I learned early on in my career that when I give away my services for free, I’m actually doing my client and myself a disservice.
I was newly certified and still in school and I wanted to help everyone. I basically gave away personal training, charging $10 a session in most cases, and donating services where I could. This broke down to about $3 an hour when factoring the time to create each session plan and coaching, not including my own training and college.
It was the deal of a lifetime!
Except it wasn’t.
My calendar filled up, but many of my clients habitually cancelled sessions and weren’t consistent. Why? Because it’s easy to give up $10 when you aren’t feeling super motivated or something else comes up. (and full disclosure, in the beginning, I had zero boundaries around my cancellation policy so they didn’t lose anything at all)
Keep in mind, this was personal training and most of my clients didn’t enjoy exercising until they got a few minutes into the session. If they weren’t feeling it that day, they backed out. They didn’t think they were losing anything.
Except they were…
They were losing the results they were working for. And I was right there co-signing their rationale for putting it off. After I while I realized what was happening. Once the excitement of starting on their goal wore off, a lot of my clients had zero motivation to keep at it when it was no longer new and exciting.
Change is uncomfortable and it’s part of human nature to shy away from things that are uncomfortable. I quickly realized something had to change.
I began honoring my cancellation policy and started charging what my services were actually worth. All of a sudden everything changed.
The results my clients were seeing drastically increased. They had “skin in the game” now and they were showing up and using the services they paid for. They were committed and consistent.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was also leading by example – I had always led by example in the fitness sense, but not in mindset. By increasing my prices and taking my cancellation policy seriously I was showing them self-respect and boundaries.
Over the years I’ve added to my professional toolbox, expanded my expertise to include other vital areas of wellness (but that’s a whole other story in itself!), and moved my services almost completely online. And I’ve faced some very similar challenges.
When I first went online, I’d offer courses for free in exchange for reviews and testimonials specific to that course. I mean that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, right?
While I’d get some participants who’d complete the course and get amazing results, many of them would never even start the course. It took a couple runs to realize that the exact same thing was happening, just in a different arena.
It’s just how humans are wired.
Most of the people I work with are really busy and when they have no personal investment, it’s second nature to push the course to the backburner. And that’s why my work includes staying accountable and on track after the excitement has waned. Starting something new past submitting a form or sending an email takes commitment and motivation.
When I give it away for free or even too little, there isn’t anything to get over that initial hump of actually beginning. and I’ve ran countless free challenges.
motivation to start
Let’s face it, money is a great motivator for most people. If I pay for a service, you better believe I’m way more likely to not only utilize it, but utilize as much of it as I can. Can you relate?
Paying for a service enforces accountability. Most people don’t like to waste money.
I’d much rather have a smaller number of clients all smash through their goals than having a revolving door of new clients who all get the tools but never start to use them, thus never hitting their goals.
Keeping people motivated and accountable starting and throughout their journey is a big part of what I do. There’s nothing I want more than for my clients to not only get the result they want, but to surpass them.
I’ve ran countless free challenges over the years and the people who do them usually get amazing results. Not the people who sign up, but the ones that do them.
So I started brainstorming on how my challenges could be even more effective. How I could do more to ensure that on day 1 the participants were just as (if not more) motivated and inspired to take action as they were when they first signed up.
I played around with some ideas, and again found that the biggest influencer in the success rate was… you guessed it… financial investment. I found that even charging a small fee to join the challenge more than tripled the number of people who got results.
Logically it makes sense, but I still find it pretty mind-blowing.
Free Isn’t Better
It’s taken a huge mindset shift on my part to really let this sink in, but results don’t lie. In theory a free course or challenge sounds awesome, but it’s only awesome for the small percentage of participants who get past day 1.
For the majority, it leads to counterintuitively reinforcing feelings of failure, shame, and the false belief they can’t achieve the results. Literally, the exact opposite of what we’re going for.
Think about it, if you pay $20 for something you seriously want for yourself, you’ll be much more likely to follow through even when you’ve got other stuff on your plate if you’ll get your money back at the end.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Over the next few months, I’m going to be doing more to ensure your success and if you’re constantly running on empty, filling everyone’s cup but your own, or just need help taking a little extra time for yourself, I’m running a really cool 14 Day Self-Love Challenge.
In the challenge, you not only get your $10 investment back for completing it, but you also have to opportunity to win money! Click “Learn More” below to find out more about the 14 Day Self-Love Challenge.
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