Because I’m Not Worth It

As you can imagine I get lots of requests for help from entrepreneurs, many of whom are in dire financial straights and need urgent assistance to get their business back on track.

But the one thing these cash strapped ‘wantrepreneurs’ all seem to have in common is that  THEY DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR HELP.

Logical, you may say!  If they are cash strapped how can they afford it?

But let’s look a little closer at the relationship between not having any cash and always wanting to get things for free…

I’ve been mentoring for five years now (as well as speaking for Business Link events and at various government funded events) and it never ceases to amaze me how little people value advice or assistance which is dished out for free.  ‘Fully booked’ events frequently result in half full audiences and free advice is rarely followed.

I am sure you know that I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs at whatever level – so have developed a range of services where I help businesses, from a £10k consultancy at one end of the spectrum to a £1 trial mentoring at the other.

But I can tell you that the conversion rate from emails asking for my help for free to a payment of £1 to obtain the said help is negligible.

In other words, people want my assistance – but they don’t respect me enough to pay £1 for it!

But something deeper is happening here – and a recent experience at one of my workshops brought it home to me.

A friend of mine is a Transformational Coach and at a time in my life recently when I needed some help I booked a session with her and took along a bundle of crisp £50 notes in payment.

The same coach booked on one of my recent workshops, and brought along an envelope containing an almost identical amount of £50 notes.

So the transaction was actually money neutral – we’d both in reality given the service for free.


And by doing so had actually (energetically) said ‘I AM PAYING YOU THIS BECAUSE I AM WORTH IT’.

So, next time you try to leverage a freebie, with the same old excuse that you ‘can’t afford it’, consider that putting money energy behind your committment is one of the keys to unlocking your own flow of wealth.

If you don’t respect others’ value enough to pay, why should anyone respect yours?

Even if it is only £1.



12 thoughts on “Because I’m Not Worth It

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I haven’t experienced success to the level you have, but have done so on a moderate level with an online accommodation business.

    The result of this is that I am constantly pitched web business ideas which go something along the lines of “I have this great idea, how about you do all the programming, business development and marketing and for that I will give you 50%”.

    What you’ve articulated in your blog post really sums up how I feel – it is this attitude people have coming in which shows a complete lack of respect for the other side.

    Your 1 pound concept really highlights the filter effect on people; which is why I’m really not a fan of online businesses who say “We’ll let everyone have it for free and then find a way to monetise later”.

    It is great to hear that someone else can relate to the frustration I feel when I am constantly solicited with these kind of requests! Thanks for the blog post.


  2. Hi Chris

    Yes I gave up helping businesses on a ‘jam tomorrow’ basis a long time ago because one way or another the jam never materialised…

    The one exception to the above is when I agree to undertake an assignment on a purely philanthropic basis. I am doing it for free to help a friend or a cause I believe in, and I don’t expect to be paid.

    On almost every occasion, an opportunity or client materialises worth far more than I would have received had I insisted on being paid.


  3. I totally agree. When you pay for something you feel like you value it more. For example an expensive item of clothing is treated with more respect and gets good treatment. A cheap item gets thrown to the bottom of a cupboard. I also think that people want advice free because why not. Someone in business told me that you could agree to do several free ‘pieces’ of work a month. I have taken this on board and have advised others to do the same. It works. I am just careful who gets the freebie.

  4. It needed to be said, Rachel.

    Poor isn’t in the pocket; … It’s in the mind.

    A few years ago; I wandered into a realtor’s office and started chatting with the broker and quickly determined that this was whom I’d been looking for.

    A $100 bill along with a request to take the phone off the hook and let me know when it ran out got his attention. … I learned this strategy from a wealthy scrap dealer.

    Lunch time was looming & I invited him to join me but we settled for drinking his coffee and eating our sandwiches in the back room.

    After lunch; He took me on a tour, complete with executive coaching and I found an answer that I’d been seeking for decades and profited from it handsomely over the years.

    A $100 bill on the counter creates more buzz than any advertizing can. … Chintzy gets chintzy.

    We never did any direct business but a few referrals did scoot back and forth.

    He didn’t take the 100.

  5. Hi Rachel, I totally agree with you and the others.

    I blog about internet marketing and sell both affiliate products and services, and own branded ones.

    One of the things I do is give away a little e-book which can be worth thousands to anyone who wants to follow the simple instructions. In fact it’s the method I’m using right now to build a small business into something substantial.
    There is a “cost of entry”, of course, and that is an email address from everyone who downloads it, but just as you experienced with your £1 mentoring trial offer, I suspect only a tiny percentage even open the book and many download it then delete their names from my list.

    I’m guessing their mindset and belief system leads them to think that free can never be free so they’d better unsub “just in case” – or maybe it’s just a “grab it and run” greedy mindset, who knows? But in actual fact they tag along, still reading the blog, and see that I’m genuine then somewhere along the way we somehow build up a trust and rapport that leads to them recommending my products to their friends!

    I had considered charging a token sum for the e-book but on balance I’m leaving it as it is, because it spreads the word and I can remember the day when even finding a pound would have been a struggle for me, as embarrassing as that is to admit today. If I can help even one person who is in that situation but determined to get out of it then I’m extremely happy.

    On balance, though, if I was relaying my skills and expending my energy and time as you do on your coaching trial then I’d want to see some commitment from them in return from the massive value they’ll no doubt get from you. If you were to provide this for free you’d never find time to do your other work, a quid is a bargain!


  6. Hi Rachel, the problem relates to peoples confidence in the concept of handing over money before value is shared. It is not a reflection on you.

    Kind Regards


  7. Er Stephen

    The emails come in, they ask for my help.

    Presumably because they think I can give it (having seen me on Dragons Den or perhaps heard about my mentoring)

    I say yes, I CAN help you, just one little thing: it costs £1.

    But they don’t want to pay!

    I don’t expect to go to Tesco and ask to taste the food before I get to the checkout.

    Why should services be any different?


  8. If you purchase a banana the return is tangible, nourishing and mildly satisfying. If you select a healthy looking banana it will return the same advantages to you everytime so you don’t mind paying for it up front.

    Unlike bananas, the advantages of doing business with service providers varies. The taste is not always the same, not always nourising and can return far from the truth.

    It is a sign of our times that people want to try it before buying it.

  9. Rachel Elnaugh – The Fifth Element

    I read a great leaders poem with tears in my eyes
    It told of great sadness
    It told of abuse, injustice and all we despise

    As the story unfolded the mother figure did rise
    To put in perspective a world full of lies

    Material wealth exposed for what it is
    An illusory place, which doesn’t exist
    No real power outside infinite grace
    To say something other is a foolish embrace

    So, the mother figure did rise
    and soften our eyes
    She talked of great love
    that dove from above

    And into a leaders arms
    Did the children of the world fall
    Now with strength
    Now with direction
    Now with faith

    For the good of us all

  10. Rachel I completely agree with you. People want everything for nothing and people are reluctant to sacrifice anything from their daily mundane life that might help them in the future. Ie… to sacrifice a night out to fund something business related – hence why they’ll never be entrepreneurial. It’s insulting to you for them to question costs, especially when in my opinion they are low, and your cost I think is reasonable and generous. If they value your advice enough to ask you, then they should be willing to pay for it. Why should you use your business time to help a random stranger for free? You shouldn’t. And if they don’t like your advice they don’t have to ask again do they?

    I understand what Stephen is saying, but like you say you make it affordable. If they can’t even pay £1 to sign up, why should you give anything? As you mentioned the fact they’ve asked you in the first place is because they obviously value your advice and opinion or else they wouldn’t ask.

    It reminds me of the emails I get from girls wanting me to give them advice on becoming an escort (I worked for 9 years as an independent high class escort). I wrote a book that was published last year (an autobiography) and in there is lots of information about the job – how I went about becoming an escort, the sites I joined and what my jobs entailed and there’s a whole section helping advise girls wanting to go into the business. Now these girls email me and ask me for advice but they won’t even go and buy my book for a tenner! I wrote a similar blog post :)

    I won’t give advice to anyone who hasn’t helped by buying my book. Why should I help people who aren’t willing to help me? I think it’s rude and cheeky for them to ask. I am self employed (still writing and now doing property buy to lets) and my time is money, so like you I am willing to help, but it needs to be a two way street. People’s time is precious, and the people I don’t mind helping are those that respect and appreciate that.

  11. As part of my business, I train therapists. Again and again, I see perfectly intelligent, capable people failing in business because they can’t get their head around the fact they need to charge money.
    If you put no value on your time or your products, how could you possibly expect someone else to value it.

  12. Hey Rachel, the article was on point, anyone willing to get something of value must let go of something valuable to him/her, i’m African and i loved you on the Dragon’s den, you were my favourite along with Peter Jones, I would love to know your take on the future of the online marketing business, is it sustainable and is it worth going in full time on? I’ll appreciate your reply thanks

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