How to get friends to start paying for your services
“Wow! You do an amazing job! I didn’t know you’d gotten this good o!” Their appraisals ring very loud. “When did you get this good?” And you simply beam in response.
“I pray you get lots of job offers; more money in your account, boss!” They conclude, while you laugh and answer “Amen o!”
Then some weeks later, your phone beeps with a message from them and they’re asking for your help in creating a graphic design (or whatever service it is, you offer) for their business. And the cycle starts. The problem is not in them asking for favours. Really, when you first started honoring their requests, it wasn’t even a problem. But long months have passed since your amateur start-up days, and you’ve recently been getting paying jobs that demand serious time. And there they are, asking that you use that time instead to do freebies. You are not angry at them but honestly, you’d feel nice if they started paying for your services. You equally know that they themselves can’t deny it’s very much worth paying for.
But the problem is that you don’t know how to broach the topic. You fear you might get them riled up and a major altercation would arise from that. But you need not fear for that, at least, not when you handle the matter wisely.
So, how do you do that?
1. Drop cues.
Start small and deliberately optimize every opening to let them know how much you’d appreciate it if they started to pay something. Intentionally get it into conversations. Mention it casually whenever the topic of discussion, or banter, flows to that direction. Be tactful about this. At first, you may not want to be so direct.
2. Show the new demands on your time.
Mention how busy you’ve become since people started patronizing your service. You can share stories of the long hours with them when they ask how your day went, and so. But don’t make your case pitiable nor become a kill-joy—don’t overdo this. This would certainly make them have a rethink when they decide to bother you with freebies.
3. Offer to pay for their services.
If they sell products or offer services that you use, offer to pay for those from now on. You can’t really be expecting them to pay for your services when you binge on theirs at no cost. They might want to insist that you shouldn’t bother, but do… pay for it. Subtly, that simple act begins to seep into their subconscious. If they’ve never thought about paying you before, they’d begin to do so. It doesn’t take a degree in human psychology to get this one. But if you have that degree, you’d probably know more ways to activate that side of them.
4. Let them see the efforts you make in getting better at your craft.
Take that online, or offline, paid class and let them know about it. Buy that equipment, purchase that software, and let them know. It’d help them appreciate the fact that you’ve been making financial investments in your craft. When you suggest that they pay the next time, their minds will put up a mental image of what it costs you to get this good.
5. Put value on your craft.
Respect what you do; treasure it; place your skills on a high pedestal. If you keep trivializing what you do, before long, they’d join you in talking it down. If you say, “it’s not a big deal…it’s nothing amazing,” after producing that fantastic piece, how would you honestly expect them to offer to pay you to do same?
6. Have that talk.
They’re your friends, so, talk to them. If after showing these sublime signs and messages and they still refuse to take the cue, talk. If they decide to be daft, don’t be mute. You know their personalities so you know how best to get started on the conversation. Let them understand that you have bills to pay, and your business is not a charity foundation. Calmly let them understand that one way to show that they truly value your work, and genuinely support you, is to make financial commitments.
Of late, friends have been asking me to help them do certain things, and then offering to pay. The other day, an editor-friend needed me to edit a two-page story for her, so that she could see how I did my work—she’s sort of new at the craft. While I found time to do so, she asked that I tell her my charge for the work, but pleaded that I go easy on her. I smiled and didn’t ask her to pay. It was a freewill offering. Also, I considered the fact that I hadn’t done any freebies for her before. The next week, another friend saw a graphic art I designed and asked if I could be doing same thing for his brand. And I answered, “of course!” He replied afterwards, and asked me what it’d cost him. I smiled and we discussed that.
Some months ago, the story would have been a different one. They would have asked for those services and pin it down to me, helping them. (Who says you can’t get them to pay for those?) “What changed?” You may wonder. Simple trick: I began to take my brand serious. I started to put value to what I did. I began to show that I deeply treasured it. In other words, I obeyed all the principles I shared with you.
Honestly, it doesn’t have to be that hard. You don’t have to lose your friends either. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you become so money-driven that you can’t render unpaid help. It’s all about creating a healthy, and beneficial, balance.
You deserve to be paid for that beautiful work of yours! Those long hours you put into creating that masterpiece, deserves to be rewarded. Try these and share your results with us.