Home Forums Starting your journey Offering services for free to build experience/reputation?

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  • #1000479
    Miss Q
    Member
    • Total posts: 3

    I would be very interested to hear the opinions and experiences of people here regarding offering your services for free in the initial stages of establishing your own business.

    I am not in the workforce at the moment, and am considering starting my own business. The business would be offering a service, predominantly to businesses, but could also suit individuals as well.

    The service requires skills that I have used during previous employment, but that was never the main focus of any of my previous positions. So, basically, I have the skills, but don’t really have the employment history to prove it.

    I have read about the pros and cons of offering your services for free, but I’m not sure whether it is the right option for me. I was thinking that I might target some charities, not-for-profits, or other local businesses, and offer my services for free for a period of time, in order to build up some real world experience and a reputation.

    I am currently in a position where I don’t have to rely on getting an income (my husband is working full time, and I’m still looking after preschool aged children at home for another few years). So I thought perhaps I could use this time at home to do some volunteer work to help establish myself in the industry.

    Would you think offering my services for free would be a good option in my situation?

    Have you worked for free in order to get experience or to build your reputation? Did it work out well for you? Are there any tips you can give, or things to watch out for?

    I would be very happy to hear from anyone who can help shed some light on this topic. Thanks for your help!

    #1224524
    Rowan@quaotic
    Participant
    • Total posts: 712

    I think that free services can be a good thing, as long as you have a strong sense of why you are doing it. Probably the best reason is to gain experience in offering your services to customers – you will find out how you work with others, what sorts of things customers find important, and most importantly, find out if this is really what you want to do etc.

    Offering free services just to get business can be a bit of a trap though. It can lead to potential customers not valuing your work, but first service discounts might be a good middle ground.
    Just my 5 cents :)

    #1224525
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,117

    I am personally not against it at all.

    I believe in story telling as a way of gaining trust.

    Telling your story including the stories that your free clients have around work you have done for them will show off your capabilities and value to paying customers.

    Obviously don’t get locked into free work for long term commitments and don’t be afraid to upsell additional services to free clients if the opportunity arises.

    Cheers
    Paul

    #1224526
    Moola88
    Member
    • Total posts: 5

    Personally, I think it’s a great idea…Try before you buy.

    #1224527
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,472

    Don’t like the idea at all, you will only end up getting the bottom dwellers who want freebie’s, they tend to be the one’s who want more and more, are fussy to the point of being impossible to deal with.

    I don’t do free or discount’s for anyone, if they want the service they pay.

    You say you have the experience, so you have the experience, if you need to give free, then you don’t have the experience and shouldnt be claiming you do.

    #1224528
    Miss Q
    Member
    • Total posts: 3

    [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER] – I said that I have the skills, but not the employment experience. There is a difference there.

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