The shirt off your back

When I first started in my freelancing career, I tried to cut everyone a deal. I wasn’t making a ton of money (plus I was new to earning an income that didn’t involve a paycheck) so this was the mindset I took into all of my projects.

I was subconsciously operating under the false assumption that none of my customers had a lot of money to spend and thus cutting them a deal was the right thing to do. It felt good.

This mindset made it much harder to level up and paradoxically prevented me from providing a valuable service to more customers because I was afraid to charge what I was worth.

When I think about freelance work now, I focus on creating value through things that have the greatest impact. A free ebook, for example, could be written in time you reclaim by cutting out a TV show or similar guilty pleasure every week, and it’s something that can help an unlimited number of your prospective customers and fans.

If you’re serious about making an impact through giving, spend some time thinking about how those with substantial wealth do it. You’ve gotta have something to give something.

No one told me this starting out, so I’ll tell you: pay yourself first so you can afford to help others in a sustainable way. It does a disservice to your business and time for it to be any other way.

It might make you feel good to put others first, but your time is not free and everything costs something.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.