Have you ever used the phrase “If it’s free, it’s for me!”? I used to use it all the time and as I’ve grown, my thoughts on that phrase has changed. Free stuff can involve donations, hand-me-downs, free swag at events, prizes from giveaways… The list can go on and on. These free things can be good and sometimes not-so good. So today, we’re talking about that word “free”.
I asked other about this phrase on my Instagram Story and got a lot of responses from both sides. Some people felt that free things included anything that was fun and didn’t cost a penny. While others, said the phrase sends the wrong message. When I think about that these responses, I’m kind of in the middle. I agree that some things that are free are great, but as I’ve become a successful business owner, I’ve realized it can sometimes be a dirty word.
Those in Favor of Free
When I think of the responses I received from IG followers, many of them talked about activities that don’t cost money. Going to the beach, hiking at your favorite mountain and giveaways from small businesses. The funny part is, even if these activities seem free, there’s definitely a cost associated.
When going to the beach, sometimes there’s parking you have to pay for. That costs money! But what about all the planning that goes into the trip? You have to use that brain power and spend energy thinking about making sure you don’t forget your bowl and chair, a book to read, snacks and something to drink and if you have children, stuff for them to play with.
When going for a hiking trip, the same applies. There may be a fee to get into your favorite park, you most likely have to drive so you’re spending gas and you have to remember to bring the necessities like food and water, extra clothing in case it gets colder and anything else you might need along the way.
When it comes to a giveaway from a small business, you’re probably not the one who has the cost – it’s the business owner. They need to figure out what the prize will be, how they’ll run the giveaway and for how long, what the rules are, etc. The business owner is the one spending time and energy to put the giveaway into action.
Those Opposed to Free
Not all of the things mentioned above are 100% free. Especially if you consider that there are costs associated with the actions that are not financial. Currency isn’t just cash. It’s also time, effort and energy. That’s why some of my followers were opposed to free.
As a business owner, free stuff can be a challenge. Everyone either wants something for free or at the very least, at a discount. This is where the hard part comes into play. Most business owners started their businesses because of their passion, but behind that, they also did it because they want to earn a living. When a business owner gives away something for little to no cost, it’s free for the consumer or client. But it still costs the business money or some type of non-financial currency.
How I Feel About Free Now
Now that I’m a full-fledged business owner, it’s very rare that I use the phrase “If it’s free, it’s for me!” That being said, I still understand that phrase makes sense in some situations. If someone invites me to a totally free beach, I’m in! When my husband asks me to go out for a day date and all we do is walk around the neighborhood, sounds perfect! There are circumstances where the phrase makes sense.
When I do want to use that phrase, I think about the non-financial costs first. The monetary costs are easy to pinpoint, but sometimes the others aren’t. Trust me, I don’t spend all day contemplating the pros and cons, but I do want to have a decent amount of information before I make a decision. And I also understand the costs associated for a business that customers and clients may not know about. When I receive a freebie or a workbook from a business owner, I know how much time they spent putting that together. I realize the effort that went into creating, editing and producing that free item. So I don’t take it for granted.
We are all trying to earn a living and make ends meet. That’s why free doesn’t always work. The next time you go to use the phrase, put some extra thought behind the phrase and determine if it makes sense for the situation at hand.