I was chatting with Toby, this morning, about his “Professional Peer Referrals” post. And as I was describing my issues with the whole “pay to play” concept, something dawned on me.
I have a really, really hard time charging people for intangible work that I enjoy.
Now, what–he says, gracefully sidestepping the “oldest profession in the world” commentary–exactly do I mean by that?
I mean, I like giving referrals. I like brainstorming with people. I like coming up with new ideas.
And while there is, undoubtedly, intrinsic value in those efforts, I generally don’t charge for them. And part of my issue with charging for those activities is my actual enjoyment of those activities.
Those things are fun.
And, if I like doing those things, then why would I charge for them? Isn’t satisfaction enough?
And, generally, the brainstorming winds up generating a tangible activity. Something for which I can charge. Like a plan. Or a creative piece. Or some targeted consulting.
But there is value in the brainstroming that is driving those follow-on projects.
I mean, when you’re on the corporate side of the desk, you’re generally earning your paycheck by doing those things. So, I know there is some value there. Isn’t there?
And while I don’t want to become a lawyer who slaps the time clock every time he picks up the phone, I don’t want to continue to give away my time, simply because I enjoy that activity. And I don’t want the perception of my consultation to be devalued, simply because I choose to do it for free.
It’s a difficult spot. But I’m thinking that there has to be a happy medium.