Recently, I posted the replay of a webinar on dream writing on Facebook. I’d offered the hour-long workshop for free to drum-up business and help folks “discover” me and experience my teaching style. If that workshop resonated, I hoped I could sell them with my  soft-sell pitch at the end of the presentation in which I touched on the ongoing benefits of an 8-week workshop that I had coming up.  I had about 30 people sign-up for the dream writing workshop. Two of those converted into paying customers.

Later on I had people remember that I’d offered the workshop and ask for the link. So I posted it, noting that it was a free workshop with nothing to buy. A friend commented on the post:

What a refreshing change! It’s distressing to me how many people I know through yoga that try to sell me things on Facebook. How about some non-commercial interaction? Seriously it’s like a foreign concept to some.

I totally understand what he means.

So many of my friends are in business for themselves, and so many of us have been coached to stop devaluing our work, to stop giving it away for free. At one time, we were afraid of “selling out” or afraid of asking for money. We’ve learned to value what we do. We’ve learned to be more comfortable “making the ask.” As a result, some people have over-corrected, and, in the worst cases, interacting with them feels like trying to dodge a door-to-door solicitor — one who sees every interaction as an open door.

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The other thing I’ve experienced is signing on for people’s workshops where they’ve made a promise to present something of value — usually promised in the title — and then having to sit through a lengthy pitch for a tidbit of information at the end. It’s the equivalent of the time-share “free vacation” experience.

Even worse: Some people pitch or up-sell during something I’ve paid to attend.  I don’t mind being made aware of a product or service, but if I’ve paid to attend an event, I’m paying for a service, not to be sold to or cajoled out of more of my money. I resent it when this happens and I tend to shut down or form an automatic “no” because my trust has been violated. I don’t do business with someone I don’t trust.

I take my own reactions into consideration when I interact with others as Marya-the-creative-entrepreneur. For instance, at a yoga festival recently, after a warm conversation with a woman I just met, I offered her my business card so she could keep in touch. But as I extended the card, I suddenly felt as if I had cheapened our personal exchange with a business card.

“This is what I do,” I told her. “But I’m also a person. And I’d love to hear from you, you know…just as a person.”

The thing is, too, that I meant this. My relationships with people are more than my business interactions with them. People can feel it when you genuinely care about them and when you interact with them in a personal way that values them as fellow humans. That doesn’t mean you give yourself or your services away. But it does mean that you consider how things feel and that you “Do unto others…” as the saying goes.

Here’s the replay of the DREAM WRITING WORKSHOP if you’re interested. And please, let me know what you write if you take the dream writing workshop and what you think about this post or the dream writing process.

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