Should ‘Free’ consumers be treated as customers?

If you have been in the business scene / entrepreneur scene for some time, you’d have noticed a common advice from the veterans.

“Don’t give your products/services away for free”; simply because ‘free’ customers are the most difficult to deal with.

I’ve had the same experience myself.

I think this stems from 2 issues;

  • Internal ‘Struggle’

When you give your time/product/service for free, there’ll always be a internal debate of “how much time/effort should I be spending on this project”. This struggle will always be present, whether conscious or not.

I find myself holding back for free projects at time, especially when coupled with the 2nd issue.

  • (generally) Demands from the free consumer

It could be a general bias that stems from the previous point. But I’ve found that free consumers tend to ask for more. Or try to get more than what was originally promised.

Since its all ‘free’, the additional requests cost nothing to them. They have no price point to anchor their requests/demands on.

Longer post, so here’s the tl;dr version: Don’t give your time / product / service away for free.

There should always be an equal trade in value.

Written by Yen Yee

Yen Yee

An aspiring digital entrepreneur who continues to learn and find her way around in the online world.


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