Are you scared of sharing your expertise online? What happens if people don’t buy from you but go and make their own stuff? What if they take your tutorials, follow them and decide they don’t need to hire you?
As a blogger, I’ve always shared everything I know and everything I learn online. There is no secret sauce for me, it’s all available on my blog and on my social media channels but could this be losing me customers?
I don’t think so. People come to me because they have read my blog and figure I know my stuff. They come to me because they’ve watched my tutorials and decided it’s too hard to do themselves.
Of course, there are others who don’t come to me, who might find a tip on how to do something on my blog and just do it themselves. But these people aren’t my customers, or they aren’t just yet.
When I started Spiderworking I was broke. I was running a small gift company and the recession had just hit Ireland. My biggest customers were no longer buying corporate gifts.
After a brainstorming session with family, I came up with the idea of Spiderworking.
I met friends, sought advice and with €20 launched the business.
That budget bought me a domain name, a month’s hosting with Blacklight and a Skype in number. I was set for a month but I needed to make enough money to fund the next month.
I must have done something right because I’m still here 7 years on and thankfully I have more than €20 in the bank.
Small businesses are often strapped for cash and in the early days I tried to do everything for free or for pennies but now I know that some things are worth paying for. Some of the freemium services (where there is a free version of the software but they encourage you to upgrade) I subscribed to now are the one’s I still use and am happy to pay for.
Every month I see a list of subscriptions come out of my bank account, it’s not just my web hosting anymore, it’s monitoring tools, scheduling tools and a bundle of other services that make my life easier. I’m loyal to the services I subscribe to, it would take me a lot to move to one of their competitors. Most of them have been a part of my business since those early days when I had no money.
If all the services I subscribed to hid behind paid subscriptions I wouldn’t be using them now, in fact, I’d have found it hard to go into business at all. Those tools have helped me succeed and now I’m happy to pay and I’m loyal to them.
So before you are too guarded about your methods, before you hide your expertise away think about how you can use this as content that will attract and nurture future customers and advocates.
Mandy Mortimer says
Another interesting post! I’m on the verge of going freelance, or at least, hoping to do so soon enough, so I do wonder/worry about sharing years of professional knowledge for free if I’m going to be trying to make a living out of it as a non permanent staffer.
But your view on the topic is interesting, and not one that I would have thought of. Helping others is, as a secondary function, marketing yourself as well. Not that that should be the reason to do it, but it just happens organically.
Thanks for keeping the info flowing, it’s incredibly generous of you, and extremely helpful!
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Mandy, glad I gave you food for thought. I’d love to hear what you decide 🙂