Business coach or coffee mate??

When is a coach a coach ??

I’m really struggling with the whole issue of selling my services.
It’s not new issue and I’m sure there is many out there that share my pain. I think my problem steams from being new to this side of business most people know me from Charlie Moo’s and would never dream of taking my products for FREE so I wonder why people take my ‘time, resources and very useful information’ for FREE?

Is it because I write a business based useful information blog? As I give away this information for free that people assume everything else is? Am I too nice??

I meet people at least once or twice a week for business advice mostly they ask me to come along for a specific topic pre-arranged and pricing is discussed via email or at the end they say how do I pay.  But what about those meetings where they ask for ‘a chat’ no money is mentioned or exchanged hands.  Should I be saying I charge XYZ or should I be happy that people buy and coffee and are interested un me??  Then there’s the emails and friendly phone calls .. how do you know when to say no?  Daddy Moo suggested I just invoice people …. but that seems rather harsh.

Now I don’t have the income from Networking Mummies anymore I really can’t be giving my very precious time away for free.  I don’t have many hours in the day without my girls and those I do really need to consist of me earning money.  Have I made a rod off my own back .. leaving it so long before being stricter??

I would so love to hear how other people approach this.



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  1. December 16, 2011 / 9:49 am

    Joanne, this is the perfect time to have a re think on how you do things. You don’t have income from Networking Mummies now and from now on your coffee time should mean money time. Your wealth of experience is valuable to people and I’m sure if you explained things then people would understand. After all, who else can they ask?

  2. Louise Parker
    December 16, 2011 / 9:58 am

    I don’t have this problem any more, as I am now selling goods rather than a service. However, before having my son I worked as a self employed Human Resources Consultant and I had a steady stream of “chats” and little queries. I didn’t want to operate like a solicitor and charge for every minute of every call. What I used to tell people was that quick phone calls and e-mails were free. Initial meetings to discuss projects were free. After that I charged for my time – particularly if it meant me going out for meetings. I did quite a lot of free work for family and friends, but the minute it started to take over the time in which I could be doing paid work, I told them I would have to charge. I think if you are up front and open with the way in which you charge for your time, most people do not have a problem.

    • Joanne
      December 16, 2011 / 10:57 am

      Thanks for the advice ladies its a really hard thing to do ask people for money for talking!!

  3. December 16, 2011 / 12:07 pm

    Great post Joanne. Most people have felt this at some stage. Could you have an ‘ask me’ hour each week, where you answer people’s queries and questions on line during that time? That way any emails or phone messages could be directed to that ‘ask me’ slot? You could give basic and quick support, but then direct them to your chargeable services, OR book in a time for a telephone consultation about the chargeable services you offer? Just an idea……

    • Joanne
      December 16, 2011 / 12:28 pm

      Oooo Lara this is a great idea!!

  4. December 16, 2011 / 1:35 pm

    I also offer consulting and coaching services for small businesses (creative industry) but have only had a few times when people have wanted free advice. I’m just too busy to help everyone for free and have had to turn down paying clients let alone freebies. I think in future if someone asks you for a ‘chat’ you should tell them your rates. A business chat is a coaching session even if you are both sitting drinking coffee in the local cafe.

    I also write a free blog and any emails or queries I get from people who just want a freebie I pass them over there. It’s the reason I write it to help those who can’t afford professional one-one-one advice.

    I do offer family or very close friends advice but in my own time not business time. That is time where I wouldn’t be able to do client work because we are at a family function or a craft show for example. If I get frequent questions through Twitter or email then I’ll eventually do a blog post on it as it means there is demand for it.

    I hope that helps a bit!

  5. Leslie King
    December 8, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    I agree with both Lara and Louise. Also, it a usual struggle during the advantage stage in that kind of business but you’ll get along some time.