This week’s question comes from Ran in Montreal, Canada. He asks:
Q: I’m also in the training industry, but find it hard to compete because entrepreneurs have so many free resources. What worked for you in the beginning when you were getting your start? What would you advise me to do?
Should you give away your product or service for free? I’m Dave Crenshaw, and it’s time to Pick Dave’s Brain!
This week’s question comes from Ran in Montreal, Canada. He says:
I’m also in the training industry, but find it hard to compete because entrepreneurs have so many free resources. What worked for you in the beginning when you were getting your start? What would you advise me to do?
Thanks for the question Ran, and it’s good to hear from someone in Montreal.
You know, your question really has a couple of parts. One is “how do I compete with free” and “how did I get my start”. I am going to answer the second part first.
When I first started. roughly twenty years ago, I was fresh out of college, and I have no expertise, no branding. So what I did was I got certified by a reputable company. In that way, I was able to lean on them, sort of like franchising. And that helped me get my start.
However, I took a break for a few years to try and be a rock star. Long story. When I came back, I didn’t have certification. So what I had to do was find a creative way to work my way into the market. What I did was I participated in networking groups, and I looked for people that I refer to as “the hub.”
A hub is someone at the center of the wheel where everyone else connects. They’re the person that other people look up to and that other people do business with a lot.
So what I did was I went to these hubs, and I said: “I am willing to provide my business coaching services for you for free, for a limited period of time, because I know that when you have a great experience with me, you will refer others to work with me.”
Then as I continued to participate in these networking events with the “hub” by my side, and they would refer me to people, it was so much more effective than if I’d have gone out trying to knock on doors. It was much easier for me to get new clients. Then once I built up a reputation with clients, I continued to lean on referrals and their testimonials.
Now let’s get to the second part of your question, which is “how do I compete with free.” I’ve already mentioned that. for a little bit, you might want to start with free. But after that, being paid is far more effective than someone doing something for free, and the best entrepreneurs know that.
The best entrepreneurs don’t look for free. They are willing to make an investment. Why?—because they understand the truth of this principle that when you invest money in something, you get more value from it.
So I would encourage you to avoid that trap of thinking that you have to compete with free. You can always beat it through providing incredible value for the investment.
Thanks for the question, Ran.
And if you have a question that you would like me to answer, all you need to do is click on the button right down there at the bottom of this video, or you can go to DaveCrenshaw.com/ask.
I look forward to hearing your challenging question!