Just because when you’re doing charity work and you have a great traction, it doesn’t mean you should start monetizing what you’re offering. Getting support when you’re offering your services for free through a non-profit organization doesn’t equate to support when you transition to business.

You are too fancy for your success

I’ve been observing most people, not necessarily entrepreneurs, whom after getting one back pat starts thinking about putting a price. If you are creating content and people love it, it doesn’t mean you should instantly monetize it.

If you gave someone good advice once and it worked for them, it doesn’t mean you should start a consulting firm. Just because you led a cappella at church and you’re really great at it, it doesn’t mean you should start being fancy and stingy about your voice.

The idea of putting a price on things that got brief ‘standing ovations’ reminds me of two incidents;

1. Prior my sister’s wedding I teamed up with my other sister, composed a song and practiced it so that we can have a duet on the big day.

Truth is we are both gifted: we really can sing, I kid you not. 2 days later after the wedding an aunt of ours and other relatives sat us down on some “you should release a CD” Say what?! I am really not keen to use my voice that way. I am not keen on making music my career but I won’t stop singing voluntarily at family gatherings, for people in my circle on their birthdays and other special days. I love singing when I’m doing that or when I pretend to be performing to a live audience. If anything, my hidden dream is that after mastering how to play a piano I’m going to start performing at social events and afro-jazz and soul sessions. Not releasing CDs, just performing live.

In essence, just because I can sing it doesn’t mean I should rush to a studio or join “The Voice” auditions. It is not only a matter of being ready and having the ‘it’ voice, but also about your own truth. Deep inside my sense of awareness tells me that I shouldn’t sell the healing that comes with my voice when I sing.

2. I was watching a Q&A session and a woman in the audience asked the panel how she can monetize the Facebook page of his 12-year-old son.

Brief story: this woman’s son was born with Down Syndrome and though it was a tough journey, she is always trying to give her son the best possible life experience and the creation of the Facebook page was to inspire and motivate other parents raising kids with Down Syndrome and kids with Down Syndrome. The page has a great following and the impact it is making in people’s lives is amazing.

So when asked why she’d like to monetize the page, she said it is because people are giving her pressure to make money from such an attention. In short, she’s been advised to make money from his son’s disease. And that’s the start of the loss of the why, the reason why the page was started in the first place.

Quick pointers regarding putting the price on your offerings:

• You shouldn’t put a price on some content or service. It is not called a free service, but serving. Some things do not need a price tag.

• If you want to monetize, for example, your online content, start by offering real value to your audience for more than 1 year and incrementally pivot, but don’t make a radical U-turn. During year 2, you can start promoting one product while providing content for free. For example: you can write a book or sell any merchandize related to your content which your audience will appreciate. Hence, I suggest you to start the pivoting at least from year 2 and only if you truly believe you’re offering real value and you understand your audience really well.

• Do not be too fancy about your ideal audience. The truth is, if you’re meant to serve the bottom class, you have no choice but to meet them there. You can’t sell nonprofit support services at premium prices to NPOs whilst you know there’s a donor fatigue in the private sector.

• It is about giving, giving, giving and then asking. Especially when it comes to content creation; when you offer content, don’t have the “I will get you one day” at the back of your mind. Don’t expect your audience to support you, don’t guilt trip them on some “I’ve been giving you value for free”. You give then ask, that’s where incremental changes start so that you can test the response of your audience.

• Not every YouTube channel, website, blog, app must be monetized. Self-awareness remain key even in business. You need to understand why you need a website. Is it to sell an ad-space or for branding your company? Is your YouTube channel for branding or is it a revenue generating platform? Just because most people are monetizing those platforms it doesn’t mean you should. Understand what your audience need and prefer and know and stand by your truth.

What do you think? What thoughts resonated with you the most? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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