Today’s Brain Fart: “If you don’t value your time, no one else will!”.
My business partner, Jerry, said this to me when I first met him in 2011, when I ran my old networking group, Dunfermline Talks Business.
Bang! Hearing this hurt, however, it was exactly what I needed!
I had just graduated and set this up group up to help me: meet new contacts, position me as an authority, and connect and educate other business owners.
It was a lot of hard work! The meetings ran twice a month, and I made a commitment of sourcing a guest speaker every single time. Plus, I also had to market the events to attendees.
Before Jerry and I worked together, he attended some of these events and was very impressed by the guest speakers and attendees I was attracting, as well as the general energy and vibe.
He asked, “Kallum, why are you NOT charging for these meetings?”...
“I dunno...I don’t think anyone would pay to come along, especially since I’m so young [21 at the time] and no one really knows who I am”.
“If you don’t value your time, no one else will!”, Jerry retorted. “You are clearly putting a lot of time and effort into these meetings. And it’s only fair that you take some money for the value you are creating for your attendees!”.
“Don’t people usually pay to attend business events? Do you think charging will really stop people coming?”.
Jerry and his bloody questions! He was absolutely right though so I decided to charge a nominal £5 for attendance (which went towards Kallum’s beer fund!).
This was never going to pay any bills, however, Dunfermline Talks Business was clearly never about making money. Apart from helping others, it was my first taste of running a “business”, building a community and even more involvement in the entrepreneurial space - I had worked for a couple of startups in Edinburgh previously.
It was also a vehicle that I hoped would help me figure out what I really wanted (and didn’t want!) to do with my life. Unbeknown to me at the time, this fateful meeting with Jerry, and running Dunfermline Talks Business, would plant a seed (or an Acorn!) that would eventually lead to us launching Acorn Enterprise together months later! This is the organisation we co-founded that runs awesome Business Incubators in multiple locations across Scotland and has now helped over 100 new business owners, via the 20 week Business Accelerator Programmes!
Additionally, by charging for the event (even just a fiver!), a few things happened: the time wasters left, I was able to attract better quality guest speakers and attendees, plus I felt better about it all. Even a fiver was enough (at that time!) to boost my confidence, and feel like I was getting some sort of a monetary return for all of the effort I was putting in, beyond the intrinsic value of building a network.
Are there other benefits to you and your customer from what you’re doing, beyond the more obvious or direct? (e.g. the real benefits of Dunfermline Talks Business were in: building a community of like-minded other business owners, the authority that comes with leading a networking group, and keeping up with industry trends and changes - these were clearly much more valuable than the £5 per head I made at each meeting!).
Are there things you really need to charge some more money for, or stop doing altogether?
Are you really valuing your time?...If not, then no one else will!
Kallum with a K