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Offering Free Content = Lack of Self-Worth?

If you’ve been with me for a while now, you’ll recall that everything I published used to be free. Workouts? Free. eBooks? Free – all you had to do was submit an email address. Products for friends? Definitely free.

Back then the reasoning behind this was the need to build an audience. My plan was to first build an audience, and then after that to slowly transition to a paid product, or “freemium” model (some stuff free, most stuff paid.)

Reading Brene Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection) revealed something else to me about this initial free model. I didn’t realize it the first time reading the book, because the connection didn’t strike me at the time. It was only on my second time reading The Gifts of Imperfection that I realized giving away content for free might have been telling of something else.

It had to do with a feeling of worthiness. I was terrified that nobody would pay for my content. I was scared people wouldn’t find the content valuable enough to spend money on. And by extension, I personally didn’t feel worthy. (To be fair, maybe the stuff I was producing back then wasn’t worth it. I was relatively new to yoga at the time, and I was sharing more passion than expertise.)

So I offered stuff for free. I built an audience while thinking of myself as more of a social worker than a business, but at least I had a sense of confidence and satisfaction from it – people were writing me emails of gratitude, liking photos and videos, and making me feel like I was doing something valuable.

But I still wasn’t being compensated for what I did. People asked me to make videos for them, like my time wasn’t worth anything. People were sometimes angry if I didn’t respond. I got the sense from some that they expected me to do all of this work and receive nothing in return for it; that they were entitled to it.

Of course, this wasn’t sustainable. I don’t want to use this email to talk about transitioning from a free brand to a premium brand, because that would take too long. I’m simply pointing out that not putting a price on content can contribute to your personal devaluation, as well as the appearance of inferior content simply because it’s free.

Going one step further, the habit of giving things to friends or family members for free applies to this concept of unworthiness even more so, because it is the people close to you that you are most vulnerable to. What if they were unwilling to pay? What if they didn’t think you were valuable enough? That would hurt much more than somebody you don’t know glancing at the product and deciding not to purchase it.

Book I’m (still) reading: The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown

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Whenever I read a book, I always make a mental note to go back and read it again, so I can fully digest the information and get it somewhat internalized to the point that I can start putting it into practice – but I never ACTUALLY read it again. The Gifts of Imperfection was different. It’s only 130 pages or so, so after finishing it I decided to read it again immediately. As you’ve seen from my email above, this has proven valuable. I’m noticing things I initially did not the second time around.

I still recommend this book – highly. It offers a different perspective from all the Stoicism stuff I’ve been reading lately, and is refreshing because of it.

Music I’m listening to: James Blake

Described as “quirky, R&B-strained dubstep music.” He’s going to be in Austin while I’m out of town, and I really wish I could have made it. Check him out. (Spotify link)

Fitness focus: Diversity in training

This week I did sprints, lifted weights, yoga-d, did mobility work, parallettes work with the GMB program, and swam. Changing it up feels good! Make sure to keep your training varied. When your body gets bored, you stop getting stronger.

Food of the week: Ghee

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Still using ghee, and still loving it. I’ve used it an a daily basis for the last week. Get it here on Bulletproof.com.

Finding inspiration from: The Gifts of Imperfection

As mentioned above, looking at something a second time is allowing me to see things I missed the first time, and it’s proving valuable in terms of insight into my own habits.

Have a great week!

-Dean

5 thoughts on “Offering Free Content = Lack of Self-Worth?”

  1. It can also mean a lack of commitment to excellence. As long as you give it away, who can complain? We all are subject to the “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” programming. Nobody is going to hold you accountable if they got it for free.

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