I’m here today to encourage you to STOP giving personal access to your brain to others for free! Many women business owners are socialized and conditioned to serve others without receiving anything in return – and that can lead to burnout.

In this episode, I talk about three changes I’ve made in my business over the past couple of years to protect my time and attention – and I give you some advice on how you, too, can make sure you’re giving yourself the credit you deserve.

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Meg Casebolt 0:01
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started.

Hey, there, you’re listening to Episode 12 of the social slowdown podcast.

This episode is being released on February 3, which is my birthday, I’m turning 38. And I have no problem sharing that with you. Anyway, I wanted to share something special with you today something that’s near and dear to my heart in order to celebrate. And that is this. I want to encourage you to stop giving personal access to others for your brain and your heart for free. This is a lesson that I’ve been learning in my own business. And it’s also something that I’ve been learning and unlearning and unearthing, about the way that the patriarchy has influenced the ways that women show up as business owners. Here’s what I mean. Those of us that have been socialized as women have been raised to believe that it’s our greatest calling to serve others without receiving anything in return. In the book burnout, Emily and Amelia Nagurski refer to this as human giver syndrome. Here’s how they’ve described it on Brene Browns podcast which I will link to in the show notes. Here’s what they say. Human giver syndrome is based on the moral system that there are two kinds of people human beings whose job it is to acquire resources to accomplish their objectives, and human givers whose job it is to give their times lives, bodies and feelings to the human beings. Human giver syndrome is the false contagious belief that women have a moral obligation to be pretty happy, calm, generous and attentive to the needs of others. With human giver syndrome, if a giver falls short in any way, she may be punished or even goes so far as to punish herself. Notice that it is not the giving itself that is toxic. It’s the other half of the equation. It’s someone else’s sense of entitlement to everything a woman has her attention, her time, her affection, her hopes and dreams her body, her very life. We want a world where everyone feels a responsibility to care for one another, not a world where some people give everything until they have nothing left and are punished if they fall short. Or if they do something against the rules like asking to have their own needs met. It’s pretty heavy, right? I know, this is something that many of us struggle with. It’s not just women, it’s anybody who feels an urge to care for others. And it can absolutely show up not just in our lives, not just in our families or our friendships, but also the way that we show up in our business. Because if you’re not careful with your boundaries, people may treat you like they’re entitled to get one to one personalized access to your time and attention without paying you. And because our society has conditioned us to give generously because of that ingrained human giver syndrome. If we have what that person needs, asking them to pay for it can feel gross. I’ve seen the show up front and center in my own business, specifically in a free Facebook group that I created for people to learn SEO. No, creating a free Facebook group is a very commonplace marketing strategy. After all, as we discussed in our last episode feels like everybody’s already on Facebook, and they have the habit and the compulsion of checking in there regularly. And the Facebook group platform is free. So you can create a space easily that your potential clients can come and hang out with you and get to know like and trust you. And this marketing strategy can work really well. I actually have a few clients who regularly convert people from their free groups into their paid programs. But it is not a surefire strategy. And if you’re not careful with it, people can feel entitled to fast free personalized responses from you in that group. And as the idiom goes, Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? So I wanted to share my experience with you about my Facebook group and give you some context to figure out whether or not a marketing channel like that is worth it for you. So here’s what my experience has been with this marketing strategy back in 2017 when I was trying to establish my expertise around the topic of search engine optimization I opened a free Facebook group. And for the first couple years, it was actually awesome. I did weekly Facebook Lives every Wednesday, where I was getting questions from my ideal clients about how to make SEO work for them. And I shared free resources in the group and people showed up, and it was really engaging. I also ran free five day challenges every quarter. And those challenges converted really well into my paid trainings. And in fact, they went so well that in 2019, I started running a free 30 Day Challenge. And it did a really great job of growing my audience and generating a lot of buzz, and it led people into my larger paid products, everything went the way that it was, quote, unquote, supposed to with my Facebook group for about a year and a half or two years, then things changed. Maybe it’s the pandemic social media fatigue, where people just didn’t necessarily want to be in that free Facebook group anymore. Or maybe so many business owners created Facebook groups that it lost its appeal, and kind of became an oversaturated place to learn about business and lost some of the value of being exclusive. Or maybe there were just changes in the algorithm and people weren’t being shown the content that I was putting into that group. Whatever the reason, my free Facebook group became both less fun for me, and less valuable to my business. When I started it in 2017. It felt meaningful it had we were having valuable conversations. But over a year or two, it evolved into complete strangers thinking that they could just come in and tag me and get free custom SEO advice for their websites. And so I took a look at the metrics behind it. And in q2 of 2020, I looked and saw that the click through rate to my free resources was almost nothing. In that q2, only one and a half percent of my overall website traffic came from the group and that led to zero sales. Now I would have been okay, maybe with either of these metrics if people had really been engaging with the posts, but they weren’t. And even my free challengers stopped converting people signed up and they didn’t actually do anything. They asked questions that were outside of the scope of the free challenges. And when I told them that they were like, wow, that’s that’s just the question that I have got really upset and scoffed at me when I told them that they could get their answers in a paid training, but not the free challenge. And the spam just became so much. I can’t believe how much time my team and I spent through spent wading through these spammy, unrelated posts where people were just joining every free group that they could find and then spray and praying, whatever they had across the free groups, it was just completely a mess. And here’s what I learned from the way that that marketing system fell apart. If people are getting something for free, they don’t value it. And I’m not the only one who’s going to tell you this. There’s a book that Ramiz Satie wrote called your move the underdogs guide to building your business. And here’s an excerpt of that. I’m going to read to you where he shares his experience with this. He says, When my business first started doing well, my friends would say to me, Romi, can you give me a course for free? And I always said, yes, it didn’t really cost me anything to add another email to my user list, so why not? But I would always track to see whether they logged on. Can you guess if they did or didn’t? The answer is, of course not. People value what they pay for. This sounds obvious, but I didn’t internalize it until it happened over and over again, I gave them a $2,000 course for free. They didn’t even log in once. After a while, I started to feel a little resentful. This is my business, this is what I do. And they’re not even taking me seriously. Finally, I gave up and whenever someone asked for a free program, I said, Look, I know I want to give you this material, I know it can help you. It’s not about the money. But in my experience, if people don’t pay, they just don’t value it. So if you’re interested, I will ask you to pay the full price just like anyone else. What do you think happened? Most of those people who wanted for free went away. But the people said, Okay, I’ll do it. They looked at every single lesson in the course. And that changed everything. Remember, people value what they pay for. I can tell you from our own data, that of all the people who get our free emails, the people who actually bought a product are five times more likely to open it than those who never bought. Think of that. On my many paid list, I have an open rate of over 100%. That means they’re opening up every email more than once. Whereas the typical email open rate on a typical list might be something like 15 to 18%. It’s a stark difference. Understand that people value what they pay for, you’re not doing them a disservice by charging them you’re actually doing a profound service for the people who want to take action. So that was remits experience with us. If you talk to any other business owners, they may have a similar experience. If you’re feeling vulnerable about how to make changes in your business so that way, you’re making sure that people are valuing what you’re creating for them. In the interactions that you’re having with them, I’m going to share with you three changes that I’ve made in my business over the past two years, to start to really protect my time and my attention. Number one, I shut down my free Facebook group in 2021. I ran it from 2017 until May 2021. And then I looked at the numbers and realize that it wasn’t worth my time, or my team’s time to manage all of the spam and the lack of engagement. And would you believe the spammers actually had the audacity to post their spam comments on my posts that explained why I was shutting it down, in part due to spam. It was really honestly, it was really disappointing when I made the decision. I’m in an industry of giant software companies. And those SEO companies have huge arms for content marketing. And what made me feel like I was different. And what I could give people was a personal touch. And I was able to give really pinpointed feedback for people specific businesses, not generic internet advice. And when I shut down the Facebook group, I lost the ability to connect with people for free in that way, because a small percentage of people took advantage of the situation, and the algorithm shift changed, and it was no longer worth my time to be able to give people that personal touch. Number two, I stopped running free challenges, free challenges that had worked really well as part of that private group strategy in order to encourage people to move from free users to paid users of my programs. But then when I was making this choice in 2021, to shut down the program, I also looked into the metrics of my 30 Day Challenge in 2019, and 2020. And, man, that challenge was packed with value. And I took a look at the metrics in my member vault and realize that most people didn’t make it past the first week. And my theory is that because the challenge was free, they thought it would be fluffy, they just assumed that would not be valuable. Or it’s possible that they didn’t prioritize the time that they were spending on it. So since then, all of my challenges have been paid. The shorter challengers are a nominal fee, they’re about 20 bucks, just so that way, people who participate feel like they have some skin in the game. And if people end up buying a program at the end of it, they can apply that initial fee to the purchase of the program. So it’s not actually a huge out of pocket expense, if this is something that they want to continue. And I made the decision to take my 30 Day Challenge. And instead of having it in a private intimate group like that, where people could engage with me for free, I put it completely for free on YouTube and Instagram. No email required, no paywall, but people who wanted access to me and my team in coaching calls and personal feedback they had to pay. So there was a $59 upgrade for those people to get that personalized feedback. Number three, I also added a 30 minute consulting call to my website, and I even called it a pick my brain call, so that if anybody sends an inquiry either in DMS or via email or fill out the contact form on my website and says, I just want to ask you a couple questions, someone from our team will just send them a link to the 30 minute consult call. And about a third of the people who we send that to actually do book a call. And because it lives in a public place on my website, complete strangers will sometimes come in and book a paid session with me without sending that request. So it takes the time that my team is spending on that out of it. And I get paid for what they would have normally expected for free because I’ve set that expectation on my website. Now, does that mean that I’m not creating anything for free in my business? Absolutely not. You’re listening to free content right now, I still create tons of free content. But I do not also give private access to myself or to my team with the free content. So you can listen to the podcast, you can read blog posts, you can watch the YouTube channel, but I’m not going to coach you for free in a private group. And I’m also changing the things that I look at when I think about what I want success to look like. I’m focusing less on flashy numbers, like subscribers and followers, and more on outcomes, like people who watch my free content and join a program or people who go through my paid programs and get tangible, measurable results from them. I don’t want to celebrate 10,000 or 100,000 inactive subscribers. I’d rather give 100 People personalized touch in a paid supported system and help them to get great results. So if you’re listening to this and you’re feeling a little squeamish because you’re already running a free private group, or you’re doing free discovery calls, or you’re getting email support for your free content, here are some things that maybe you can just ask yourself and start to think about if you’re running a private group, does this actually lead to sales? Do people who are in this group eventually become clients? Or do they get all the information that they need for free and not need to upgrade? If you’re running free discovery calls, my first question to you would be is the time window too long,

I’ve seen people say, I’ll just give you a 60 minute free discovery call. And that’s too long. Let’s keep it to like 1520 minutes. And you might be giving people too much information on those discovery calls, I used to be guilty of giving people a lot of SEO advice on my discovery calls and then realizing that they were going to go hire somebody else to do it for less than that, because they got what they needed from the discovery call. So I am going to encourage you to ask yourself, am I listening on the call to what this person needs? Or am I giving them the information that they need to do it themselves? I know, we can have a whole nother conversation about sales calls at some point that that’s not here. And then the last places, maybe you’re giving too much support in email or direct messages for your free content. And the thing that I would encourage you to consider here is whether or not the question that the person is asking you is unique to their situation? If their question is unique to their situation, can you send them a link to a paid consoles call, if they have something that they just can’t quite figure out, send them a link to, you know, give you 100 bucks, and then you can hop on a call with them for half an hour and talk it through? I made up the number 100 bucks, make it whatever you feel like you should make. But if the question is not unique to a specific situation, then here’s something to consider. Can I create a canned email template so that when people ask me this question, I don’t have to rewrite it every time. Can I create a blog post where I can share it with them? And then also have it on my website for others to share? And I could share it anytime that I get this question. Or if they have a question about a specific program that you’re running or something that you’ve said in a training? Is there something that you can change in your messaging to clarify what it is that they’re confused about? And maybe prevent this question from showing up again, and again, maybe just adding an FAQ section in certain pages and figuring out what those frequently asked questions are, and consolidating them so that people can find those answers. Or you can share those answers without needing to spend time re typing them. Now, if you are giving away your time and your energy and your brainpower for free. That’s okay. We have all done it, we have all been there. This is not a place where I’m trying to make you feel ashamed of that decision. But I want to encourage you to evaluate the ways that you might be selling yourself short. And think about some ways that you can create some boundaries, or make some changes to the way that your systems work so that if you’re creating content, it can be repurposed and reshared. And found, instead of being in private spaces, where only one or two people get access to that information, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the social slowdown podcast. I really appreciate you being here on my birthday and listening all the way through to the end of this. If you thought this was helpful, I would love if you could leave a rating on the Apple podcast app I will send I will include a link to that in the show notes and make sure to share this with a friend if you think it would be helpful to them. And we’ll be back next week with more tips to help entrepreneurs to run businesses that are sustainable and have marketing strategies that work for their lifestyle. We’ll see you then. Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social slowdown.com and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown comm slash review or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media Talk to you then

Please forgive any typos as this transcript was automatically generated by otter.ai.

stop giving your brain and time away for free.