Got another opportunity to write for Elance coming up (here's the first). I enjoy sharing my experience and technique as a long-time freelancer and consultant with other folks. That's why I write for ExitEvent, too (here's the latest). Lots of people helped me -- and continue to help me -- so it seems only right that I put something back into the ecosystem.
Doing it for nothing
Some folks assume I'm paid to do those pieces. I'm not. The other day, an acquaintance asked me why I gave that expertise away to other sites and on this very blog. Color me kooky, but there's more to business than making money. Don't get me wrong; I love the Benjamins. But I learned a long time ago that I ultimately get more by giving some stuff away than I do by holding everything as proprietary and putting a price tag on it.
Maybe someone who reads a guest post or my own blog will get something out of it that helps them be more effective. That's a win right there, because I like helping people. If that reader tells someone else, I get a multiplier effect. That's even bigger if somewhere down the line a person wants to pay for bigger, better service. But it's not required.
Creating a long tail
Four years ago, we presented a how-to workshop at a trade group's annual meeting. This spring, a person who'd been in that class persuaded her company to bring us in and help the entire workforce improve its writing. It was a huge contract for us that came at the end of what some folks would call a 4-year sales cycle. But the fact is, we didn't have much contact with this woman in the ensuing years. Our materials and methods did the work. And the return on our investment was incredible.
Not every give-away has this kind of direct line to revenue. And for me it doesn't have to. But even if you're focused keenly on the transactional, try to give something away once in a while. You might find it reaps benefits you didn't plot on your fancy spreadsheet.