How to Make a Profit & Build a Sustainable Business Part 3: How to Handle Selling to Family & Friends

It’s the ones that are closest to us that we tend to have the hardest time with.

Not because we don’t love them, or even like them for thematter. The reality is that we really do. So how do we handle those awkward conversations when they want work for free? What about people who aren’t really friends but all of a sudden decide they are “friends” because they want your help?

I’ve faced all of these situations, and while they are not always easy to handle, I have learned a thing or two. 

Today, I want to help you learn how to handle these awkward conversations. 

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION

There is one simple solution I have created when it comes to family and friends and my services. And that solution is that I have a family and friends discount. People don’t know that I have this discount. I don’t promote it or announce it or even offer it to all family and friends. But when someone that I feel comfortable giving this discount to approaches me, I offer it. It’s my way of giving while staying sustainable. The truth is that what we do is our livelihood, and it’s okay to get paid for it. There’s no need to feel guilty or to be expected to work for free.

Now, I will say, there are times where I feel led to give things to family and friends for free. And I do. I believe we have been blessed to be a blessing. For example, I am currently helping out a few friends by building websites for them. They didn't ask me to, I simply felt led to and because of that I am overjoyed to do it! But don’t do it because you feel forced to or are guilted into it. Offer to serve out of a place of joy, not condemnation. 

THE CONVERSATION WITH REAL FAMILY AND FRIENDS

When I have family and friends (real ones) approach me about my services, I have found that the best way to avoid the awkward conversation is to immediately mention my discount (if I plan to offer it to them) or pricing in the conversation. 

For example:

“Hey Natalia, I heard that you build websites/do marketing/etc. I’ve been needing a website for my business…”

“Yes! I do! I would love to help you! I have a family and friends discount I would like to offer you as well if you are interested.”

This immediately let’s them know that my services aren’t free and it does one of two things. It shuts down the conversation if they don’t want to pay, or it lets them know that they do get a discount for working with me instead of someone else due to our relationship.

THE CONVERSATION WITH “FAMILY AND FRIENDS”

Okay, so this one is for those people who are very distant relatives you never talk to or acquaintances who all of a sudden decide they are your friend.

The strategy here is very similar….

“Hey friend! I saw that you build websites. Can you build me a website for my new blog?”

“Sure! I would love to! Let me get your email address so I can send you my services and pricing. How exciting that you are starting a new blog! Tell me more about it.”

Notice how I slipped in the pricing part but then continued the conversation so that it didn’t get awkward.

HOW TO NOT FEEL GUILTY

I can’t guarantee that it won’t get awkward. People are people. But if that does happen, or if someone gets upset because you aren’t doing it for free, don’t feel bad or guilty. You are not required to use your gifts for everyone for free. There are people you will feel led to bless. But the reality is that sometimes we are doing people a favor by asking them to invest. It’s one of the best things anyone can do when it comes to their business or idea. It’s kind of like the principle of tithing. Some people look down on it, but it is biblical. And when churches receive tithes they give people the opportunity to be blessed because of it. I have personally experience how investing blesses my business, so now I see it the same way when I ask others to invest.

You are talented and your work is valuable. You get to put the price tag on that. Let God lead you when it comes to knowing when to giving things for free. And then when it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. It’s okay to put others in the position of investing so that they and their ideas can be blessed.

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