It Won’t Always Be FREE

March 23, 2007

After my slightly whiny post last week, I realized something very important. While I was struggling with having to work for free for a while, I wasn’t even prepared for getting paid.

Coaching and Distance Counseling (like my professional lingo?) are usually paid by credit card. The “professional” uses some sort of credit card processing system, and if they don’t have a merchant account it’s pretty easy to start with PayPal. I hadn’t even taken the steps to set that up for the time when I have paying clients.

I had a simple PayPal account for the corporation (The Knowledge Store, which I’m still planning on changing) but hadn’t set it up to process credit card transactions. I had nothing tied in to the business account I used as a Professional Counselor. Now I’m set up with both accounts. When I have products to sell, I can put them on a website and get paid through PayPal when people buy them. When a client wants a consultation, I will be able to charge a credit card.

I’ve also signed up with Clickbank so I can choose to sell my e-books there—whenever I have e-books. I spend time looking at sites that have materials related to the theme of my practice, mentoring and mentorship coaching to develop people’s gifts. I can become an affiliate and display other people’s products on my website and receive a commission when my web visitors buy.

For some of you, this is basic stuff. For others, it might be completely foreign. I feel like I’m still in the beginning stages of learning about internet based commerce, but I talk to people and read forum posts from people who don’t even know these basics. I think it helps to learn these simple steps you can take with no cost and no risk.

Now that I’m set up to receive payments, I’m thinking a lot about how to offer services. The standard in coaching seems to be asking clients to pay for four sessions at a time in advance and offering limited e-mail support between sessions. Structure like this helps the professional with planning, I’m sure, and helps clients focus on their goals and the steps they committed to taking. But it’s patterned after the medical model of psychotherapy, where clients come in on a regular basis for a planned amount of time.

I need to start some “market research,” which means asking people, about how they might use the help of a mentor or coach. There might be some who want more phone time and don’t want e-mail support, some who want lengthy e-mail communication a few times a week and little or no phone support, and some who will have varied needs from month to month.

The idea of finding new paradigms for offering service is intriguing to me. It falls into the expanding idea of organic learning and development that keeps appearing as I go through the creative process of defining what I do. I interact with an idea and learn more about it by trying it out in different ways. I change to accommodate something new I discover through that interaction, and then I learn something more about the idea when my perspective has changed. It’s a discovery process.

I will be planning different ways to offer my services because clients will need different types and different levels of interaction at different times. I want to be ready to offer what they need.

And now, I will be ready to receive payments—because It Won’t Always Be FREE.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

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