Free is a tricky word in business, isn’t it? Because nothing is really free. You’re still paying your shipping company for that “free” shipping you offered your buyer and you’ve increase the price of the item to make up the difference on the other end. Those free samples you got as a reviewer come with the expectation that you’ll write a review or the freebies will stop coming. You almost never get something for nothing. There is almost always a hidden cost.

Most of the time, that cost is time.


Time on your hands.

While this series is going to focus on on ways to market your stuff that don’t actually cost anything upfront, everything will take time and, sometimes, time is the most valuable thing we have. You should always consistently evaluate the amount of time you’re spending on any segment of your business and marketing is no exception. Always make sure that what you’re doing is worth and the results it achieves relative to the time you’re spending on it.

If it isn’t, you really only have two choice…

  • Stop doing it and find something else. This is an easy decision to make if it isn’t performing as you’d like but much more difficult to cut if it’s working well, it’s just taking up too much time. If you can find an alternative that works just well but takes less time, that’s great but, otherwise…
  • Find a more efficient way to do it. If there’s a marketing method that’s working well but is taking up too much of your time but it doesn’t make sense to give up on it completely, you need to find a way to do it better so you’re not spending as much time on it. Ironically, this may mean adding a cost to your “free” marketing by paying for a service to make it easier to implement or hiring someone to take the task off your hands.

The important thing to focus on is that you should never become so starstruck by the promise of “free” that you’re blinding yourself to the hidden costs. Just because you’re not paying out in dollars doesn’t mean something isn’t expensive and costing you in other ways.