What Happens When Free is Forever

This morning I read a very interesting post by Tom Wacker  a man I hugely respect, especially as a writer, which got me thinking about my last blog post and spurs me on now to continue a conversation I think we as a community really need to have. You can read Tom’s post here >> Cash Surfing Network Changes .

Tom basically talks about the change in commission structure at CSN from free to paid upgrade (and that is really simplifying). Which I think furthers the conversation about the expectations we create for those new people coming to our sites for the first time.

Most of us stumble into online marketing  without a great deal of knowledge about the business or even that it is a business. We haven’t really considered the costs, rather we know that there is a low entry point you simply can’t find in the mortar and brick world. That low entry point is called: free.

Now I am not suggesting that we eliminate free options, I started as a free member in most traffic exchanges and later upgraded where I could see the benefit…and even in those TE’s I use as a “free” member I nearly always spend money on buying credits, spotlight hits and other forms of advertising.  In fact I mainly surf only where I have an upgraded membership. Consequently when I find myself surfing a lot as a free member I invariable upgrade.

Unfortunately I am not a typical member of traffic exchanges or the rest. And if you are reading this…you aren’t typical either and that’s a good thing.

Mainly what we have is a mentality of “free is forever” and it’s nobody’s fault but our own. We advertise free and pray for upgrades. Almost everywhere else, if there is a free options it’s limited to a time frame after which you pay.

I realize now, through hindsight , that I made a huge mistake offering a large part of Learn with Nick for free. I operated using an industry norm : a free and an upgrade option, as if all the work I did on the “free” section I somehow how conjured up with out blood, sweat and tears and a hefty up front cost in purchasing the script, the programing and the website design. In effect I denigrated my own efforts as being worthy of nothing more than an email address.

Now right about now some one will want to quote Zig Ziglar’s famous quote but I’m going to beat you to it.

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Nowhere in the quote does it say the word “free”. And I certainly won’t stop helping people by answering questions and giving of the knowledge a few years of slugging away has gifted me with. In the end however…people don’t value ‘free” and rightly so because word free implies a lack of value.

What happens in part is we mix-up the idea of philanthropy and business.

Bill Gates got to be one of the planets largest philanthropists because he ran a business that charged people for the use of his brilliance in the form of Microsoft products which now allows him to do very important work in the world.

Mother Teresa gave her heart and her soul to others with out thought of monetary concern for herself. Her calling wasn’t business, yet she needed even still to raise funds to support her charity and her work.

What I am doing here is learning to grow and develop a business. If I am successful, I will be able to contribute far far more, than I can now to philanthropic endeavors.

There is nothing wrong with free as a temporary state of affairs. The whole idea of a funnel with the wide mouth where you capture people with a free offer is fine and then as they filter down with small offers and then bigger offers is still valid. Selling off the back end…the people that enter your funnel and thus onto your list..is an great model.

Jon Olsen has written  about this in his Hit Exchange News see How I Built a Downline.

All these systems and all marketing is predicated on getting someone to purchase your offer.

Even with all that it doesn’t excuse the way we soft peddle and down play what it cost to be in the game.

Instead we play up “free” and “easy” and have a fit if some else dares to sell their cookies and not give them away free as you are doing.

In the end it comes down to the reward of doing this business.

Does the rewards of what you are doing outweigh the money invested, the blood sweat and tears, the rejection, failure and sometime humiliation you will feel, and the moments of doubt and desperation you are going to encounter? If all of that brings about growth, stamina, determination, and an unquenchable desire to obtain the reality of your dreams, is it not worth putting out the monetary investment success is going to require of you?

Only you can answer that questions but it does take me right back to that Jim Rohn quote that I used in my last article:

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”


Kore4 is an example of how we can change the conversation. Join under me in Kore4 and the money I make from the commission I will reinvest in the energy to find ways to help you find success with the program.

Sign Up Under Me Now








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  • That my friend, is one of the best blog posts I have ever read. From any author.

    It has left me with much to think about, and not much to say right now except Thank You for a great post. I’ll return to it and digest if further!
    Tom Wacker recently posted…Cash Surfing Network ChangesMy Profile

  • This post is fantastic Nick! I must agree with Tom, one of the best blog posts I have had the pleasure of reading! An excellent read for new and veteran internet marketers that puts the why and how in perspective to accomplish success.

    On another note, I absolutely love your blog layout. Simple yet elegant. No clutter or the need to search for what you are looking for. Very well done!

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