Free Services?

I have often given away my services for free. Friends and family, charity events, and even co-workers have benefitted from my skills. When I voluntarily give the gift of my talents, it make me feel happy and helpful, but often people will ask for free services and this has made me feel frustrated. I would never ask one of my friends who is a massage therapist, mechanic or stylist to provide their services for free. I thought maybe this was just because people under value my services. It has crossed my mind. I don’t have a formal education for my holistic healing services, so perhaps this makes them value it less. I reevaluated these ideas today after I read a Facebook friend’s post. She is a family law attorney. Defiantly nothing frou frou about that. She put in her time getting her education and experience. So why do people think it is okay to ask her for free advice?
In the past, I myself have undervalued my training and talents. I did lots of readings for free. I felt bad charging people for this. I have also done this with my nursing career. Responding to a Facebook friend who was looking to hire a nurse to fly to another state and help transport her aging parent back to Minnesota. I had the flexibility to do it, so I responded that I could. I was asked what I wanted to be paid for doing this. I told them they could pay me whatever they wanted. Can you imagine your plumber saying, just give me what you think is fair. In the end they paid me much less than I would have made if I had worked the shifts I had lined up for the same timeframe. I ended up losing money. I was happy I could help them get their very sweet senior back home, but I felt foolish for not setting and getting a price that was fair.
Do you suppose that this happens in all career fields? Do the mechanics and electricians get asked to do things for free? How about pilots? My husband’s dad was an electrician and he said it happened to him. I also heard a story about a physician who would not tell anyone what his profession was when he went places, because so many people asked for free advice or to take a look at something. My father was a mason and I know he built many fireplaces for free over the years. This weekend, I was telling a friend about the idea for this blog. She said her sister is a paralegal and frequently gets asked to write letters for people and even businesses for free. I am amazed at how wide spread this practice is. Why do we not feel we should pay people for their time and talents when we ask for their help? When we are asked to give away our time and talents, why do we feel bad saying no?
I do believe in “pay it forward” and I also believe in helping others because the whole world benefits from a rise in vibration. I am always happy to trade services. I used to belonged to a healers co-op for awhile. We traded services all the time. It was awesome! I felt the healthiest I have ever felt without the fustration. There are lots of ways to find trades for services. Social networks have become a great place to put out that you are looking for X and offering Y in exchange. There is a neighborhood social media site called nextdoor.com that connects neighborhoods. There is also a program called Hour Dollars that helps people exchange services. Put in your time in the areas you work best in to gain hours towards something you need. If you need a service that you can not afford, I would encourage you to check into these options. You can always ask a friend but be willing to do something to repay their kindness. There are so many things that you could offer. House cleaning, yard work, organization, artwork, child care, make a meal,  pet sitting, or any talent you possess, that they need, could be offered.
The attorney I spoke of had a list of rules for who can get free services from her. Not a bad idea to at least come up with criteria for yourself. (even if you don’t put it out there for everyone to know) Establishing who you are willing to give free services too. If you do decide you will do it for free for someone, where is the limit to this? Say you are a painter; will you paint one room in someone’s house? Paint their whole house? Paint their entire house every time they get the whim to change color schemes and ask you to do it?
I have said in the past that if we don’t ask, we do not give people the opportunity to say yes. Just be sure, what you are asking for, is fair. If it is a big request you are making be willing to have an offering in exchange. I feel that if all we do is take, take, take in this lifetime, eventually, Karma will even things out. For your own karma and relationships, please think twice before you ask someone to do something for free. When you are asked to do something for free, please think about it before you respond. Remember that your time and talents are special and worth something. Remember to value yourself and those things you have to offer the world. Try to respond in a way that feels good and allows you and the requester to know the value of your time and talents.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you think people should do things for free? Do you feel that your friends and family members should not expect to be paid when they do things for you? Where do you think the line is drawn? Do you get asked to do things for others for free?

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