There’s no such thing as an absolute. But I can tell you in the business world, I have come to find this to be true more often than not.
Have you ever been asked or offered to provide advice or a service to a company and agreed to do so without a charge? I certainly have. And I’ve witnessed others do it around me for my entire career.
One thing I’ve noticed that often is true much of the time: When people or companies don’t pay for advice or consulting, they don’t value it! The only way they pay attention and value the work is when they pay for it.
Certainly I’m not suggesting that you stop doing chores or helping out people that need help. That wasn’t my intent at all. Most definitely people that are in need, appreciate being provided a helping hand. I’ll do that my entire life!
A former boss of mine when I was fresh out of college introduced me to the value of using consultants in the workplace. I remember him saying that we will have to use consultants to deliver messages to senior management. Because frankly, senior management won’t listen to us. But when the company paid him $2000 a day, they listen. He reminded me that the key is to make sure that his recommendations are truly what will help us out. He used to laugh and say, “if you don’t fly in here on a silver bird drinking scotch at 30,000 feet, the senior leadership won’t listen to you” (Bill Tull). Sad but often true.
So my mantra is: It’s certainly always good to help out a friend. But when it comes to business and work and if you really want them to pay attention or appreciate your work: make them pay for it.