How can you give it away for free and make money at the same time? It is being done every day by hundreds, probably thousands of companies. It has become a new business model. Well, not that new, but still a lot of people are unaware of it.
One in-your-face example is Google.com. If you haven't already, go to Google.com and set up an account. It is free and easy. Then you will have access to a serious pile of wonderful free services. Yes, free! Services such as Gmail, Blogger.com, Webmaster Tools, YouTube, Feedburner, Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, iGoogle, RSS Reader, Orkut, Calendar, Google Places, Google Maps, and the list is always growing. Those people at Google seem to be always on the hunt for the next great free service! Go figure. Yet, Google is one of the most profitable and highly valued companies on the planet. I think that a lot of other companies can benefit from some of this Google philosophy.
One way you can do this is by giving away free information and expertise. This is what YouTube is all about. There are millions of people who are giving away lots of information that is of value. Some of that may lead a customer to make a purchase. We give away a lot of free information in our companies as well. This blog and many other blogs, newsletters and such, along with free consulting and other services. It is a lot of work, but when it is a labor of love, it weighs so little, yet benefits many. Consider giving more away.
There was a time, which was not long ago, where companies would protect their information like Fort Knox, and of course, some still do, but many are letting go of that idea and giving that information away. Expertise. How you do things. These can be of benefit to many. Sure they could copy, but that is not a concern to the bold who are opening their doors to share information. Think about it. You can now, today, go to the Internet and find pretty much anything you want to find. Answers of all kinds are readily available from how to chop an onion to how to fix a clothes dryer and millions of others.
The big change is not so much what you do, but more how you do it. It is the company culture, or the company philosophy, the twist that you put on things that makes the difference now. That's the thing that is very hard, if not sometimes impossible to copy. Realizing this, helps create courage where fear used to rule.
Take some time and study how giving things away for free can benefit your bottom line. It will be worth the effort and time!