Bear with me.
I think you should still give your services to those in need. Non-profits, start-ups, the poor, the hurting, etc. But do it judiciously. I have had people come up to me wanting my marketing advice for free. I have sat down with them, given of my time and then never hear from them again.
What I found works better, in cases where someone clearly just needs a tiny bit of help, is to still offer to give it, in return for something – even if that something is just a testimonial or a referral. First it makes the other person feel better, that they’re not taking advantage of you. Second, it makes them more likely to come back later because they won’t feel guilty that they still owe you something.
I’ve had people help me and request that I repay the favor to someone else, paying it forward. Sometimes those are the most fun, because your gift keeps growing! I view my mentorships like that.
I’ve traded marketing advice for tax advice. In my family the usual price for help is some home cooking, which I’ve learned to be darned good at! Heck we all know the price of getting friends over to help you move is at least some pizza and sodas!
Absolutely give! But don’t be afraid to ask for something in return. I’m not saying be a bully about it, and there will always be those special cases that really are just charity.
Being a Giver isn’t about being a Martyr. If you’re thinking that either you haven’t read The Go-Giver, or you need to refresh on the fifth secret to stratospheric success.