August random thoughts: Never work for free

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“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” The Joker, Dark Knight

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night or early morning, and your brain starts thinking about things?

You know, when it is way to early to get up and start your day?

I have been there. In fact, it happened this morning.

These random thoughts really aren’t that random, but maybe they would seem so in any other context. These are some things I have been thinking about in business.

Perhaps you are thinking about them as well. What random thoughts about business have you had? Let us know in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.

Content marketing for local businesses

I often think about content marketing, and if a local business can make it work. I think they can.

The problem, I think, is that when companies persuade a local business to do content marketing, they don’t consider the context.

They will use techniques and strategies that are best reserved for online-based businesses and SaaS companies.

I think if you can mix your content type, use good distribution methods, and reach your target market, a local business can make content marketing work very well.

Another key is getting subscribers to your email list. Failure to do that and you create a leak on your website. They may come to read the content, but there is no way to convert them into future readers and, potentially, customers.

We should be careful about creating loads of top of the funnel content. Experienced content marketers explain that the kind of traffic you have with this type of content ends up being tire kickers.

So, can a small, local business use content marketing. Absolutely. It needs to take into consideration the big picture.

Another advantage for local businesses is that they do not have to create the best content on the internet. They have to create the best content in the geographical area that they serve.

Dominate the content in your area, and you will win. Even better, you will have evergreen content pulling readers and future customers to your website.

Man and Woman Discussing And Sharing Ideas
Photo by The Coach Space from Pexels


Unlimited content ideas? You bet, read here.

Speaking of content marketing, sometimes we struggle with ideas. I have been writing articles for 10+ years, and sometimes I struggle too.

A few years ago, I created a blogging topics ebook, which I need to update. Many people downloaded the guide because we are all seeking ways to increase topics for blogging.

These days, of course, content marketing is more than just blogging.

Finding topics means knowing how to brainstorm. Knowing how to brainstorm means knowing where to go to find ideas.

Kim Doyal of the Content Creators Planner has a fantastic article on finding topics for content.

She starts with the basics for content creation, which helps create a foundation. She moves into 15 different places to go to find content ideas. She ends with three tools you can also use to find content ideas.

Check out the article to find places to find topic ideas.

We should never do work for free.


If you need permission, I am going to give it to you. Never work for free. At least, never feel like you have to work for free.

In the content community, stories abound of agencies and companies having writers to write “free” test pieces. Most of the time, experienced writers will tell those not to do them.

Naturally, it depends on the situation. However, if you let them, clients will let you work for free.

Content updates, software updates, and any gig type jobs should never be done for free.

There is a scene in the Dark Knight produced by Christopher Nolan. The Joker, played by Heath Ledger, enters into an “underground meeting” of the criminal mobsters.

He explains to solve their problem; they will need to kill the Batman.

Joker, “It’s simple. We, uh, kill the Batman.”

This, of course, brings out laughter from the mobsters.

Salvatore Maroni asks, “If it is so simple, why haven’t you done it already?”

Joker replies, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”

See the scene in quotes here.

A client might talk about how it doesn’t take you long, or it just takes a few minutes, or whatever to get that work for free.

I have at least three problems with this idea.

First of all, a client has no idea how long it takes us to do something. They are bluffing.

Second, even if it takes you 5 minutes, it took you a long time to learn how to do it quickly.

Finally, when a client insists on something being done quickly and easily (without pay), they do not value your skill.

If you continue to let that client push you into doing little tasks for free, they will end up robbing you of a lot of money.

Set your boundaries.

If they are a good client, they will be happy to pay you.

Password managers are a beautiful thing.

Screenshot: -
Screenshot: – one of many on the market


Something I continue to be frustrated about is the number of clients who think it is our job to store their passwords.


If you store their password, charge them for it (see above).

It is 20 freakin 20, and they should be responsible enough by now to keep up with their passwords.

But here is a good thing, there are password managers.

LastPass gives you way more than you need for free. Most small businesses can use the free plan and have room left over.

Alas, LastPass is hardly the only one on the market. In this day in time, we have passwords for everything we do online. Our customers are no exception.

See a list here and here.

If they are struggling to handle their passwords, introduce them to a password manager. Show them how they help. They might appreciate the value add you just delivered, and you may never have to hear, “What’s my password again?”

Wrapping it up

How about 2020, huh? What a year. As I write this, we are awaiting Tropical Storm Laura (formerly Hurricane Laura) as she barrels forward through the state of Arkansas.

This past week, we saw two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. Two hurricanes at the same time is unprecedented.

I am really hoping we don’t have Sharknados.

I think for many of us, our emotions are exhausted. We are struggling to find our own self-care methods. Some of our clients have had to halt spending, which, in turn, cuts off income streams for us as well.

All of us have had to innovate at some point.

Here is hoping you all have a great September and an outstanding last quarter of a year that has been difficult to navigate.

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys