Are you sacrificing time and money for Exposure Bucks?

by Productivity

Do you spend precious time and money attending an event in exchange for exposure?

Do you give away your art, websites, music, knowledge and talent for free to be seen by the right people?

How many bills are you paying with those Exposure Bucks?

As a business owner and speaker on health and productivity, I get often approached about speaking engagements in the name of exposure. When I first started, I took as many of these opportunities as I could, crafting my signature talk, determining the length of each workshop, and finding out who my target audience was. This is commonly known as speaking to sell. When speaking to sell, I give my talk for free in exchange for pitching my services at the end. It’s expected and considered to be fair for giving away knowledge at no cost. After the first year, I had six seminars, a full-day workshop and knew the type of people that would sign up for coaching or pay for me to do a session or workshop. I now know that talking for free at local associations or networking events of small business owners will rarely pan out for me later as far as paid clientele. I can count on one hand how often this has had real cash-money results. The time and money involved to get prepared, drive to the event, present and follow-up, is significant and rarely even gets me Exposure Bucks. I will talk to larger associations, whose members are at least paying a fee to be part of the event. Sometimes I do these for free or in exchange for buying my book, depending on the people who are in the room.

Where are your Exposure Bucks?

My husband is a professional musician. He’s had several AHHMAZING opportunities to record with various singer/songwriters at no pay in exchange for the exposure he will get when they make it big. Funny, I can’t remember a single name of a person who has asked him. I guess they didn’t quite make it big enough. Does he play for free? Of course, but only when he wants to. He’s been in the business long enough to know local original music is not going to pay a lot, if anything, and that his profession is a labor of love and not big paychecks. He doesn’t spend as much time playing for Exposure Bucks now as he did when he was younger. Another friend is an artist who has donated pieces of art for raffles. None of these have panned out in future sales because typically, the person who wins them wouldn’t have bought what she had created. Art is personal and not a great raffle prize.
exposure

Courtesy of The Onion

Lastly, I have a colleague who has created several websites at rock-bottom prices for bigger companies to get Exposure Bucks. This has worked in his favor in some instances, as he needed to show examples of his work. However, he never gets calls from smaller businesses because they think he is too big for him. Exposure Bucks can definitely work. I’m on a plane right now flying back from a gig where my air and hotel was paid for, but my participation and speaking was not. I was in front of my target audience, and I visited a city I love. As a business owner, speaker, artist, musician, author, etc. don’t spend all your savings (time) on exposure without carefully evaluating every opportunity. Don’t agree out of guilt, pressure or because you know other people who do it. Consider your audience and what the real gain is. What’s not Exposure Bucks? Events, services or items that are donated for free to a cause or non-profit you believe in. I give my time twice a month as a career coach for Dress for Success Triangle as well as serve as a board trustee for The WELL. I don’t do either for Exposure, but because I genuinely want to help. Do I get visibility by doing them? Sometimes, but it’s not the primary reason I do it. Exposure Bucks can’t buy my medication, pay my mortgage, or even the latte I’m drinking. It can buy me future paying business if I discriminate to concentrate on the ones that pay the future dividends. What are you giving up for Exposure Bucks? Was there a time when Exposure Bucks worked in your favor?
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jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects