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We Give and Give and Give – But We Still Have to Pay the Rent

A question has been asked. A powerful question. One that nearly brought me to my knees. It needs to be asked again, but you must also understand the context behind it.

Why do givers not ask to be paid?

Liz Strauss of Successful and Outstanding Bloggers is asking the question in On a Blue December Night: Asking Why Do Givers Not Ask to Be Paid?

She needs an answer. So do the rest of us who open our veins up on our blogs and give an give and give, and honestly, do not expect a return, but deserve one anyway.

There are times when I wish I could be one of those who boldly go where I can’t. “Give me money and I’ll give you my secret recipe to success.” Not me. I say, “Show up and I’ll tell you everything for free!” It’s the way I think the world should work, but how do I pay the rent with that attitude.

Liz dares to ask the question. She’s the brave one. It’s a powerful question, and it needs some powerful, thoughtful responses.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted December 29, 2007 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow, Lorelle.
    Brave? Thank you.

  2. Weaver
    Posted December 29, 2007 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


    I think it’s a natural, sociological requirement of all of us to be able to contribute productively to the common environment: to be seen by others sharing that same environment to be a creative/productive entity, with the social acceptance factor that comes from that.

    There is a second factor that accentuates that requirement that comes from being trapped in an environment where every aspect of production has a fiscal value attached to it – this can become so unhealthy as to reduce a human being to the point where they, not just believe but, know that their sum value as a human being is the amount of their weekly wage.

    The pleasure (actual psychological release) of giving is something that is actively practiced in Buddhism and is obvious in such manifestations as the free/open source software movement.

  3. Posted December 30, 2007 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Well, I pay the rent (and a few other things) with advertising income.

    I also do consulting and my site brings me those opportunities also.

    But.. it also brings me people looking for free advice. I have a page that tells them I would love to be able to give free help, but it just takes too much time, so I have to charge.. I don’t charge a lot for answering a simple question, $10 to $30 if by email, $50 and up if by phone, but the intent to charge is made plain.

    If their question really is simple, and if it is email (where I can answer at my leisure), I may not charge, especially if their “answer” is something in my archives. I do politely give a small lesson in how to use my search box though 🙂

    If someone keeps coming back, I suggest that they need to sign up for one of my monthly or yearly consulting plans.. again, not expensive (starting at $125 a month and $560 a year for email) but it does establish the relationship – I’m not your good buddy who is happy to give you free advice.

  4. Posted December 30, 2007 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    “we still have to pay the rent…”

    We certainly do. Paying the rent without selling my soul has been one of the major challenges of my adult life. (Challenges of my childhood involved equally harrowing conundrums, like how not to get beat up for being a book nerd… but I digress.)

    You have an immensely helpful blog here and if I were you, I wouldn’t hesitate to add a paypal tip jar so we readers can show our appreciation!

    Thanks again for all of your invaluable help!

  5. Posted December 30, 2007 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    It goes back to intent. What is your purpose and goal? Maybe you have no desire to have a money making blog, maybe you do. I tend to look at this blogging thing like I do investing. You can take snap shots of time, but you really can’t do a good job of assessing value without looking at the whole picture over a very long time. Problem is, most don’t get those huge early returns in blogging and give up. If you can find monetary sustenance in the early periods and can hang on, I think over the long run perhaps the question becomes moot. After all, longevity is one of the highest performance measures in any business.


  6. Posted December 30, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I went to Liz’s blog and left a detailed comment. Thanks for the link Lorelle.

  7. Posted December 30, 2007 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    When I started my blog, my intent was to have it serve as a free online Classroom Management and Traumatic Response resource center. I still don’t see my blog or my blogging goals any differently today, almost 2 years later, eventhough I now blog about Personal Development. I do think that once a blogger has amassed a good amount of information, e.g., Garr Reynolds, then they can work on putting it together in a book that they can sell. I think it also depends on if people value what you offer. I do think that sometimes bloggers see what they offer as valuable but others may not see the same thing.

  8. Posted December 30, 2007 at 4:32 pm | Permalink


    You said “I do think that sometimes bloggers see what they offer as valuable but others may not see the same thing.”

    I think more often it’s the opposite. Most people simply do not know what they are worth..

    There will always be people will tell you that they can get what you offer for less, so you should sell to them for that price. My response is always “So go buy it there” and nothing more.

    You never know what you can get until you ask for it. There are people who do the things I do for one quarter of what I charge.. that’s fine by me.

    You never know what you can get until you ask for it.

    Yes, I know I repeated that. It’s worth repeating.

  9. Posted January 1, 2008 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    I’m sure the motive varies among people… many bloggers do benefit directly or indirectly. However, as to those who really don’t, one should not be surprised. There are 7 Billion people out there, and only a small fraction blogs; naturally the ones who do are the ones that find it pleasant, or interesting, or fun to publish their thoughts or works, and to engage in the ensuing interaction with the rest of the online community.

    Years ago I was an amateur radio operator, and I spent my nights talking to total strangers – there was no financial reward to that either, but it was a wonderful hobby. It also taught me a lot of technology that paved the way to a career in Engineering; but that was an unplanned outcome, not the motive. Likewise, if you like blogging, you don’t need financial incentive to do it… though eventually you may get some benefit as an outcome of doing what you enjoy. What could be better?

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] on WordPress asks the question – why don’t givers ask to be paid? Givers are those resource people friends and acquaintances turn to for help for answers, for an […]

  2. […] We Give and Give and Give – But We Still Have to Pay the Rent […]

  3. […] We Give and Give and Give – But We Still Have to Pay the Rent: Liz Strauss was the brave one to ask this question, and I’m still watching closely to see how the blogosphere responds to “When we give so much of ourselves and work for free on our blogs, how do we ask for money to pay the rent?” […]

  4. […] We Give and Give and Give – But We Still Have to Pay the Rent […]

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