Why I’m No Longer Giving It Away For Free

Free consultations are a big part of my business.

Talking with people and understanding how I can help them to achieve more balance in their business is important, and necessary, to make sure I’m delivering the right service to the right person...which means that I do a good amount of consultations.

Side bar: there's nothing more frustrating than spending an hour on a call with a potential client, learning about their business, offering solutions, providing awesome benefits to the work we will do together - and then them ghosting following the consult, even when you do the follow-up! No "now isn't the right time for me," no "I don't think we're a good fit," just radio silence. That shit is rude. Don't be like them - you're better than that :)

While I know consultations are a necessary component of my business, I’m also keenly aware of how valuable my time is, so giving away 30-60 min of my business expertise away for free a couple times a week isn’t the smartest move for me. Especially as a woman. Especially as a single mother. Especially as a Black single mother.

The statistics are actually extremely depressing.

If we’re talking about wage only, for every dollar a white man makes, a Black woman only makes 63 cents.

If we factor in what is called the motherhood penalty, which is basically a wage penalty women experience when they decide to have children, “mothers of every race are paid less than fathers, but the pay gap is the largest for Black, Native American, and Latina mothers, who earn just 51, 49, and 46 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers.”

Essentially, I literally cannot afford to give away my time because in doing so I am digging myself into an ever greater financial burden. I must be diligent in how I approach my business world if I want to have longevity as an entrepreneur and longevity is the goal, as well as some semblance of financial independence.

So all of the above means that I can no longer do free consultations. I can no longer meet people who simply want to "pick my brain" without any real intention of hiring me. I can no longer squander away my time without compensation because I live in a world where my value has to be held and honored exclusively by me, because a lot of the world doesn't see me valuable as a Black woman and as a Black mother. I must do that myself.

It would be foolish of me to continue to do things for free. So I'm not.

What I've decided to do is charge a $50 fee for my consultations - aka discovery calls - where me and a potential client decide if we are a good fit for one another. My consultations last anywhere from 30-60 min, and no matter the length of the call, they all require me to do a good amount of research on the potential client before hand so I can come to the meeting prepared. If after the discovery call, an agreement to work together is established, the $50 fee will be credited towards any work me and the client do together. 

I call that a win for both of us.

I’ll leave you with this quote from this article that hit me like a on of bricks: “...motherhood is one of the single strongest predictors of both bankruptcy and poverty in the U.S.”

Think about that for a bit. I know I have been.


Toi Smith


I write about women + business through an intersectional feminist lens.
When I'm not writing I am mothering, learning, and loving.
If you're interested in buttoning up your business and making more money,
I help women-identified humans do that too.

Click here to find out more.