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Do You Work For Free?

I attended a seminar this weekend where two people upon finding out about my profession asked me to scan their energy. The first person’s scan revealed the common combination of beautiful energy mixed with some congested areas. We chatted about what he was doing right to help his energy flow well and what he could add to his routine. When the second gentleman joined the conversation and asked for a scan, I obliged and immediately began clearing some of the heavier congestion in his heart chakra. When I finished and told him what I had done, he thanked me graciously and the conversation continued. It seemed from the look on the first man’s face that he was wondering why I cleared the second guy and not him. The answer? The first man was not at any risk. He practices yoga, is young and strong, and is of a mindset that will lead him towards constant improvement in his life. And I wasn’t going to say right in front of the second gentleman – this guy is at risk. Not, hey! Let’s head to the emergency room risk. But that part of me that makes me good at this work knew that he needed my help and this was the right time to take care of it. So I did. Intuition is that simple when you get used to following it.

Today, logic is taking the upper hand and I’m reasoning through those events and other related things that come up regularly. The primary issue that comes up amazingly often is that some people think that I should do all healing work for free. A client recently described to me how one of her co-workers was outraged that she was paying me $10 for a healing session saying I should do it out of the goodness of my heart. Did you do a double take just then? Ten bucks isn’t very much to a lot of people yet this woman was ranting about the hugely discounted rate I had given my client.

I met a nurse at the same seminar that cares for patients dying of cancer in their home. Does anyone expect her to work for free? I can guarantee you that she has a loving and gentle heart – a must for a great nurse. Should she work for free because she cares enough about people to help them? Would she have time to help people in the same way if she had to earn her income in another way?

These thoughts lead me to think of my own choices. Healing has never been my only source of income. And although I could do much good in the world if I weren’t working on other projects, most people simply cannot afford to pay me what I’m worth as a healer.

In many of my workshops I share this example from my own life. I learned to do energy healing because I needed to heal. I spent 5-10 hours a day working on myself the first year. Most of the healers I know of charge anywhere from $60 to $400 an hour. Five hours times 365 days at, let’s say, a low average of $80 an hour is over $140,000 for that first year.

Could you afford that? Can people who are truly ill and can’t even get to work to make money afford that? That’s why I teach self-healing workshops. That’s why I have multiple sources of income – so I can afford to charge some people only $10. Other people know they can afford more, so they pay more. Some people even pay my full rate!

But I still feel the dilemma in my heart. Just how much better would the world be if I could spend all my time healing? For now I compromise, I work on my other sources of income, teach people how to do as much themselves as they can, and most importantly to me – I practice. I practice and learn constantly with the thought in mind that if it took me 10 minutes instead of 20 I could heal twice as much or twice as many people.

As always your thoughts and feelings on the subject are welcome. I can assure you my clients who don’t leave comments have expressed how much they enjoy the insight of readers who do.

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52 Responses to Do You Work For Free?

  1. Hi Teresa,
    Very moving article …. in that you talk about being divided somewhat, yet other incomes help to balance what you are trying to do. I give a way a lot, and I have learned just a bit – to value myself, I have to value and charge for what I do – regardless if it is healing work or not. I took a course a few months ago that talked about giving services away and for me I didn’t value myself. There is something about “paying” for a service that brings value to you, or even bartering is good. I want to give all my teaching away to pregnant women – helping them, and I have, but then, I feel I am giving myself away at the same time and it doesn’t feel good. Your approach to “teaching” your clients how to heal themselves is an excellent way as it teaches them to be self-reliant and responsible for there own health. It’s a wonderful thing you do – write more about it – would love to read it … ( I am a Reiki Master)
    Lesly´s last blog ..Are You Brainwshing Yourself?

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    You’re right, Lesly. Some exchange no matter how small can lift a person up from the hand-out syndrome. That’s why I always charge at least a little.
    Glad you like my self-healing approach. I started with it when I found that the clients who did their homework got better much faster and stayed better. I will definitely start writing more about it.

    [Reply]

  2. Teresa,
    Sounds like you are battling a paradox. Truly, there is no right or wrong answer to this. You have to decide what you feel is congruent with who you are and stand in that power. People who expect free services will not really benefit from them anyway. All they’re hearing is FREE!

    You have to dig deep and find your own value. If you do not value yourself, no one else will! No one can tell you what that is, only you can decide. Block out the nay-sayers and disbelievers. You are unique as a person. Believe in yourself and what you can do. That will cause your vibrations to become higher and your power will increase. Focus on that instead.

    “What you think of me is none of my business!” Repeat that whenever the words of others cause you to doubt in your power.
    You rock!
    Val :)
    Val Wilcox´s last blog ..When the Why is Big Enough…

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Excellent advise, Val. My problem will always be that I remember what it was like to be so sick I couldn’t work much and that a proper diagnosis took two years because I couldn’t pay for the tests. I would not have gotten so close to death if I’d had more money. So I will probably always find a way to give people in a tough situation a discount. It’s just those people who make the assumption that I “should” that seem out of place.

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  3. Wow Teresa, I am blown away by your giving spirit.
    I have realized that when attempting to assist, when given an inch, some take a mile.
    and the better you become at your craft, the bigger the separation grows of people feeling Gratitude towards your highly valuable service and those who will be dismayed that the service is not free. How people are to this regard, reveals the person’s own level of sanity. If I could offer a gift to each individual, it would be the gift of personal certainty. Feeling safe in their own environment knowing they are at cause and responsible for their lives and the things that occur in it.. In that way people would receive what you are offering, weather getting healed or not, and pay it forward!!! You are beautiful! Best, Lisa
    Lisa Molina´s last blog ..Fatal Mistake as an Entrepreneur

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Lisa! I love the gift you would – or should I say, do give to people of personal certainty. I felt that gift flowing to me just from you comment!

    [Reply]

  4. Oh my dear friend….. You HAVE to charge. As a fellow long-time healer and psychology background gal, I’ve learned one very important thing: People have to pay in order to take the work you are doing seriously. I had the same dilemma years ago, but a mentor of mine explained the above to me. When people do not pay, the exchange sometimes will not “stick”, but when they have to pay you, they put you in a position of a “healer” “mentor” etc.
    They value you. So my friend, charge them and charge them well because you are using your gifts and that is energy. If they don’t pay you well, you wouldn’t have the time or place to heal them.
    By the way I love the term “the emergency risk room” I was cracking up because I know how that is.
    Keep on sharing with us, we all need your love and I am grateful to be friends with you.
    Donna
    Donna Merrill´s last blog ..10 TIPS ON BRANDING YOURSELF

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Again, thank you for your kind words, Donna. I value your opinion and insight because I know you’ve been there.

    [Reply]

  5. Oh My I don’t know if I want to enter into this conversation. I guess I see healing as a gift and a “God” given gift. I do believe our bodies are energy and energy can be blocked, but my husband can use pressure points to unblock energy. I have a friend awhile back had some real serious health issue she went to an alternative medicine route, this person has a clinic .
    To me healing is a gift….
    Debby

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Debby! Thank you for joining the conversation! Your viewpoint is more common than you might think. And brings up again the problem I mentioned in my post – do I turn from healing as a profession and make my money in another way. This, of course, leaves very little time left to heal and help people. Do I spend 40-60 hours a week helping and healing or do I make my money in a different way in those 40-60 hours and spend 3-4 hours a week healing and helping? 3-4 hours a week is all the time I have now for any extras beyond earning money and the normal family/home maintenance type activities we all have to do. Who then would I choose to help and who would I let suffer because I have no more time to give?

    And this brings other God-given gifts to my mind.

    I used to work with a brilliant man who had a God-given gift to understand and solve problems in his work. Should he have gone without pay because God blessed him with brilliant insight?

    My father-in-law died under the care of a loving nurse who has a God-given gift to bring peace to the dying and their families. Should she go without pay because God has blessed her with such a loving heart and such an insightful ability of how to serve others?

    We have probably all been in the office of an unusually gifted physician who was stepped beyond his training and listened to the insight only God can give in order to heal a patient. Should that doctor go without pay because God has blessed him with an extra gift?

    My son has a God-given gift of artistic talent that he uses in creative work on the computer. Should he turn away from his studies in college in a field where everyone sees his brilliance and move toward a profession where he has no gift because getting paid for using your God-given gifts is somehow wrong?

    Quite a lot to think about!

    [Reply]

  6. Hey Theresa,
    I don’t know you & only saw your blog because Donna Merrill is a facebook friend, but as someone who has been disabled for 11 years, I praise you for giving a discount to those who literally have to choose between food, shelter or healing. I don’t know what your gift is, whether you can only do it in person or by phone, but bless you. I agree that people shouldn’t expect you to do it for FREE, but that’s their baggage, not yours. It appears to me that you have a very good heart and I hope that the Universe sends you plenty of high income clients who can pay your full price to balance out the ones who can’t.
    Many Blessings,
    Karla Setchel
    http://www.KarlaSetchel.com

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thank you, Karla! You have the perspective of someone who knows the struggle as I have known it. It’s a terrible choice to make when you’re deciding which of life’s essentials you’ll give up in order to pay for something you need for your health! Blessings to you also – health is easier to achieve than we sometimes think. I recovered from some very serious problems. You can, too.

    [Reply]

  7. Excellent article and good points are expressed here. For me, the first one that resonated with me is that you allow your intuition to guide you. There is a lot of talk about valuing yourself based on $$$, however after doing a lot of soul searching I tend to disregard what I hear and follow my own intuition on whether I charge, and if I do at what rate. I do value my service, and to me that is what counts. When I support others I feel need my service I am rewarded in many ways. Sometimes that service is free, and other times I charge discounted fees, and other times I charge full rate. How do we put a dollar amount for our service? I believe we use our training, and the cost of the training as a guideline, but it is all relative to the economy. I do not value myself any less if I give my service away, since it may be 10X the value for that particular person, at that particular time in their life. I will continue to follow my intuition, and let my inner emotions determine my value.
    Wendy MacKay´s last blog ..Action

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thank you for sharing how you evaluate what to charge Wendy! It’s helpful input for anyone making a decision like this.

    [Reply]

  8. Dear Teresa,

    I am grateful to you for bringing this topic to mind.
    It is dear to me since I also have pondered on it for a long time.
    I have done healing to so many over the past few years and I never charged them a penny.
    Still, in truth, everything is energy and the flow of energy is made of its continuous transmutation carried by the giving and receiving. When you are giving and not receiving from the client, they actually can’t benefit from your healing as much (or at all) because the one sided flow of you just giving and not receiving is blocking the healing. It is just a natural law of the universe. Even if you have a great desire to help unless you also receive, the client will not benefit from what you give them. This is the beauty of the universal laws of nature. No one expects to go to the store and get groceries for free, why would they expect to use you for free? The energy flows only when propelled by both giving and receiving. I have a lot to share on the subject, but will let it be for now sending you beautiful high vibrating energy and wish you enjoy it.
    In addition, when people get healing (or anything) for free, they don’t value it because they have not paid for it. They subconsciously accept that if was valuable, they would have been asked to pay for it!!! It has always been like that. Think about it. I am happy to talk with you on person about it. This is a topic for me too. And start charging for your healing. :)

    Infinite love and gratitude to you,
    Venus :)
    Venus :) ´s last blog ..Listen To Yourself?

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks Venus! Your wisdom is always welcome here.

    [Reply]

  9. Aloha Teresa,

    Thank you for being so transparent in your blog post. I believe you already know your answer and you will find the appropriate amounts to charge which will be a win-win situation for both you and your clients.

    We all have our gifts and our value to the marketplace place is already there. All we are to do is be open to receiving. The amount will flow as we allow it in and release resistance to abundance.

    Much love & aloha,
    Kellie :)
    Kellie Hosaka´s last blog ..Word of Mouth + Social Media = Exponential World of Mouth

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    “release resistance to abundance” hmmm, I’ve been working on this one. Thanks, Kellie, for bringing it to the front of the line!

    [Reply]

  10. Teresa,
    This is an interesting post and one that hits home with me as well. The first few years of my massage therapy practice I offered a sliding scale until one day one of my clients suggested that I should just charge what I think I’m worth. A light bulb went off and I settled on an amount….from that day forward I never once had anyone question my rates and my business exploded. I understand wanting to help those in need but like others have stated above there is an exchange that happens not only in the healing professions but in all types of businesses. Value your work! Thanks for this wonderful post :-)
    Take care,
    Becca
    Becca´s last blog ..Are You Connecting With Your Clients?

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thank you Becca! What a great personal experience to share!

    [Reply]

  11. Teresa, without commenting on the merits of any occupation or service, I find it perfectly honest to receive payment for services rendered. You will always find the “Nay Sayers” butting in with silly and often stupid opinions about something they have no knowledge. You take that “Gift” and you run with it. “Oops there goes another Rubber Tree Plant”
    Nelson´s last blog ..“RE: The Little Pager that Could”

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Nelson!! You always make me feel better. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  12. Hi Teresa,

    Being in a service industry & also being a client to many who provide services that I use and value, I would not begin to think that they should offer their services for no charge. I may not always like how much services cost, yet for me personally, the value of what I receive is worth it, and as you mention, for many of these services, the person has spent many hours learning how to do their trade & spent money to learn. On occasion, I have been blessed by a couple of these people I with with to offer their services at no charge to me for various reasons. I never expected this though. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this. I think you should charge for services you offer. :-)

    Christine
    Christine Casey´s last blog ..“3,317 Counter Points, Was It Worth Loosing My Family?”

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Christine!
    I wonder if you’ve hit on the exact concept that makes it right – you didn’t expect the service for free, therefore it was a gift you greatly appreciated!

    [Reply]

  13. Hi Teresa,

    This is so fantastic! I give away so much of my valuable time and yet I have a real problem asking for money. I am always feeling like I should do things for free. I wonder what would happen if I started asking for payment? I hope that I can begin to value myself in a way that allows me to ask for what I deserve.

    Teresa, You deserve to be paid by everyone!

    Mentor Mama

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Hi, Mentor Mama!
    I’m sure you read everyone’s advice here. Guess you better start charging!

    [Reply]

  14. Namaste Teresa,

    Wow… You have such a HUGE heart! While there are mitigating circumstances – such as one’s ability to pay – I have always admired healers such as yourself, who look beyond the monetary compensation and truly do it for the betterment of mankind.

    Having said that, I do think that there should be some exchange of energies for the work that’s being done. I have no doubt that if you continue to develop and build up your other streams of revenue, the universe will reward you handsomely for the selfless-service that you are giving so generously!

    Best Wishes ~ Chris

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Wow Chris! Thanks! I really appreciate your comment!

    [Reply]

  15. Theresa,

    I too have struggled with this concept. As I began blogging and interacting with other bloggers it became clear that I had some skills that others were searching for help with. One of the awesome advantages of being involved in close knit communities like those I have found myself in is that people are always willing to help one another out.

    I’ve done many jobs for online friends who have paid me for my services, and have found it difficult at times not only to charge but to place enough value on my time. Still working on that one….

    We need to find a good balance between being generous and helpful and honoring ourselves by placing value on our time and talents.
    Kathy Jodrey´s last blog ..Online Marketing Experts 5 Step Process That Never Fails

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Ah, balance! Good point, Kathy. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  16. Teresa,
    You raise such a great point here. Those of us in the healing arts seem to have that inner struggle (at least I do). We must face the issue of helping people, which is our calling, versus creating income and having a business, which is a necessity while living on this planet. We all need to pay our bills.

    My solution is to charge for my services and give a certain percentage back in low fee work. This is my balance. And of course, we all have to deal with the people we meet in our social lives that want “freebies” and free advice. It’s usually worth what we pay for it.

    Take care,
    Adam
    Dr. Adam Sheck´s last blog ..Do You Want More Intimacy

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks for stopping by Adam. I like the idea of giving a certain percentage back. Right now mine are set by a certain numbers of appointments each week.

    [Reply]

  17. Teresa,
    Not only did I love the authenticity and transparency of your blog post, but I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading every comment. As a licensed psychotherapist and a somatic bodywork therapist, I have often dealt with that same issue. Especially if someone has had therapy before for a much less expensive fee, they may just expect me to conform and to lower my fees. But then that same person tells me about their upcoming vacation or something they just purchased, and I realize that they DO have available funds – and one of the reasons they have the funds is that they bargain to get others to work for less money.

    This is where intuition comes in. Some people, caring and even hard working people, just do not currently have enough money, especially in this economy. And for those, offering a discount feels fine – but not for free.

    My thought is twofold. First, start visualizing clients coming to see you that are happy to pay you your full fee, whatever it is that you decide is appropriate for you. Imagine these clients handing you cash, writing checks, and smiling and healing.

    Second, perhaps if you begin to think about charging for your TIME, not charging for healing. YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE. The healing happens when people pay to spend time with you. You are not charging for healing. YOU are not doing the healing. God or the universal energy or energetic flow or something like that is doing the healing. You are just a vehicle for that healing to occur. You are providing the space, the attitude, and your own state of body/mind as a catalyst for healing to occur.
    Dr. Erica Goodstone´s last blog ..When Love is Not Enough

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Oh Erica! I had the vacation thing happen to me too! It really made me feel used after that person had told me such a sincere sounding “poor me” story. Obviously, health was not their priority at the time – vacation was! Thanks for your comment!

    [Reply]

  18. I really resonate with this post. So many people have issues with people in the healing field or spirituality field making money. Caroline Myss talks about this a lot. Thanks so much for sharing this.
    Nicole Rushin´s last blog ..Is Your On-Line Business Weed Free -amp Retail Ready

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Hi, Nicole! If you get a chance, put a link to some of what Caroline Myss has written here. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  19. When I was a kid, I had to work (do chores) to earn anything I got. If I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t get it. When I was able to afford something new, the appreciation I had for it was immense. I believe the same is true for us adults, when we pay for something, we give it a greater value than something for free. Furthermore, healers have the natural impulse to “give away” there gifts because they are such giving and loving people. However, I believe God gives us gifts and talents for our sustenance. God gives us common sense for a reason, the Bible says, if you don’t work, you don’t eat…
    Clint White´s last blog ..What is a Favicon and Why You Need One

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks for sharing, Clint! “I believe God gives us gifts and talents for our sustenance. God gives us common sense for a reason,” – Make you stop and think, doesn’t it?

    [Reply]

  20. Hi Teresa,

    I will pass along a comment that my Dad conveyed to me many years ago. We call him “philosopher Dad,” because he tends to come up with many one-liners that, for me at least, hold a powerful message:

    “If you don’t value yourself, no-one else will.”

    Namaste,
    Tanya

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your Dad’s wisdom, Tanya!

    [Reply]

  21. I often think it would be great to give away my services as well – but the fact of the matter is that people would not take it as seriously and I am in a business where you have to take it seriously or it doesn’t work. I would imagine healing is similar. You need to want it completely or perhaps even if they are healed it won’t last? You have an interesting story – would love to know more.
    Mark Hiatt´s last blog ..Networking Lessons From a Cockroach

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks, Mark! You are completely right that people have to really it or they won’t be healed! I’ve never thought of not taking it seriously as hindering someone’s healing before. More than any other comment that jars me! If not charging, therefore not being taken seriously, might keep someone from actually healing…ouch…now I feel like I’ve done a disservice to some people!

    [Reply]

  22. Hey Teresa,
    I think you should increase your rates!
    I am also in the healing field and for a long time had the mindset that there was something wrong with asking for a reasonable amount of money in exchange for the value i provide, as though healing was something different and separate from everything else we do in life. If you are investing in constantly bettering yourself as a healer, if you are committed to providing the best service possible, if you are prepared to exchange your valuable time to help another person as a professional, why should you not be paid as much as any other skilled professional offering as much value would be paid..The issue is that we seem to have divorced our spirituality from our ideas of who we are to such an extent, that somehow healing is seen like some sort of divine gift that would be less pure because it is tainted with money. Sure it is a divine gift and a talent, however it is one that is available to everyone, and some of us decide we want to work with and develop this talent as healers. This is not different from having a basic talent as a soccer player or an actor or a teacher or whatever, which is then developed through years of practice in to a professional who earns a very healthy living from it. The other part to this is that Money is simply the energy of gratitude, and is neither more material or more spiritual than anything else.
    I am sure this will be a controversial view, thanks for stimulating this discussion!
    Johneal
    Johneal Rouse´s last blog ..Reflective Meditation – Developing strength in controlling our Mind and Emotions

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Hi Johneal! After Mark’s comment and now yours that “Money is simply the energy of gratitude” I actually thinking of taking your advice and raising my rates!

    [Reply]

  23. Teresa, thanks for this heart felt blog, everyone’s comment has some of that same sentiment that I felt as I read the post. Keep up the good work sharing from the heart.
    Lori Robertson´s last blog ..Rejection – How To Never Get Rejected Again

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks, Lori! Good to hear from you!

    [Reply]

  24. Hi Teresa,
    In Seth Godin’s most recent book Linchpin, he encourages us to give away gifts to the Tribes we belong to out of generosity and to foster a new culture based on giving rather than market value. However, he points out that in a larger culture that is driven by market values and price points, these gifts can be misconstrued or worse, misused. Until there is a collective acceptance of giving, those of us who love to give will be faced with the paradox you raise in this post.

    However, I have learned through various workshops and discussions with other entrepreneurs that placing a monetary value on one’s work is seen as a source of power. People should pay us for the talents and skills we possess that can improve the quality of other’s lives.

    I think it is when we undervalue ourselves and our gifts that we do the most harm.

    Mary Lou
    Mary Lou Kayser´s last blog ..Is It in Our Best Interest to Accept All Friends on Facebook

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  25. “I think it is when we undervalue ourselves and our gifts that we do the most harm.”
    A powerful statement, Mary Lou! Whether it’s harm to ourselves or to others, it’s something to be overcome!

    [Reply]

  26. The fact that you even made this blog post shows that you have such a huge heart. It seems that no matter what you do, or where you do it, you will find people that realy just dont “get it”. There is nothing wrong with that, but generally they are the ones that make comments like the one mentioned in the post. Unfortunately, so many people recieve this type of “negative” feedback, and start to second guess thier own self worth and value. I’ve been there many times. When you really look at a situation such as this logically, its obvious that you are doing the right thing by charging what you charge. Keep it up.

    Justin
    Justin Glover´s last blog ..How To Get Unlimited Free Traffic And Opt-Ins By DOMINATING The Search Engines

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Thanks, Justin! Your thoughtful words are appreciated.

    [Reply]

  27. Wow, what a lot of comments and most of them so in depth.

    It probably has been said before, but here I go:
    I agree, the nurse would not be expected to work for free.
    Venturing into new territory means we need to build our confidence and self worth in regards to working in this ‘pioneering’ way.
    I am realizing I need more reprogramming my mind on this subject, and I am glad I have the tools. Now it just means using them.

    Thank you so much.

    Love and Joy
    from
    Yorinda

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    This one definitely hit a nerve with a lot of people, Yorinda. Thanks for your comment and good lkuck with your “reprogramming.”

    [Reply]

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