Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory are back in this fourth and final episode of the free to fee series. The first episode taught us that free content is about information. Next, we learned how moving to fee helps with intention, and fee plus me involves attention. Listen in to discover how the fourth part of the free to fee series has to do with appreciation and:
- How to be purposeful in being sustainable
- How to use resources wisely
- How to creatively collaborate for a win-win
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Meet Your Hosts
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
Cheri is the co-author of four books, co-host of the Grit ‘n’ Grace podcast, co-leader of the Sensitive and Strong Community Café, and founder of Write Beside You communicator coaching.
Cheri and her college sweetheart, Daniel, have been married for 32 years and live in California near their two adult children.
Free-to-Fee: Finding Favor
Free-to-Fee: Finding Favor
Kathi: Well, hey friends, welcome to the Writing at the Red House podcast where we gather at
the table to break bread and tell tales with some of our favorite writers and speakers who love
to share the story of God's extravagant love. And back with me for our final – that makes me
sad, but yay – final time together, where we're talking about From Free to Fee to Fee Plus Me.
And now we've got a fourth element about how to bring money into your ministry. It's Cheri
Gregory. Cheri, welcome back.
Cheri: Hey, Kathi, thanks so much for having me.
Kathi: Oh, my goodness. You know, you've had such a busy year with a couple of books
coming out and lots of things going but really the biggest change I've seen in your ministry is
being purposeful about being sustainable.
Kathi: And what a beautiful thing. I think, you know, I think at different times you and I have
both been, I'll just say it, frenetic.
Kathi: Just like we're gonna try a billion different things and throw everything against the wall
and see what sticks, right?
Cheri: Throw enough spaghetti on the wall and surely the money will come rolling in.
Kathi: Yeah. And so you have become laser focused about using your money and your time
and your resources wisely. And so we talked about how do we use free to actually earn
money? Fee plus me – so fee is giving people the intention. So free is the information. Here's
all the information you need, you can go do with it what you will. Intention is helping people
who say I want to change something in my life, helping them with that intention. Fee plus me is
attention. So it's getting a piece of Cheri or getting a piece of Kathi or our listeners. And now
we have another one which is – okay, so we have – I'm going to do it one more time: free, fee,
fee plus me; and now we have something else. It's favor.
Cheri: I love that you came up with this so much. It’s perfect.
Kathi: So tell us where favor and what that is – okay, so we go from information with the free;
intention with the fee; attention, fee plus me; and then this last one is people who actually just
want to appreciate.
Kathi: And appreciation is such a beautiful word. And we call it favor because we're not doing
we're not doing anything specifically to earn this money, necessarily. So I want to talk about
how has this last step of bringing money into your ministry occurred for you over the past year?
Cheri: Probably the biggest one has been with Grit’N’Grace. We started using Patreon a
couple of years ago. And you know, we didn't necessarily follow the best practices or anything.
But it was one of those amazing things where we had a number of our listeners who signed up
immediately, and started being monthly donors. And then in the last four or five months, we've
kind of revamped things and I’ve become much more strategic in scheduling what I share with
them as part of our – it’s kind of a reciprocal appreciation. They're donating money that makes
it possible for us to keep Grit’N’Grace going. And then Amy and I are showing our appreciation
by giving them some exclusive content, like we consider them our closest partners.
Kathi: Right. Okay, so tell me a little bit more about this exclusive content. And did you promise
that when they signed up?
Cheri: Yes. Yeah, we definitely promised them that would get some, you know, behind the
scenes, sneak peeks, early access, cutting room floor kind of stuff. And the mistake I made is I
didn't plan that into my schedule when we first started doing Patreon and now it is part of my
Kathi: Okay, so when you say you've made a part of your workflow, what does that look like?
Cheri: I've actually included it in our show prep notes. So that when we finished up a an
interview, we have a few bonus questions that will ask. And I will actually turn the recording off
to finish the interview. And I'll turn it back on again for the Patreon content, so that it's a
separate video that I can then immediately upload to Vimeo, put the link, and I'll literally do it
within the hour. So that's so I don't forget, so I don't plan to do it, and then never do it. And
then when I put it on Patreon, Patreon makes it so easy to do this. I say, you know, we did this
an hour ago, and I wanted to share it with you right now.
Kathi: So I just have the – we didn't prep this question or anything. How do you feel towards
Cheri: Oh, I love them so much. And part of what we do is every week we pick one of our
Patreon supporters, and Amy and I will – I’ll pull out my pom poms and we'll just do a quick
video of appreciation. And so we literally say you just want to thank you, we couldn't do this
without you, Amy does jazz hands; and then we'll just share a little tidbit because there's
always something new happening. We were able to just book so and so, or because of your
donation we were able to book somebody who doesn't have anybody to help sponsor them, or
you know, just some piece of news that we're excited to share with them so that they know that
we're not just – their money isn't just showing up and with nothing to show for it. Or a new
piece of equipment that we yeah sound sound better or software for editing something like
Kathi: And this must feed your altruistic, philanthropist – okay, philanthropy need deeply, to be
able to say thank you in these kind of ways and go there
Cheri: Well, and they’re our partners in all of this. So it's fun to be able to be thinking about
them from even the moment I wake up in the morning knowing we're going to record. I'm not
just thinking about the interview, I'm like, oh, and then I'm so excited about sharing with our
Kathi: I love that. Okay.
So the other reason that, yeah, I have been talking this whole time about how I want people to
be able to stay in ministry. I may not need your ministry, but I know people who need your
ministry, and I want you to stay in ministry or business because there's a need. And sometimes
– I have come across this too – there are people who genuinely need what I have to offer, but
they're just not in a financial position to be able to do it. And so part of the reason I love to
charge a fee, or fee plus me, is so that I can give things away for free. And I can sometimes
give away things that were the fee. And sometimes even the fee plus me. And I consider this
the tithing – now I tithe on the money I earn; but I also – and let me be clear, I tithe on the
money I earn from my family. I take expenses out first, you know, I'm just I don't want anybody
to get anything twisted that I'm doing things, you know, that don't need to be done. But I love
when I see a genuine need, being able to give something away. And I feel like by charging
most people, I can be more generous. Do you see that proving out?
Cheri: Oh, absolutely and you know, it's one of those things where I really feel like the Holy
Spirit will will nudge and say that's somebody that you need to be watching, that’s somebody
you need to reach out to, that’s somebody who would be able to whatever it is, if only, you
know, so yeah, definitely. So that's another form of favor.
Kathi: Yeah. Well, and I think it's so interesting because sometimes I've given things away for
free, and people have said “But what about this? Can’t I get this?” And I'm like, oh, well, there's
an indication right there. Or, somebody gets something for free, and they use that to bless
somebody else. And it's like, that's where I know my investment has been well well worth it.
And it's not up to me how people use what I've given them. But there are times – there have
been many times when it's been confirmed that that was the right thing to do. And then I want
to talk about trade, barter, and swap; and also I want to talk about – we don't have this on the
list but internships, because I feel like this comes – so talk about trade, barter, and swap.
Cheri: Well, I just I think we this is something that we can end up so isolated thinking we have
to do all this ministry stuff and business stuff all by ourselves. And then it feels like such a
burden, like how will I ever do at all, and the answer is probably you won't because you know,
God has given us certain gifts, and we're better off using those gifts. Those aren't going to
drain us as much right? You know, yes, we need to learn to be self sustaining to a certain
degree, so I realize I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth. But if you know of somebody in
ministry, for example, who's really good at graphics, and you're really good at titling, and they
need the title of a book and you need some graphics, well, then you've got a barter situation
going on. And we're not saying do this for life, often these kinds of things need to start very
small with a single project and see how it went for everybody, you know; but we're talking
about a form of collaboration here. They can have – it can be very boundaried. Yeah, it can be
done with a lot of integrity. So everybody – and in the best cases, everybody feels like they got
the best end of the deal.
Kathi: Well, and you know, one of my favorite books of all time is the Tightwad Gazette. You
know, you've heard me talk about this and she talks about bartering and she says, always start
and offer something small that doesn't cost you a lot. Not because you're afraid somebody's
gonna take advantage of you, bt it's hard for people to receive big thing. And if you say if I
could do this for you, I would love for you to do this for me, like you said, you know, titling, or
editing – not that those are small things. But you know if it's a 15 minute edit ding project, that's
very different than editing a book. Oh, yeah. So it's like, "Could you edit this article, and I'd be
happy to create a graphic for you,” that kind of thing.
And I do want to talk about internships for a second because I feel like this has been a huge
way for my ministry. And I know you have felt this as well to be sustainable. So having interns
who work for me 10 hours a month, and in exchange, they get an hour of coaching, which
would have probably cost them between $150 and $300. And then an hour of group coaching.
I feel like it's such a huge win-win when the right people are in each of those positions.
Kathi: So I think that's another way of looking at it as well.
Okay, so the last thing I want to talk about is our offering, which I'm so excited about, that you
and I have had time to really say "This is something we feel like would be incredibly valuable to
you.” So you and I have come up with a coaching program, a four week coaching program,
where we're going to tell people, we're going to help them walk through how to get from free to
fee to fee plus me, and then to the favor. And I feel like favor is this very generous place.
Beautiful place to land.
Cheri: It’s like the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake.
Kathi: Oh my goodness, and my mom makes the best carrot cake in the world.
Cheri: And one of the things that we will work within this group coaching program that we
couldn't even touch on in these podcasts, is some of the emotional baggage and maybe even
spiritual baggage that we have surrounding money. So we don't even have to talk about it right
now, but you just sighed. And, you know, we know from coaching experience that, you know, I
can just imagine many listeners have been gotten through these podcasts and go “Well, that's
good for you, Kathi and Cheri, because you know you're worth something. I know I'm worth
nothing, nobody would ever pay me.” We're going to talk through some of that.
Kathi: I'm so glad I don't struggle with that anymore. Said with a heavy, heavy dose of
You know what, guys every time that we have dug into something, you know, when I launched
Clutter Free for Life, which is our paid group, when we launched Writing at the Red House,
when we did the online courses, I just thought, “Is anybody going to find value in this?” And
guess what? I've launched some things that no! People did not find value in them. And so I
think that's part of what I want to discuss in this group, when we can be there together is to
say, how do you not create a hundred hour course and find out nobody needs it?
Cheri: Oh, that will not be allowed. That will be prevented.
Kathi: Right? And so I want to make sure that that people understand – you know, how do we
do this in a way that is exciting, but also somewhat safe?
Cheri: Oh, yeah, proof of concept. There's so many good ways to do proof of concept where
things are tested in small ways, in free ways.
Kathi: So that we will be able to guide you to that next place where you can say “This is the
next logical step.”
Cheri: Well, and the things we've discussed in the in this whole series of podcasts moving
from, you know, from free to fee to fee plus me to favor, nobody should do all of them. No,
especially not try to start with all of them. So part of it will be kind of looking through the
progression and saying, what makes sense for you, and for the ministry God has called you to,
and so each person is going to have their own customized map for this.
Kathi: I love a map. You know, I love a map.
Cheri: I know. I said that on purpose. I saw your eyes light up.
Kathi: Well, because what it does is it's says, you know, this is customizable to me. I'm trying
to get to a different place than other people. But I have a plan to follow. And that makes me
really really excited but
Cheri: But it's gonna be – it's gonna be strategic, not random. No more spaghetti on walls.
Kathi: You guys, I can't wait for you to join us go check out the link and see if this is a good fit
for you because we want to help you be in ministry be in business for a long time.
Cheri, thanks so much for being with me these four weeks.
Cheri: Oh, thank you so much for having me!
Kathi: And friends, thank you. You've been listening to the Writing at the Red House podcast.
I'm Kathi Lipp. Now go share your story of God's extravagant love.