As the season for FailCon kicks off, I thought it might be helpful to my friends and followers to write a quick post about my freebie-policy. It’s also great advice for any event attendee and supporter out there.
I continue to be uncomfortable when friends ask me for free passes to FailCon. Now don’t get me wrong; I appreciate your friendship, your emotional support, and your conversation. But FailCon is my livelihood for 6 months of the year. It costs about $36,000 to produce (increasing every year), before I see even a penny of profit. If you had a restaurant, I wouldn’t assume my meals would be free. If you had a boutique, I wouldn’t ask for free clothing. How is this any different?
Now, if I brought friends to eat with me at your restaurant, a discount would be nice. And if I actually sent new buyers to your boutique, a gift card is a nice gesture. And guess what, I’m happy to do that, too. So to put it out there for the world, here is my friend and freebie policy:
1) Discounts. If you have been a friend of mine for awhile and feel like we have gotten pretty close, please do not hesitate to ask for a discount. I love giving my friends discounts to my events; I truly appreciate your presence and support.
2) Working. If you want to get in for free, working the event is a great way – especially for friends. I’m on the hunt for 15 – 40 experienced and friendly volunteers for every event. You work for 3 hours and can attend the rest of the event at no charge.
3) Selling. Of course I appreciate your saying “I’ve told some friends” – thank you! But I can’t hand a free ticket to everyone who says that. If you are my friend and want a free ticket, then help me with measurable sales. Buy a ticket now and email me asking for a code to share. I’ll set up a discount code exclusively for you, and track every sale you generate with it. The minute 3 people buy a ticket with it, I’ll reimburse your ticket.
So please, before you next write me asking for a complimentary ticket – or worse, walk up to the door just assuming my staff will let you in – stop and ask yourself if that is really the friendly thing to do to someone working hard to pay her bills. I’d hope you wouldn’t hand me $300 in free merchandise from your boutique, just because I’m your friend. I hope you would ask friends – your first level of support – to help you spread the word, generate sales, and get you into the profitable range before you rewarded them.