Free but not cheap

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote from Austin Kleon: “Free, but not cheap.”

There are a lot of free things that we consume everyday that have a cost behind it; a creator who is putting together and sharing work with the world without asking for direct payment in return. It could be art, podcasts, newsletters, blogs, etc.

We also ask friends or people in our network for help or advise. We don’t expect to pay for that help, and typically you wouldn’t. But is their expertise really free? No, it’s the result of hours of learning and experience, yet they’re willing to share this expertise with friends for free.

So how do you recognize the value of these free things? Share it with others. Pay it forward, as it were. And do what you can to recommend the work of others when you can, especially if you enjoy it and get some value from what that creator is providing you.

Maybe buy that friend lunch or a cup of coffee. Show gratitude to them for the time and attention they give to you. Doing this will show that you value the cost behind what you got for free.