There’s something really upsetting about new freelancers and small business owners who try to get around paying for their business.
I guess it’s because I have this idea that freelancers and small businesses should be more respectful of paying for services. I mean, these freelancers have clients and obviously they expect payment in return for their time/work, right? So why are some freelancers trying to weasel their way out of paying for the services they use to help run their businesses?
If you use a service, PAY FOR IT.
PayPal is a big one here.
Freelancers use PayPal to accept payments for their products and services. Sometimes those freelancers stumble across to Facebook groups and inquire as to how to get rid of the PayPal fees.
- You’re using PayPal to make money (literally).
- You’re using a valuable service.
- You want to find a way around paying for said service.
How is that any different from a client basically saying to their friends, “So there’s this wonderful designer I want to work with but I don’t want to pay her… How can I get around that?” If the freelancer found out, I guarantee we’d get a rant about it in the same Facebook group.
So why are some of us trying so hard to NOT pay for premium services that are incredibly useful?
Those little fees are the whole reason PayPal can stay in business and keep providing you with services.
Another example: finding loopholes to use premium services without paying.
This is a new one I’ve come across several times recently and my god, it’s so disappointing.
Maybe you’ve heard of the e-course platform, Teachable. At the time of writing, Teachable has four plans, the first of which is a ‘free’ plan. This plan allows you to create an account, build your own e-courses (unlimited), upload videos into their system, and have unlimited students. How can Teachable afford to give all that away for free? Particularly the video space!
They charge transaction fees.
The fees are pretty big ($1 + 10% goes to Teachable, plus any credit card fees on top of that). But that’s the price you pay for having a $0 monthly fee.
Free plans like this allow businesses to get started without a significant monthly investment.
If you’re just building your business and don’t have any clients and don’t have an established presence, Teachable’s free plan allows you to get started with 0 regular monthly costs. You only pay if you yourself make money. It’s useful.
So what’s the problem?
Some people are using third party payment processors to get away with using Teachable 100% for free—with no transaction fees.
Since on the free plan you only pay when you make a sale, some people are using this as a loophole to not do any selling through Teachable at all. It works something like this:
- They set up the course through Teachable.
- They advertise the course on their own site.
- They tell people to send money some other way (through Gumroad or PayPal, etc.).
- The seller manually checks payment and once received, they manually send the person login details to Teachable, thus bypassing the normal payment system.
Since a sale isn’t being made on Teachable, they never pay Teachable. They essentially use a paid service without paying for it.
- They use Teachable’s platform.
- They use Teachable’s storage space.
- They use Teachable’s bandwidth.
They use use use, and then find a way to scam Teachable out of their cut. This results in Teachable paying for this person’s site out of their own pocket. How does that possibly sound okay?
If you’re not happy with a service’s fees, find a new service.
Yes, Teachable has high fees, so I totally get why someone wouldn’t want to pay them. But using the service and scamming the company out of their deserved money is NOT the answer. I don’t care if there’s nothing forbidding it in their Terms and Conditions—it’s in damn poor taste. That’s why I call it a loophole. It clearly goes against the spirit of their system and the intended usage.
If a service’s fees are too high for your liking, then the answer is to find a new service.
But as a business, I think you should be fully prepared to pay something. If you’re making money through your services/courses/products, why shouldn’t the services that help you achieve that also make money?