Rebel Replies: How can I monetise my free work

Julia Davies is a life and business coach based in Worthing, Sussex. In a broken society that rewards toxic productivity and hustle, Julia is a quiet rebel. She believes instead in putting health and happiness at the heart of our life and business. She supports women who dare to forge their own path in life and business.

Here, she answers your questions on life and business when you are self-employed, from the perspective of a quiet rebel. Today’s question is from a small business owner who is struggling with how she can monetise her free work:

My question would be around earning money. I’ve done a lot of free stuff, offered help but not yet monetised that. I really need to make my work sustainable now but it feels like a leap to make. I think there’s an element of mental block around it as well as practical how to do it.

Thanks so much for writing in! Firstly, please know that you’re not alone in this. When you’re a quiet rebel it’s easy to feel alone as everyone around you is doing things differently from you. This can be exhausting and everything feels like a leap because you’re forging a new path (it’s much less energy to follow others!)… but please know that it will be worth it. Even if it takes time, even if it sometimes feels frustrating, even if it feels scary and totally out of your comfort zone, it will be worth it to build something that truly feels like YOU. Let’s dig a bit deeper…

Taking action

Firstly, a hard truth – you will never work out the answer to this by thinking about it, you will work it out by DOING. As a fellow quiet rebel, I know that you’ll want to do things your way. It takes experience to nail down exactly what you want to offer in business. If you were to just think your way to an answer, you’d be forced to use everyone else’s experience to guide you as you won’t have your own experiences to draw on yet. But by taking action and starting to monetise your work in some way, you’ll start to build up your own experience of what’s going to work for YOU. By experimenting and tweaking and trying again, you’ll hone your offering so it meets your wants and needs, as well as those of your clients. In business, I like to treat everything as an experiment – it takes the pressure off. What small step out of your comfort zone could you take this week, just as an experiment?

Although I know you want to do things your way, it’s worth remembering that even though you’re introverted and independent and a rebel, you still don’t have to do this alone. What support might you need? How can you lean on your community while you take the leap? And conversely, is there anyone who distracts you from following your own calling/purpose – people who (even though you love them) you need to mute/unfollow/unsubscribe from temporarily?

Breaking it down

You also mentioned that it feels like a leap. How could you make that leap feel smaller? What comes to mind for me is to start with introductory pricing – perhaps you could offer a discount for your first five clients. This has a multitude of benefits – you build up a bank of feedback, your confidence will grow, and you will work out what’s working well and what needs tweaking. It’s a half-way house between working for free and launching a new offering in your business. How else could you make that leap feel smaller? Don’t forget baby steps count – what baby steps could you take this week?

It helps to nudge your comfort zone constantly so it expands little by little rather than forcing yourself to take big leaps out of your comfort zone. Constant small steps get you where you want to go too! How could you break your challenge down so it feels like a small step every day rather than facing a big leap?

Which discomfort will you choose?

That discomfort you’re feeling is a sign. What is it telling you? It sounds like monetising your free work is outside of your current comfort zone. And, of course, that’s going to feel uncomfortable. But it’s worth remembering that you are already uncomfortable in your current situation – so it’s a choice: which discomfort will you choose… the discomfort of feeling stuck or the discomfort of putting yourself out there?

Where are you heading?

When in the early stages of a business it’s easy to get stuck being busy doing the things you think you need to do to have a business. Really all you need is an offering and a way for clients to pay you… and a way to tell potential clients that you’re ready and available! To avoid the busy-work, it’s important to get super clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing and what exactly you’re aiming for.

I like to have a mission statement that encompasses both my “why” for me and my “why” for my clients. Having this two-tiered approach feels like a double-whammy of motivation when I read it. Are you clear on why you are doing what you are doing?

Secondly, what do you want your work and life to look like? When you are fully up and running, what is your perfect way to work with clients? Do your offerings support the life you want to live? Once you know what you are aiming for, it’s a lot easier to work back from there and decide what to do next. Every action needs to feed into this overarching vision. Starting at the end and breaking down the actions more and more when you reach where you are currently standing will mean that the next steps feel less of a leap and more like an exciting step on the path towards your version of success.

You’ve got this!

To take these next steps, self-belief is crucial. One of my favourite tools is a “Smile File”. Every time someone says something nice about you or gives you some great feedback or even just when you write/say something that you are proud of, screenshot it and save it in a folder on your phone. This is a bank of motivation to draw on when things feel a bit wobbly. Try it – it works!


If you’re struggling with this too, here are some questions for you to consider. Maybe you’ll discuss these with a business buddy. Maybe you’ll use them as journal prompts. Or maybe you’ll take the questions on a walk. What matters is spending the time getting clear on your own thoughts, and then taking action. As cheesy as it sounds, nothing will change if you change nothing.

  • What would earning more money mean to you?
  • If you were to experiment with your offerings, what would you do?
  • How can you break down your challenge so it feels less like a leap and more like achievable action steps?
  • How does the the discomfort you’re feeling now compare with the discomfort of taking steps out of your comfort zone?

Are you struggling to know what steps to take next in your business? If you’d like to untangle what might be holding you back and make a clear action plan for what to do next, book a discovery call to chat about how I could support you.

If you’d like to submit a question, sign up to my email “The Rebel Review” where I  regularly share opportunities with my community.

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