Energy exchange is not evil. It’s a natural part of how the universe works, balancing energy and matter. And this is what we’re all made of.
So many spiritual messengers, energy healers, inspirational authors feel like their channel is a gift and therefore should be given away to others “for free.” Well, the universe doesn’t work that way. It seeks balance. You paid certain prices to be a messenger, a healer, a writer. You made a deal with that channel or whatever you call the still, small voice that feeds your work. So, when you release that energy to another being, they need to give you some back in exchange (doesn’t mean you can’t have a sale, or use barter, of course). It gives your gift more value to the recipient.
Ultimately, it’s not even about whether or not you “deserve” compensation for your time or energy; it’s a simple equation of balance; psychological, physical, and spiritual. Besides, you do your client a total disservice by not gracefully receiving an appropriate exchange; they are disempowered by your lack of grace. Think about it.
This ethic of giving without exchange is a leftover from our Puritan ancestors, for those who come from European folk. And it was based on guilt and the idea that we should suffer in this life (and be slaves to those folks in power or to our inner fears) in order to deserve a reward in the next. We should be long over this by now. Long over it.
It’s also an old story that most service careers and businesses traditionally associated with women (my editing biz is one of these, along with teaching, caring for those who are ill, etc.) are undervalued in society, and we are indoctrinated to think that giving has its own reward (and it often does), but don’t fall into the trap that just because services have been undervalued in the past that that should always be the case.
On the other hand, selling your stuff at every opportunity without developing real relationships (again the balanced exchange is missing) is counterproductive in a lot of ways. People will get tired of you real quick if you don’t market with balance, transparency, and integrity. I recommend Lynn Serafinn’s 7 Graces of Marketing for a great set of business principles, but there are just two things I firmly believe in:
1) Asking questions to find out what you can do for your clients rather than simply broadcasting your services.
2) The 99%/1% rule. Your business-related communication should be 99% interaction and conversation and relationship-building, 1% what Chris Brogan calls “selly sell” (Chris does a great job of creating balance, I think).
Be visible, create value for people and care about them. They will find you. Then offer them a reasonable energy exchange, and you’ve got a win-win. The trick is to be as wise as the cosmos. 🙂