How Can I Help People Understand What I’m Saying?

It’s Hard to Get Others to See Things from My Perspective

This sounds a little self-centered, like my perspective is more important than everyone else’s.

That’s not what I mean by “getting others to see things from my perspective”.

I’ve been hearing from marketing people for a long time about the difficulty of getting people to understand what we’re saying. This is often referred to as the “curse of knowledge”, which is when we’re sharing a message with the assumption those who are hearing it have as much knowledge and familiarity with a given topic as we do.

The fact that I’ve been hearing this for a while and am still trying to figure out how to implement it, is exactly what I’m talking about.

This issue resurfaced in a few different places over the past couple of weeks.

First and closet to home is my struggle with getting construction companies to see the value of my Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system.

The value of this proposal system makes perfect sense to me, but then I developed it more than thirty years ago and have been using it almost daily since then. My “curse of knowledge”.

I’ve shared this proposal system idea with construction companies without much success. It’s frustrating, having been where they are and knowing that it would likely help them.

Why wouldn’t they want to start using it immediately?

The second place that this issue came up was in a discussion with my friend Shep Jordan. He’s in the process of writing a memoir of his experiences with six role models when he was growing up. He hopes to help others see the negative impacts resulting from a lack of good role models in today’s world and the need to do something about it.

It’s critically important for boys to have good role models and for men to be good role models!

The problem is…how to get others to hear what he’s saying? They may hear him and agree, but how does he get them to embrace and implement the ideas that are in his book?

The third place this got discussed was in our mastermind. One of the members is working on a new program and was asking about pricing. As we discussed it, I asked for clarification. With further discussion I realized that this is that same common problem. He was crystal clear about what he was saying…the rest of us not as much.

How can we help people understand what we’re saying?

The other thing we need to realize is that it’s going to take some time to get other people to understand what we’re trying to say.

There’s so much going on in our own minds and the world around us, that it takes a long time and a lot of repetition to break through the noise. It may take years and repeating the message hundreds of times before they even know that we’re saying anything.

Add to that the importance of aligning your message with their need and you have a big hill to climb. The thing to remember is that the hill can be climbed.

As noisy as things are right now it’s amazing that we can get anyone at all to listen to what we have to say.

The thing to remember is…if what we have to share is in alignment with God’s plan then our part is to keep on sharing it over and over knowing that if even one person is helped it was worth the effort.

Putting ourselves back in the position of our target audience and repetition is the way to get them to hear and understand what we’re saying.

And most importantly…don’t give up, keep on sharing.

Having a Business Plan is Crucial to Building Your Best Business

Just Like a Building, You Need a Blueprint for Building a Better Business

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a solopreneur or have a team. If you have been in business for 30 years or just starting out. Regardless of the kind of work you do, the organizational plan for your business is as important as the work you do…maybe more.

Too many people run their business on a wing and a prayer. They just roll the dice and hope things work out

If you own your business and aren’t intentional about the organizational operation of your company, it is likely that you won’t make it past your 5th year. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just think about the number of businesses that you have seen come and go over the years.

In my 40 years of being in business I have learned a lot of lessons, some of them the hard way. Let me tell you, the tuition for “The School of Hard Knocks” is expensive.

There were times when I got behind on taxes so I could pay bills and times that I got behind on bills so I could pay taxes. Neither of these is a very good business plan. One of my SHK professors once told me, “When you steal from Peter to pay Paul, you make Peter a Paul bearer”.

If you want to avoid the need for a pallbearer for your business…you need a plan.

It’s common for people to start a business without a plan. Generally, someone has learned a trade or a craft and for whatever reason they decide to go into business. Most of the time they have given little, if any, thought to the business operation. They show up every day working hard and then, surprise…you owe some taxes and haven’t saved any money to pay them.

You need a plan, a blueprint for building the business.

There are a lot of similarities in constructing a sound building and a constructing profitable business.

Both need –

  • To start with design plans – the thing that gives you a clear direction of what you want the outcome to be.
  • An architect – the person that can see the vision of what the finished product will be.
  • A solid foundation – the thing that will support you when the storms come.
  • A good framework – the thing that holds everything together.
  • A builder – the person that reads and understands the plans and puts all the different pieces together correctly.
  • The proper tools – these are what allow the pieces to be shaped and fastened together in the right places in the right order.
  • A good team – these are the different people with the different skills and knowledge needed.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for years or are just starting out…

YOU NEED A PLAN.

If you or someone you know would like to minimize the time spent attending “The School of Hard Knocks”, then follow or share our Weekly Solutions with people who could use some help with a business plan.

Finding solutions for building dream businesses is what we’re about at Solution Building. If you have questions about business plans, contact us below.

Revised and reprinted from 02/24/18

How Can I Be More Demanding Without Being Demeaning?

The Skill of Walking the Fine Line Between These Two Things

This past week there were a couple of situations that got me thinking about this…again. This is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. It comes down to who I am and who I need to be. Like everything in life there is a balance to be achieved.

Both situations had to do with sub-contractors.

First was a wood fencing project. The customer had some fence boards but not enough. I ordered out more than enough boards to finish the project.

I get a text from the sub, telling me that we need more fence boards. I assumed that I had mis-figured. I let the customer know that there is going to be another material delivery. Customer tells me to not forget to use the ones that they had. I called the sub. He tells me that there weren’t any fence boards there. I go by the job site and there they were…right where they were when I showed them to him.

Back to the question…How can I be more demanding, without being demeaning?

I think the sub just got focused on the stack of new fence boards and forgot about the others.

The problem is that this oversight cost me. I now have boards that were the customer’s and I can’t return them. They will need to be stored in a shop that is already overcrowded.

How should I handle this so that the sub understands and shares in the responsibility, without demeaning them?

Some people wouldn’t have any issues in deducting this cost from the sub. But this might cause the sub to not want to do future projects and it can be hard to find qualified subs.

Second was the hanging of some sheetrock on a small project that was being done by a painter. I went by to check on things and the piece of drywall that was installed…was installed wrong. They had a cut edge rather than the finished edge in the middle of the ceiling.

I had him take it down and turn it around.

In both of these instances I was uncomfortable saying anything and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the fence boards.

Ultimately both come down to clearly explained expectations.

Explaining specifics on individual projects as well as overall expectations.

I have high expectations for myself, I assume that everyone else has this same level of expectation…not so.

Because of these differences I need to be hypervigilant in explaining and communicating what I expect. This will require more time and effort on my part and I’m already running short on both.

One of the things that makes this balance hard to find is that everything is different for everyone. What is reasonable for one person might be hurtful to another.

The thing I need to remember is that ultimately, my responsibility to the customer is more important than the feelings of the sub.

This doesn’t mean the sub isn’t important. It means the sub and I are supposed to be working together to fulfill the dream of the customer. Not fighting each other to see who can take advantage of the other.

It’s not supposed to be a competition.

I’m still not sure exactly how I’m going to be more demanding without being demeaning…but I’m going to work toward accomplishing that.

How Can Movies Improve Your Business Plan?

This is Assuming That You Even Care How Your Business Turns Out

Once again today’s conversation originated from our mastermind. This week we we’re presented with a question to answer.

From the perspective of an entrepreneur, what’s your favorite movie, and why?

Any of you who know me, know that I’m a movie fan. As I considered this question, there were a lot of movies that came to mind. My favorite movie is The Polar Express…but this isn’t a movie about business.

As I considered my favorite movies from an entrepreneurial perspective, something began to stand out…

Every movie is full of lessons about both business and life.

There are a variety of movie genres, story lines and qualities of movies, but as I think back over the movies I’ve watched, all of them are nothing less than lessons for living.

And what is business other than living?

Some of these lessons are things we should do…some are things we shouldn’t.

As I thought about movies and lessons, I remembered writing about Christmas movies as a life plan. The more I thought about movies from an entrepreneurial perspective, the more I realized that The Polar Express had a lot to say about business as well as life.

If I operate my business using the Polar Express business plan, it will be a great ride.

If you aren’t familiar with The Polar Express, it’s about a young boy who is beginning to doubt the reality of Santa Clause. He’s woken up by a loud noise in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and finds the Polar Express parked in front of his house. With some hesitancy he boards the train.

He then embarks on a ride with other kids to the North Pole. Along the way they’re faced with obstacles to overcome and situations to celebrate. Through his diligence and the help of others he makes the trip successfully. After this journey he is reassured and believes.

This sounds a little bit like business, doesn’t it?

Like in the movie, we have to decide if we’re going to get on the business train or not. If we don’t, that particular train won’t ever come by again. Once we make the commitment, we need to stay on the ride to the end.

Business and movies are both full of difficulties and situations that may or may not be direct results of things we’ve done. Either way, we have to deal with the situations that we find ourselves in. Like the boy on the Polar Express, it’s great to have the support of friends and colleagues when the ride gets rough.

Too often our belief waivers. We don’t know if we should get on the train or not. This probably isn’t the right train.

But something is prodding us to get on.

This is God telling us to go for it. Get on the train. Enjoy the ride…all of it. The good and the bad, the ups and the downs.

Ride that train and the things you will experience will be amazing.

But it requires that you get on the train and believe.

Get on and enjoy the ride!

How Do We Know if Something is Worth the Cost…or Just a Shiny New Object?

It Would be Nice if There Was a Clear Answer to This Question

Maybe there is, but it’s going to take some work to find it.

You may remember the “pet rock” from the mid-seventies. I didn’t understand it, but still found myself drawn to having one…however I never was a pet rock owner.

I have a better understanding of this phenomena now. There is some really good marketing out there and we can be pulled into the new shiny thing.

We are bombarded constantly with advertising and suggestions that we need this next amazing new thing, whatever it is. Maybe we do…maybe we don’t.

But we need to be clear on who we are and what we’re doing. We need to think before we act.

From an early age we’re drawn to fit in. We want that thing that the cool kids have. But why? Why do we feel attracted to be them rather than just be ourselves?

This past week in our virtual mastermind, the discussion turned to things like green screen backdrops, microphones and similar items.

As we discussed this, I couldn’t help but feel like I was back in school talking about pet rocks. Maybe it was my simple lack of understanding. Or, maybe it was a clear understanding of who I am and what works best for me.

As we discussed this topic it was clear that different people have different needs. This clarity of who we are and what our purpose is, is critical. It is the thing that guides us to make the right decisions for us and our customers.

Quality is always important. Different people see quality differently. What’s quality to one person, might be extravagance to another. What’s satisfactory to one might be junk to someone else.

You have to get clear on who you are. What is acceptable and what’s not.

I used to have a sub-contractor that would buy a new truck every year or two. I’m talking about $60,000 – $70,000. There’s nothing wrong with this if it can be afforded and it’s done for the right reasons.

After getting to know him better I realized, for him this was about impressing people. His driving purpose was to make a lot of money and show off. He’s since gone out of business.

There was nothing wrong with him buying those trucks. The problem was his why.

There’s nothing wrong with having nice expensive things. Is it a tool allowing you to better fulfill your purpose or is it to impress someone?

It might be as simple as you like nice trucks and pet rocks.

It comes down to being true to who you are. Doing things for the right reasons. This can be a hard thing to determine. If you spend the time and energy on figuring this out, before you spend money on that next shiny new object…it will pay dividends.

Figuring out who we are and what our purpose is, is not an easy thing, but it will help us know why we’re doing what we’re doing.

If you can afford it and want it…go buy that shiny new thing

Oh, by the way, did you know that you can still buy pet rocks?

One of the Most Important Tools in My Toolbox

How You Can Improve Productivity by Using OneNote

Let’s take a peek inside my productivity toolbox.

Most of the time when we hear the word “tool”, the first thing we think of is a circular saw or nail gun…not computer software.

However, production is more than just the physical aspect of producing things. The more organized we are, the more productive we are.

By nature as a recovering perfectionist, having things well organized is important to me. I know that to some people the level of organization that I love, makes them feel trapped.

The more organized we are, the more freeing it can be.

It’s about taking control of your life and making it what you want it to be.

For years I worked on ways to get and stay organized. Am I where I want to be? Not yet, but remember, I’m a perfectionist by nature. Getting and staying organized is a difficult thing and it only increases the more you try to do.

One of the best tools I’ve found for organization is Microsoft OneNote.

This tool is great for organizing and communicating. It does so much, so well, that I don’t need a bunch of different apps to do different things. Too often these various apps don’t sync well across different systems and devices.

I would equate OneNote to a three-ring binder with improved technology.

OneNote is the “Six Million Dollar” binder. Just like “The Six Million Dollar Man” this computerized version of a ‘notebook’ has superhuman bionic computerized capabilities.

A good comparison of OneNote to a binder is how I used to have project binders on site at construction projects. This was a place where information would be kept organized so that employees, sub-contractors, project management, architects and the customer could all have access to the specifics of that project.

OneNote is organized similar to a binder. You can have different “notebooks”, each book can be divided into multiple “sections” and each section can have “pages” and subpages.

Here are a few of the superhuman bionic capabilities of OneNote

  • Share information with other people across multiple devices. This can be as simple as sharing a shopping list with your spouse or as detailed as an entire notebook with colleagues on a project.
  • Syncs automatically across multiple devices. If someone adds to the shopping list or checks something off a “to do” list, you will know it instantaneously if you’re connected to the internet. If not, it will sync once you are.
  • When changes are made, they are marked until viewed. If someone makes a change, I will be able to know that, go to the specific change and know who did it and when it was done.
  • Insert almost anything on a page. You can insert copies of other documents, screen clippings, photos, audio and video recordings, links to other pages and/or web locations, etc. This is only a part of what is available with OneNote.
  • Link from and to multiple locations. I can put a link for a specific OneNote page in a task reminder or calendar event or on a word document. Click on it and it will open that page, even if OneNote isn’t open.
  • Editing is really easy. Things on a OneNote page can be clicked on and moved to a different place on the page. This feature is great for prioritizing a list. If I want to move something higher on the list, I just move it there, no cutting or copying or pasting (although you can do those things as well).
  • It’s always ready to open and use. It doesn’t require the opening of a program, folder or a file before you can write something down. Click on the OneNote icon in the task bar and it’s open. A couple more clicks and you can write down your note before you forget it.
  • Great place for filing and storing. If I want to save an email from a customer with a picture and a link to a web site, I can do that right from Outlook.
  • Can protect sensitive info within a shared notebook. If I have a page that has ideas for my wife’s Christmas or passwords to my bank account, I can password protect those pages. This means that if my wife “accidently” goes to her Christmas page when she meant to go to the shopping list, she can’t open it without the password…and she doesn’t have the password.
  • Can draw or write on it just like paper. This feature is great for quickly gathering information with my tablet or phone. I can draw the floor plan for a room addition and write dimensions and notes right in OneNote.

This tool can do all this and more. Some people will probably say that it has too many bells and whistles or it’s too complicated. I’m sure this isn’t the best tool for everybody and that’s okay. Not every person uses the same cordless drill.

This tool is simple to use and a great way to stay organized.

Even if you aren’t a recovering perfectionist like I am, OneNote can help you be more productive and…

Isn’t that what we all want…to be more productive?

This post was originally published January 21, 2017

It was updated again on October 4, 2020

One of Life’s Biggest Tragedies is Not That We Lose, But That We ALMOST Win

FAITH or FEAR…Which is the Driving Force in Your Decision Making?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about stepping out of my comfort zone. This was me doing something that was new and different from construction. I was afraid that it might not work, but I had faith that it was what I was supposed to do.

We all like operating in that place of comfort, after all, it’s well…comfortable.

As I’ve been working to do this thing that is out of my comfort zone, it seems that everywhere I turn this topic has been showing up. It’s been in things I read, discussions I’ve had, podcasts, blogposts, etc.

We can always find ways to delay or subvert the thing that we’re supposed to do. This shows up in all sorts of ways. Ultimately, it’s because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that it’s not good enough, or that no one wants what we have to offer.

One of the places that this topic of fear vs. faith was prevalent was in my re-reading of the 7th Decision in Andy Andrews book, The Traveler’s Gift.

In this chapter David Ponder meets the Archangel Gabriel in a huge place full of a wide variety of things that seem to have no connection to each other.

One of the things is a picture of a familiar looking boy and girl. Gabriel said, “The boy’s name is Jason and the girl’s is Julia.”

David looking at the photo, remarked, “I’ve always liked those names. My grandfather’s name was Jason. In fact, if Jenny had been a boy, Ellen and I were going to name the baby Jason. We always said we would name our second girl Julia. We wanted several children, but we never were able to afford . . .” A cold wave of nausea swept over David. Lowering the picture slowly, he gripped the side of the large basket with his other hand to steady himself. Breathing heavily, he said, “But you already knew that, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Gabriel answered.

David, asks, “Why is this being done to me? Why am I seeing this now?

Turning to face Gabriel, David said, “What is this place?”

Gabriel spreads his arms and said…

“This, my friend, is the place that never was.”

This is where things that were about to be delivered just as a person stopped working and praying for them. It’s full of dreams and goals of the less courageous.

David asked if he can keep the picture, but Gabriel said, “I’m sorry, but Jason and Julia don’t exist”.

“The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins.”

Why do we quit?

We quit because we lack faith.

Are you a person of faith or fear?

Which of these guide your everyday actions and decisions?

We’re driven by faith or fear—one or the other—both are the same. “Faith or fear is the expectation of an event that hasn’t come to pass or the belief in something that cannot be seen or touched.”

“Great achievers—are rarely realistic by other people’s standards. Somehow, these successful people, often considered strange, pick their way through life ignoring or not hearing negative expectations and emotions. Consequently, they accomplish one great thing after another, never having heard what cannot be done.”

If our plans are in alignment with God’s plan for us and we believe in our purpose anything is possible. In Mark 11:23-24 we’re told that if you believe, what you say will happen. If we ask for what we want in prayer and we believe, we will receive those things. Because…

“Nothing is impossible for God”

Have faith, don’t quite and you will win.

Oh, by the way…not only are we moving forward with the VB Homes project, we’re also moving forward with the customer consulting project.

Poor Communication is the Number One Reason for Disagreements

Avoid Disagreements by Going the Extra Mile to Achieve Clarity

As I stepped out of my comfort zone this week and prepared the proposal for VB Homes’ “construction proposal system”, I was reminded of the importance of communication.

As I worked on this proposal, I considered reasons for them needing this system and it reminded me of the importance of good communication. The consequences of poor communication are huge.

An excerpt of a previous post from August 2016


Over the last few days, I was reminded of how important good communication is.

Two separate instances have come to my attention confirming this.

One situation is of a customer who had been given a price for a project and then after the project was started (concrete was poured) found out the price for the project was more than they were told. This caused some real problems for both sides.

The second was someone who had a project done with no written agreement. Once the project was almost completed there were some quality issues. This left both the customer and the contractor in a place where they felt cheated. The contractor billed for work done but wasn’t getting paid. The customer felt that the work was below standard and couldn’t get the contractor to come back and fix it.

As is usually the case there were extenuating circumstances in both situations and both sides had legitimate viewpoints.

Both projects would have had less problems had there been clearer communication from the beginning.

It has been my experience that there are differing opinions on how much detail should be included in the communication between customer and contractor. The bottom line is that it needs to be enough so that all parties involved know what to expect.

Rarely have I known small to midsized contractors to spend the time and effort to include very many details.

I understand, it takes time. The question we should ask is this…

Is it better to spend the time communicating before the project starts or wait until there’s a problem and everybody’s upset?

On the other side there is the possibility of too much information and the customer being confused and feeling lost (I know, it’s hard to believe that I just wrote that).

Often large commercial contracting firms and architects do this. I recently was aware of a commercial project that the communication was overly complicated. There were forty-one pages of drawings and a spec book over 1” thick and it wasn’t that big of a project.

With all that information the customer was overwhelmed and unclear about the project. Don’t get me wrong I like details and information. I think it is essential to good communication. The problem is that if it’s too complicated the customer still is uniformed and lost. This is still poor communication.

Ultimately proposals should be about helping customers know what to expect and get their dream project done.

I have lost count of the number of times that I’ve heard customers say that a building project was the worst experience they ever had. How sad is this?

They were excited and looking forward to having some new project done and then they are left with feelings of regret. I think there’s a balance between the two extremes.

This is where the real challenge is, finding the sweet spot for all involved.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to good communication, but the first thing is, ask questions and listen to the answers. As a contractor, don’t go into a project with your preconceived ideas of what the customer wants.

Find out what THEY want and HELP THEM BUILD IT.


Hopefully the proposal sent to VB Homes was clear and understandable and gives them a clear picture of what to expect.

Doing a Proposal for Doing a Proposal System is Out of My Comfort Zone

But “Comfort Zone” is Just an Excuse to Not Fulfill My Purpose

There have been a few times when I stepped outside my comfort zone and the results were not what I’d hoped for. On the other hand, there have been times when I stepped out and the results were better than expected.

So, if this is the case why is it that I push back at taking chances? The comfort zone is called that precisely because that’s what it is…comfort-able.

The problem is we won’t ever achieve our purpose in life if we stay comfortable.

Living the life God wants us to live requires getting uncomfortable once and while.

There are a lot of boundaries we put up to keep ourselves from going out into the big scary world of the unknown. It’s not that these walls are bad things. They may even be good things.

I know that, in an effort to be sure that I’m prepared before I go out there, I’ve done things like trainings, classes, courses, etc. You know, to be sure that I know what I’m doing. Ray Edwards refers to this as “educrastination”. These are not bad things; we just need to be careful to not let them trap us in our comfort zone.

There’re also tool barricades. I tell myself that this new tool, gadget, program, system or process, will make me better prepared to confront the big scary unknown outside of this place of comfort.

Here’s what I do know. If I don’t go out there and do that thing that I’m scared of, I’ll never accomplish the thing that God wants me to.

Okay, okay, I’ll do it.

I’ll start working on a proposal for making a proposal system for VB Homes.

Last week I wrote that I was rethinking how my proposal system could be more helpful to contractors. I know of a couple of local contractors who got my proposal system and then didn’t use it. Why not…

I developed a system that works so well at efficiently preparing consistently accurate proposals.

Why wouldn’t every contractor want to use it?

Back to last week’s post.

After being connected with Chris Ettel of VB Homes by a mutual friend. Chris and I met a few times discussing my proposal system and I began to see that there might be some things in my system that could be changed to work better in their business.

I realized…not every contractor is the same.

At our last meeting we discussed the possibility of me designing and developing a modified version of my system that would work for them and their specific needs. He was very receptive to this idea…

Now comes the big scary, outside of my comfort zone thing.

Just like when I started doing construction, I didn’t know how to do proposals, this is the same thing. I made it through that scary thing I can make it through this one.

Here I go stepping out of my comfort zone.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

Giving Work Away for Free Doesn’t Sound Like a Very Good Plan

The Benefit to Me is More Than Dollars and Cents

There’s a learning curve that goes with expanding my business from construction to include coaching and consulting.

After all, a coaching/consulting business isn’t the same as a construction business…or is it?

Several years ago, it occurred to me that most construction companies that I worked with knew how to build a building…but not a business. This became apparent when they would continually ask me how I did this or where I learned that. Or worse case when a construction company and customer ended up in court because something hadn’t gone as expected.

Then it happened, I got a wakeup call and realized that I needed to share this knowledge and experience with other construction companies and customers.

The problem is I’ve never been very good at teaching. It was always easier for me to just do it myself. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, this is a pretty selfish attitude.

So, if I’m not naturally a teacher, how do I get these systems into the hands of the people who need them?

This is when I developed a downloadable proposal system, available online. It was complete with instructions for how to use it, templates, examples and a database. And what happened next…crickets.

What’s the deal? There’s definitely a need for better business systems in the construction industry. So, why aren’t people buying this inexpensive proposal system and taking control of their businesses?

Recently I have been in communication with a construction company that has shown interest in the proposal system. We’ve met a few times and discussed the system. I even did an example proposal of a project they are getting ready to start (at no cost) to compare to their system.

During our most recent meeting we discussed how my system could work for them. He asked some questions about some concerns he had.

If my system works so well for me, why wouldn’t it work the same for every other construction company out there?

That’s when I had an aha moment. It’s because they aren’t me.

So, I need to rethink this whole thing. Rather than me focusing on selling my system and teaching it others, I need to find out what they need and build them a system that works for them specifically.

I need to approach this more like doing a construction project. I wouldn’t build the same house for every customer. They’re all different. They have different needs and wants. Once I figure out what those are, I can build them the project of their dreams.

This is how I need to approach the coaching and consulting for construction companies. I need to find out what they need and build it for them.

This new thinking is going to require me to do some work in the beginning at no charge so that I can learn how to do this. Giving away work doesn’t sound like a very good plan…

But I think the long-term benefits to both me and them will be worth it in the end.