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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Teaching for Free

Nearly every year I try to teach someone else how to paint windows up for the holidays. I realize that there will come a time when I will not be able to do this sort of work myself, but I also teach because I love to pass on what I know how to do well. Not only do I teach ways to make someone's own art look better, but I also give advice about how to sell their art in this specific situation. With practice and if an artist is willing to learn to work toward getting faster rather than keeping attachments to slower means of getting results, an artist can make more than a hundred dollars an hour actual painting time, not counting the time invested setting up the business. (Too bad this sort of business only works this way three weeks a year.)

It confounds me when people refuse to take advantage of what they are given for free. Take for instance a friend of mine who said they wanted to make enough money to buy a car. I knew this was entirely possible for them to make over a thousand dollars, by starting out at the beginning of the window painting season - which would be Nov 15th. So I set up this friend of mine to paint windows by providing a set of markers for him and showing everything I thought he needed to know in time to make it happen. Yet he did nothing other than make a few windows without asking for money for his efforts. I knew he had the skills to sell his art, (and the skill, because this window represented his first attempt without any help on my part. I was especially impressed with his first attempt at lettering.) Yet he only made one try to sell at perhaps only five or six businesses. Obviously, he was not persistent enough.

Why is it that people seem to define the value of something in direct proportion to the monetary sacrifice they must make to acquire the information? People commonly actively devalue what you hand them for free. I really don't understand why this seems to be so.

Maybe it means I should quit teaching for free. But, aha! I think I've found a suggestion about how to mend my ways and not be so annoying in general. Although this article is directed at suggestions about improving parenting skills, it seems to relate to passing on what you know in general. So, I resemble this remark.

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