It’s a dreaded question. It makes any communications professional shout UGH! (silently, of course!).

Here’s the question: “Do I work for free?”

Here’s my answer: “Sure, I can do communications work for your business for free, as along as I can come to your business and get all kinds of stuff for free too.”

That usually ends the conversation. It appears that some business-to-business people only see ‘free’ as working one way. Funny, eh? Not really. Not if you’re in the shoes of a professional.

Here are 10 reasons why I don’t work for free:

1. When I do work for you, it’s designed to help your business market itself, increase sales, or any thing else that represents ROI. That’s my sweat and time to help you increase cashflow or look great. There’s a cost to doing that.

2. I complete exams, certifications and training to keep my skills fresh so clients benefit. I read books and have professional memberships too. These are all personal investments. Just like you, I require ROI too.

3. I write a blog. I tweet. I post on Facebook. I post on Pinterest. That’s where you’ll find my free stuff.

4. I run a business. Running a business costs money.

5. Long ago I learned that tired refrain of “We don’t have any money!” really means “We have money, we just don’t want to spend it on (fill in the blank).”

6. Just like you put a pricetag on everything you sell, I put a value on everything I do.

7. I’m not a big fan of ‘insult’ comedy.

8. Google can handle all your free needs.

9. I’ve spent a long time working on what’s inside my head. So, yes, it costs money to pick my brain.

10. When I do work for your business, it’s customized for your business. I invest my time to learn about you and your needs. Then I invest my time to create things tailored for you. All that time means you benefit big time in solutions that aren’t cookie-cutter in nature.