If you could understand my rambly and mostly-unintelligible advice about freebies last night, great! If not, here’s a quick written explanation on my thoughts about freebies, if you’re curious.

Before I started digitizing, I was subscribed to an email list for a website that gave away a free embroidery design every day. EVERY DAY?! FREE?! Yes, free every day! And boy howdy, I downloaded those suckers every single day whether or not I thought I would ever use them. (To be fair, I now do the exact same thing with clip art, when it’s offered for free. LOL)

There’s another phenomenon of HUGE Facebook groups where digitizers will post their freebies, and.. how do I say this nicely.. a lot of those freebies are worth exactly what you’re paying for them.

There are several reasons why I will release a design for free, including but not limited to:
* to reward group members for hanging out with me and encouraging me when I need it, being active in my group
* to give a sample of my work so the customer will stitch it out and say, “Wow, I really like her style!” and come back to shop later
* to give a sample of a particular project in case a customer is wary of spending money on something they’ve never stitched before. Again, this is to entice future business.

And YES! I do like money. I will never stop loving the Etsy “cha-ching.” But I would rather you spend ONE DOLLAR a month with me, and be active in the group and enjoy yourself and share your projects and stories and photos, than spend all of your time collecting freebies across the internet, and get burned out or overwhelmed, and feel like embroidering is not fun any more. Honestly.

I consider myself lucky to be in the company of some great digitizers on a daily basis, whether it’s Facebook messaging, emailing, or even texting. And these are some talented freakin’ ladies. If they release a freebie, do not walk – RUN – or.. whatever the internet version of running is.. to their website or group and grab it, because you know it’s something good.

I wish I could catalog how much time I spent over the years downloading freebies, unzipping, organizing, filing, reorganizing.. and how few I actually ever used. There is such a thing as “opportunity cost” and it absolutely applies to all these “freebies.” While you’re spending hours unzipping, categorizing, labeling, and then messing with a crappy design that someone spent 4 minutes digitizing and then gave you for “free,” you could have spent less than five bucks on a quality design and made something great for a loved one or to make money for your family.

So, my best advice is to be choosy about your “freebies.” Don’t waste your time downloading a bunch of stuff that you’re never going to use.