The Value of Free Stuff

I have had an eye opening experience now that I have opened the Automation Academy to a few people.

I started with a list of 34 people who showed interest in my new membership site. I sent e-mails and several people offered to get involved. Of those, I have given a free membership to about 8 so far.

Guess how many have even logged in to check out the site?


Now the site isn’t ready for public release yet, I am still working on some critical parts before selling memberships. But the people I gave the memberships to wouldn’t know that, since they have never checked it out.

Now another person bought one of my courses that was moved inside of the site. They paid for the course, so they had some incentive and have logged in five times, though not for a while. So now I have had a grand total of five people out of the eight I sent a link to sign up, of which two have actually signed into the site and looked around, one of who paid.

This reinforces the quote I had alway’s heard:

People value what they pay for.

The site includes a course I sell on Udemy for $49.99, several other new courses, 50+ downloadable files, and now a full social networking site with interest groups. To be fair, several of the people I gave access to don’t need the training courses, but I really thought they would log in to check it out.

I had hoped to get a few fresh eyes on the platform and get some feedback on the process of signup and navigation of the site. I have received interest from several companies on corporate memberships and really need to make sure things work before opening. I don’t have an easy way to test the process myself since I am an administrator.

The cool thing about all this web-based stuff is that I have visibility into how many people open e-mails, how many open attachments, and how often members log in to the site itself. I don’t always know who opens e-mails, but at least I get the statistical stuff.

On the drawing board for the Automation Academy:

  • A basic generic PLC course, non-brand specific.
  • A basic industrial electricity course.
  • A basic HMI course.
  • A basic Machine Vision course.

The Goal and Plan sections under Careers needs to be finished before opening. It is a critical element of the site. There is probably enough other content to open, but I have a couple of weeks before I am ready.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant! I am a member of a group called The Membership Academy, and they told me to expect this, it isn’t new. I certainly haven’t lost confidence in the idea, but I have learned some market behavior lessons first hand.

People don’t value Free Stuff.


Electrical Engineer and business owner from the Nashville, Tennessee area. I also play music, Chess and Go.