Editor’s note: Just a heads up that this post will seem like a bit of a rant. Thought I’d spice things up a bit since I haven’t done one in a while. I have also been wanting to write a post like this for a while.
Ahh, the good old pick my brain request. Many of us who have a business are quite familiar with it.
I am fine with giving out free information/advice to a certain extent – you’ll see it in my newsletter, social media feeds, blog posts, talks, and at networking events. It’s there if you want it. I am also fine with a few questions here and there. I’m not a monster. What I’m not fine with is seeking out in-depth advice that is specific to your business for free/doing work that takes at least an hour for free and not getting any recognition for it/not getting anything in return/no possible indication of working together in the future.
These days, I’m more protective of my time and know what value I can bring to the table.
I Put In The Time and Effort
Even though it may not take as long for me to come up with the answer/fix the problem, please read this: I spent a LOT of hours, days on my own, learning how to do this stuff, googling and implementing it (blog consulting and blog coaching really wasn’t that big back then). I gained this experience over the years and I have the right to charge for it. #sorrynotsorry
For the record, in my early blogging days, I did seek out a bit of advice from someone more experienced than me who was looking into doing this as a paid gig eventually. She sent me detailed emails on various blog topics ( i.e. SEO, guest posting) in exchange for blog posts that I wrote for her blog. It was a win-win situation. She got content, I became more knowledgeable about blogging. There was also a program called Bloggers Helping Bloggers where more experienced bloggers were paired up with new bloggers. The mentorship was flexible in that it could be done via email, in-person if applicable or video call. This was all voluntary. I’m not sure if it still exists, but given the popularity of blogging over the past several years, I would definitely consider monetizing it at this point in time.
Oh wait, I sort of am.
And I have every right to.
Why You Need To Pay For My Advice
In the past, I have done work in exchange for testimonials which I know is quite common when you are first starting out. You need to build that credibility. However, I feel I am past that point. I am more than happy to do 30 min complimentary discovery calls if you have questions about my services and how I work.
If you want someone’s feedback, you can always ask someone in your mastermind group or in a Facebook group. If you want feedback from someone in the industry, then you can ask me. The big difference is that I give more detailed feedback, go through it with you, summarize it, provide additional suggestions that are specific to your business. It takes time and effort to do all of this, which is why I charge for it. I’m doing the grunt work for you and presenting it in a nice, neat organized package.
Who wouldn’t want that?
I can understand there can be a bit of a trust issue for services, but that’s why I have testimonials, LinkedIn recommendations, Google and Facebook reviews. That’s why I made sure I had a strong online presence on various social media platforms and why I blog consistently.
You Get What You Pay For
It’s like the saying, you get what you pay for. I am not going to go into great detail for free about the blog and social media strategies for your business. It would not be fair to people who have paid for my services, workshops, and courses I teach at Sheridan college. They know the value of my time, experience, and knowledge. Hence they are willing to pay for it.
There is something about having a price tag attached to it. There is a difference between something that is priced for free and something that has a price attached to it. This is just my personal observation and from what I have experienced with networking events, but I have seen the difference between paid networking events vs free ones. I am willing to pay for a networking event if there is a perceived value (i.e. who are the speakers, what will they be speaking about, what is the agenda, what is the theme of the event).
People always say I can just Google this. Of course, you can, but do you have the time and patience to Google EVERYTHING and THEN do it? I certainly don’t. I value my time and my money. I know when I can do something myself and when I need to outsource. There is a lot of advice out there – both good AND bad. I wish I had bookmarked this one particular article that mentioned using the follow/unfollow method was a great way to increase your social media presence.
No, no and NO.
Sometimes the advice out there is pretty generic. If anything, I would rather have advice that is specific to my business, wouldn’t you? I understand that these things cost money so if I am interested in someone’s services I’ll either schedule a call, send an email and inquire about the process/rates.
Not to say that I don’t do coffees with people. I still do. I’ve just cut down on coffees and have become more selective as to whom I have coffee with. It may have to do with the fact that I’m an online business, but I have a few past clients/leads that I have never met in person and only interacted with through video calls/direct messaging.
If I let anybody and everybody pick my brain all the time, I wouldn’t have anything left for when we worked together or I wouldn’t have generated any revenue. It would have just been a very time-consuming hobby. Like gambling, – know your limit and play within it. People constantly ask me my thoughts and I’ve gotten much better at telling them how much my thoughts on their business cost or if they want to know more they can always book a session with me.
If you want a customized free opinion, by all means, go ahead – but you’ll have to seek it elsewhere.
Do you let people pick your brain in a zombie-like fashion? Or does it depend on the situation?