No, this post isn’t a maternal rant on premarital sex. I just read a great article on Forbes.com called No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much.
The gist of the article is you need to avoid getting sucked into giving away your expertise without getting paid. You worked hard for that knowledge and it’s worth good money.
If you’re a consultant or some other knowledge-based entrepreneur, this article is a must-read. In fact, I think I’m going to print a copy and post it next to my desk.
I’ve fallen into that trap before. In the name of “being helpful” I give away too much free advice so that person doesn’t need to pay me. They got it all for free.
Now I’m not saying I don’t give anything away for free. Hello?!? Have you read this blog? All free.
However, I need to make sure when I’m meeting with someone, I give just enough information to prove I know what I’m talking about but be clear that after that I’m on the clock. In the article, Adrienne Graham suggests having a fee schedule. That way if you’re squeamish about talking prices, you can always hand someone your fee schedule.
Fee Schedule + Law of Attraction = Results
Having a fee schedule has another benefit. I apologize if I found airy fairy here, but having a written fee schedule activates the Law of Attraction. When you write down what you expect to be paid for certain services, it tells the universe you’re serious about your business and voila, suddenly people who can and will pay for your services will appear.
Getting serious about getting paid doesn’t mean you can’t give it away for free … just make sure you are getting something of equal value in return. For example, I have a graphic designer colleague who I trade services with. When she needs help with some copywriting, she’ll send it over for me to look at. Likewise, when I have some graphics that need tweaking, she’ll fix it for me. However, when we have larger jobs, we charge. In the end, we get equal value out of the relationship.
So, look at your business relationships. Are you giving away too much by letting friends “pick your brain”? If so, maybe it’s time to do something about it. After all, you wouldn’t expect your friend the car dealer to just give you a car to drive just because you’re a nice person.
Andrea J. Stenberg
What do you think? Do you give away too much knowledge for free? Or have you found a way to stop giving away too much? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
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