Can you pay your bills with ‘if’?
Can you buy groceries with ‘when’?
What of supporting your community with ‘maybe’?
As a consultant, I’m continually amazed that so many well intended smart people keep asking for free work. While they may truly not connect the dots, it’s time they did.
- Expertise is as much a service as a plumber fixing your sink.
- Specializing in subject matter is of equal value as an accountant crunching your numbers.
- Advising is as valuable as building a solid home or store foundation.
- Consumers buy goods and services – business buy goods and services.
- Service carry equal gravity as do goods in the purchasing dynamic.
Maybe that’s why it continues to surprise me: smart people already value these services and goods. Why then do so many smart people not consider expertise in the form of conversation, talk, and idea exchanges with equal weight?
I’d posit that we need to educate in a professional and direct manner as such. Letting people know, directly and diplomatically, that talk isn’t cheep – talk is expertise and will help you as much as feeding your body will make it possible to stay healthy.
Adrienne is right: when people want to pick your brain it’s because they already know you have value to offer them. Return the respect by expecting to pay for that knowledge. Which by the way takes years of experience, practice, improvements, relationship development, and continued education to be able to offer.
I’d also recommend that other professionals whose product is knowledge oriented do not give it away – unless they want to and not because they were asked. It devalues the entire relationship if free is part of the expectation. “But you get great exposure!” Bollocks! Exposure gives you frostbite. And no one should have to lose a finger or limb in order to make a living.
Do you tell the grocer: “I’ll pay for the food if it makes a good meal/makes me feel good/my kids like it”? Heavens no! Same darn thing.
One of the most striking ironies to me is that many people who ask me for free work are already getting a salary or wage – never considering that the conversation/knowledge/expertise/access they’re asking me for is where my salary comes from.
That’s what it boils down to: making a living. Yes, we all need to support one another. Yes, we all want to give. Yes, we should all want to help. Therefore we should all see the dollar value in expertise, talk, and knowledge.
Ask me for advice, insight, research information, expertise, and knowledge. You get what you pay for and you build the best relationship with the respect of monetary value as part of the conversation, like it or not.
I started this business to build something extraordinary and make a living for myself and my family. I already give – and can give *more* back too when my business is healthy.