Self-professed Brain Pickers Aren’t Looking to Cut Checks

Unpaid brain picking is not a business model

Anyone ask to pick your brain lately?

This might be a better question:

Solopreneurs, are you in the habit of giving away advice for free?

Then again, maybe this would be the very BEST question:

Are you being too nice, too sweet, too generous, too open, too kind, too selfless, too afraid to say no, and giving away the farm at no charge?

Let’s fix that.

Love this from Norma Doiron of Savvy BIZ Solutions:

Avoid the Sneak Attacks: Beware of the brain-picking sneak attacks — the seemingly innocent questions that turn into a full-on interrogation. Chances are the brain picker has unknowingly crossed the line. Often the sneak attacks start with a simple request for an opinion or an answer to a “quick” question.

Norma says, “My success did not fall in my lap; it is the fruit of my hard labor.”

Sean Wes offers this bit of wisdom:

Call It What It Is — Consulting: It feels weird when a brain picker asks to buy you coffee. While they may not be saying they don’t value your time with their words, their actions are saying your time is worth a $4.78 latte.

OUCH.

Sean goes on to say, “People who don’t pay for your advice won’t value your advice. Yes, that includes family. Yes, that includes friends.”

Alexis Grant gets down to the nitty gritty:

Just Say No: For most of us, it should probably be the default option. You can’t help others if you’re not making enough money to sustain yourself. And you can’t earn a decent living if you don’t spend meaningful chunks of time on your own business or career.

Unpaid brain picking is not a business model

Here’s how Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer responds to the pick-your-brain request:

“Sounds like we could work together on this. My work schedule is tight so lunch/coffee is typically not do-able. Why don’t we get a deliverables or hours need from you, I can wrap some thought around an estimate and we can schedule a working session?”

Jason adds, “That response seems to work. It’s polite, professional, and directs them to the understanding that you don’t work for free without you coming off as a money-grubbing scum bag.”

If you’ve guessed that I’ve fallen into the trap of selling myself short in the past, you’re right.

But I’ve learned to stand firm, set my boundaries, and guard my treasure (all that magical and valuable knowledge housed in my brain).

Remember this the next time someone wants to buy you coffee and pick your brain:

Unpaid brain picking is not a business model, it won’t keep a roof over your head, and it won’t put food on your table.

Where do YOU draw the hard lines in the sand? How have you determined what you’re willing to give away and how much of it?

Makeness Media Bravery Blogging Project

Pimp Your Pricing Or Be Prepared To Eat Crumbs

birds eating crumbsOwning your worth and “Earning your worth” are close cousins.

But if you don’t first “own” your worth as a small business owner and entrepreneur, gear up to settle for the [teensy weensy] crumbs that will be thrown your way.

A diet of crumbs isn’t very filling … or fulfilling.

They’re not appetizing and they won’t pay the bills, either.

Selling yourself short, as the saying goes, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. 

Discounting your true worth is detrimental to your well being and the well being of your business.

Getting at the heart of understanding and embracing the value you provide to your target market and, hence, the fees you charge isn’t always easy.  However, it’s crucial to your success.

Trust me.  I know.

True confessions …

I’m the guiltiest party of all.

I tend to give away the farm – free business building advice, free tips, free resources, free online marketing consultations, free webinars, free interviews. free social media strategies, free website critiques, free guest posts, free marketing plans, free reports … you name it.

Hell, I may as well throw in a free lunch!

(Ameena Gorton would pop out of her skin if she read this.  Let’s hope she doesn’t. Could be messy.)

Not owning my worth is getting pretty expensive.

Can you relate?  Ringing any bells for you??

The thing is …

You might assume people love you when you hand them everything free of charge on a silver platter.  Fact is, they may be smiling and sending flowery thank-you notes your way BUT …

They actually don’t respect you. 

And the dial on your self-respect meter drops a little lower every time you don’t charge what you’re worth … and especially when you charge nothing at all.

Here’s what I can tell you …

The days of giving away the farm are coming to a screeching halt for me.  I’ve been doing myself and the world a big disservice by not owning my worth. 

It’s perfectly okay to toot your own horn, learn to become an expert at bragging – the right way, and charge what your years of experience, skills, strengths, and talents are worth.

Mission:  Pimp your pricing! 

The fees you attach to your products, programs, or services should be impressive — just like you.

You can either start owning your worth or settle for crumbs.   Personally, I’ve had my fill of crumbs.

This post is part of the monthly Word Carnival series of posts. This month our carnies take on the challenge of knowing your value and conveying it to clients so that you can charge what you’re worth – and get it! Read the rest of the Word Carnival posts here for more great advice from some of the smartest business owners and entrepreneurs you’ll meet.