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.
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.
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?