• How did I miss this! What a perfect complement to our podcast on the subject. Well, we are already in the same choir on this one 🙂 The thing is, newbie or seasoned professional, you have to have a response ready for these kinds of things because they WILL happen. And if you’re caught unaware you will probably hem and haw, not know what to say, feel guilty and give yourself away. I love the whole, “Let’s put together some deliverables and I’ll quote you a fee” thing. Of course, people will like to tell you that “oh, it will only be a minute.” In which case you can offer them “one minute” or get a little more blunt and say there is no such thing as a quick question. You need to make sure you give them your full attention and that will take time!

    There is also the challenge of trying not to be “nice.” You know how sometimes someone will email and be super friendly and throw in a question… and you figure oh, I’ll just be nice and help them out… the problem is that once you open that door it’s impossible to close. The nicer you are the more demanding people get. So it probably all sounds so mercenary but you are right about ALL OF IT. You have to value yourself and you have to be protective of your brain.

    • “The nicer you are the more demanding people get.” FOR SURE. And you know what, Carol Lynn? It’s truer than true that “nice guys finish last” (especially when you’re dealing with brain picker types). It’s so easy to cave in and discount ourselves sometimes. I’m hoping YOUR PODCAST and this posts like this one help people realize they don’t have to conduct consultations for zero dollars.

      “It will only take a minute of your time”. Pffftt! NO. SUCH. ANIMAL.

      I’m with you. I think Jason has it wired, nailed, and down to a science! In my estimation, his response is the BEST and most effective.

      I really appreciate you joining thE conversation. Thank you! 🙂

  • Although I’ve been writing longer than many freelancers have been alive, I consider myself a newb in the freelancing (or solopreneur) world. I started my own business the latter part of 2008. I typically market business communication services to corporate clients but I design my business communication blog to be helpful to business owners of any size. But I do have freelancers coming to me to “pick my brain”. I am not that far removed from my newbie status and I remember the overwhelming feel of those early days. So I try to keep that in mind. Where I draw the line is when my response would be more than a few lines or a link/referral. Questions like, “What should I do to market my business?” rate a latte franchise – not a single cup. Fortunately, I can defer on franchise-size questions by letting them know I do not include freelance consulting in my services. 😉 Funny thing, when it is a corporate prospect, I have no problem quoting a consulting fee. I’ve had to work at it with freelancing colleagues.

    • I must respectfully disagree, Cathy. I don’t consider you a newbie at all! You’ve been a solopreneur for SEVEN years. I’d say that qualifies you as “seasoned professional”. 🙂

      ” … a latte franchise – not a single cup.” !!!LOL!!! Thanks for the biggest and best giggle of the day!

      Kidding aside, I used to provide IN-DEPTH responses to the “What should I do to market my business” question from those lovely brain pickers. I even created full-blown pdf’s for some of them, specific to their field/industry/niche. Yikes! I spent hours and hours on those docs and loaded them with helpful resources and tools. One word: Foolish. Looking back, I was a total fool to do all that mentally-taxing work and research for $0.

      Please don’t get me wrong, Cathy. I LOVE to help others and it’s a great feeling to put someone on the right track, ease someone’s mind, or even ease their pain. But if a brain picker’s question is going to require more than a few minutes to answer, a paid consult is in order.

      Thanks for dropping in!

      • I guess it’s because I spent over 30 years in corporate life that seven is not even an itch to me. 😉 Melanie, I also provided in-depth responses. I have the frustrated teacher in me and love helping people. But, I like eating even more. 😉

        • I’m with you, Cathy. Eating is mighty high on my priority list. LOL!

          For those of us who were teachers in our other lives, the tendency is to give, give, and give some more. After all, teachers are supposed to be generous and thorough, right? Teachers are also great at hand-holding and guiding and inspiring and motivating and SHARING and … 😉