Brain Picking Is Out. It Costs Too Much.

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I truly enjoy helping people, giving advice and sharing my knowledge.  I find it truly humbling  when people reach out to me for advice or to seek my wisdom.

It often end when I discover that they are on a brain picking mission.  What do I mean?  Well, this is when they are just on a mission to gather as much information and knowledge as possible without making the effort.

The internet is sprawling with free information about everything under the sun.  You can just google whatever information you need.  And because of this people presume that you too should be giving out free information.

But, here’s the thing…

You can consume the free stuff from the internet all you like, but when you still find that you are lacking the answers that you need or the free advice is not working, you cannot then approach a professional (friend or family member) and ask them to work for free. I hate to break it to you…It’s not going to happen!

Brain picking is out, it simply costs too much.  It actually costs money and a ridiculous amount of time to maintain my brain.  I have to attend courses and programs to update my knowledge. I cannot tell you that about of money that I have to spend on books and the time that I have to commit to reading them.  Not to mention the amount of money that I’ve spent trying things out and learning from mistakes. I also have paid memberships so that I can network and master my skills.  I spend quite a lot of my weekends in conferences and seminars, all so that I can be of better service to my clients.

So, as you can see, I have invested a lot of time and money to acquire all the knowledge and wisdom that I have and it has not come easily.  Is it fair to ask me to give away for free everything that I have acquired to pay my bills and feed and care for my 4 beautiful children?

I’ve written this not to offend anyone and if you are feeling offended then you should stop and think about what I am saying because you may well be a ‘brain picker’.

Now let me put this into perspective…

How would you feel if your manager said that they would not pay you for any of the work that you do because the company could get the information from Google?  YES! Think about it and let it sink in.  How does it make you feel? That’s exactly how I feel when people ask to pick my brain.

I used to give away a lot of valuable information and I never used to mind helping people when they reached out.  And I still don’t.  What irritates me are the people who keep coming back, again and again, for more free information.  Also, there are those who take my ideas, use them, gain success and never once think about how they can repay me for my time and wisdom.

And I’m sorry, taking me for a coffee at Costa or Starbuck is NOT considered a payment for the help that I have given you to overcome an obstacle, create value or an increase in your sales.  I charge my paying clients very good money for the service that I provide and how would they feel if they knew that I was giving away free advice for a coffee and a croissant?  Not well and I would probably start getting a shed load of emails requesting refunds!

If you are like how I was and people are still picking your brain, the question that you’re probably asking yourself is, where do I draw the line?

There is a point where you have to start charging for the information that you are providing and deciding where this point is can be difficult, especially if you are new to the business.   But understand this…What you know has value.  You’ve invested time and money to gaining wisdom and knowledge and it’s not fair that people are asking you and even expecting you to give it away for free.  Even your friends and family need to understand the boundaries.  Yes, people will get upset with you but they will get over it eventually.

For example, I have a myriad of things that I have to pay for such as the mortgage, taxes, insurance, school fees, the list goes on.  I’ve heard it all before…

“I don’t have much money.  I’m struggling”

Yes, we all are, but the good thing is that we have a choice.  You can either delay your plans or come up with the money you need to fund your dreams.  End of story.  If you’re giving away information that you should be charging for, then this is the quickest way to losing your home and not being able to be of benefit to your family.  Let THAT sink in!

If you’re having problem knowing when and where to draw the line, then here are some rules you can follow:

  1. Know and truly believe that the knowledge that you have is of value.  If this was not true then people would not be coming to you.  This is your chance to solve their problem or find the solution that they are looking for.  CHARGE for it.
  2.  Create a fee plan.  When someone decides that they would like to pick your brain, make sure that you have the fee plan to hand and they you can give them a quotation of what it will cost them to pick your brain.  Here’s the great thing.  They will either pay or they will move on and leave you free to create more value and get paying clients.
  3. Don’t hesitate to send them to Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine or websites that may have the information about what they are looking for.  You can also recommend a book or an article that they can read.  Let them use all that energy that they would have used in your coffee meet up to find that answers that they are looking for.  The thing is that they will find themselves overwhelmed with all the varying information out there which is not fun.  But when they are ready to get professional advice and implement, then they can come to you for a paid consultation.  Did I say free?  No I said a paid consultation.
  4. Send them to your free resources.  If you write blogs, have a free Facebook group where you give value, have training videos or audios where you give advice then you can refer them to these.  Explain that they can get free information in those places and if what they need is specific and not in the free resources, they it’s going to cost them.
  5. Coffee and lunch is definitely in if it’s strictly not business related.  When conversations turn to business (which they often do), quickly and politely tell them that you’re not working at the moment and if they would like a consultation, then they can book an appointment.  Don’t forget to tell them that there is a charge for that.
  6. I know that it can be hard to say “NO”, but you cannot give in.  People, much like children, will know just how far they can push you.  Stand firm and make sure that you have set your boundaries to guard your treasure.  The moment that you make a compromise, you are undervaluing yourself and your knowledge.
  7. Keep it short and sweet.  If you do cave in and have to give away some golden nugget, don’t go in too deep, keep it general.  Anything that goes beyond the ‘why’ and ‘what’ comes with a price.  Don’t even point them in the direction of how they can get the ‘how’, you’ll just be short changing yourself.
  8. Quid pro quo – Ask them for a paying referral.  If they truly want your expertise, then then should be willing to help you also.  Do this before you start giving out any advice, ask them to provide a referral to someone who needs your service and can afford it.

I know that it can be scary when drawing the line.  Some people decide not to do it because they are afraid of upsetting a friend or the major one, losing a potential client or opportunity.  Believe me, if they walk away because they can’t get free advice, then they were never going to be your client and you have not missed out on an opportunity.

Most people, especially in marketing, will tell you to giving things away for free is important, but that doesn’t always lead to a sale.  It’s very similar to the interview process where you are asked what you would do if you where in x, y z situation and you GIVE away what you would do, will not necessarily give you the job.

The long and short of this is that it is up to you to decide if you should give things away and how much you give away.  Understand your value, know what you are worth and charge for it.

Remember, brain picking is out! It cost too much!

Still want to pick my brain? Ok fine, just click here or on my photo below and let’s get started.





With Love,