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Last week we talked about what to say when people want to pick your brains for 20-minutes.

In case you missed parts 1 and 2, here’s some background info before we get into the juicy words of how to say no to people wanting to pick your brains for free.

As your business grows, so do the requests from people. The problem you can have as a service-based business owner is that you genuinely want to help, and sometimes that can mean you give away way too much of your free time.

At first, it might be giving away lots of free sessions of one type or another. Over time, because of your generosity, you can become the go-to-person for free support and guidance – as one of my business coach friends would put it – free consultancy.

Consider this: If you’re being asked a lot about the same things, you might find it’s a good area for you to focus on in your business. You’re obviously already becoming known for it.

In this 3-part mini-series, we are exploring 3 ways of how this might be showing up for you in what people are saying to you and how you can deal with it.

Scenario 3: “I wonder if I could pick your brains about something when you have 5 minutes”.

If it’s someone that could really do with your help, a great way to reply is this:

“That’s a great question, pop it in my group on Facebook, or I’ll write a newsletter about it when I have a spare moment. If you’re not subscribed, make sure you’re on my list. Often these answers can benefit everyone else too, but if you prefer 1:1 let’s book a Pick My Brains Session. It’s 20-minutes for £67 or £97 for a 30-minute session. You can ask me whatever you like. I can guarantee you’ll go away with loads of ideas and a mini-action plan to get you started.”

You’ll still be sharing all of your expertise, and that’s not just since you’ve been in business, that’s all of your life experiences, the training you’ve done, the things you’ve learned along the way, the books you’ve read, etc. There is one question to ask yourself on this whole mini-series though….

Is there something in it for you?

I mean this in the best way possible. If it’s a two-way thing, and you’re going to help that person, and they’re going to offer you something in return, i.e. a session, free ticket to an event you’re excited about, a coffee/lunch or whatever you like, then that’s okay.

This is about you honouring your worth.

I’ve had loads of pick your brains conversations and they haven’t even offered to buy me a coffee! And if you know me then you will know how much I like caffeine!

Maybe they are going to give you a glowing testimonial which is just what you’re looking for to add to your website. Then that’s all good. Usually, though, the reply is something along the lines of, ‘Oh, I wasn’t expecting to pay”! A good reply to that is, “Oh, really?”

Enter sarcastic Ruby: “Ummm, yeah, I’m a business owner.”

Now, I’m not saying don’t help. We all know how that one will work out, we can’t help ourselves. We’re hard-wired to help!

What I am saying is there is a line. If you’re putting lots of useful content out there and being of service in lots of different ways, then you don’t need to worry.

Send them to that free content and invite them to join your community. You’re still serving, you’re still helping, you’re just not being taken for granted.

You probably have lots of things you’ve already created for your business and are sharing heaps of valuable stuff for free, so that way you don’t have to feel guilty about charging. People can either do the work to find what they’re looking for (searching keywords on your blog about a specific area for example) or they can pay you for giving them fantastic coaching and mentoring guidance bespoke to them and their business.

Remember: You’re running a business.

Call to Action: If you haven’t done so already, then think about where you’re giving away your time, and get some wording/systems in place to support the people who want your guidance for free.

 PS. If you missed parts 1 and/or 2 you can find them here and here.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series. What else would you like to learn about business in bite-sized chunks?

♦ To meet Ruby McGuireBusiness & Mindset Queen| Master Coach | Mentor |Trainer | Speaker | Author – MCIPD, AMC, NLP Coach & Practitioner, EFT Practitioner, Time Line Therapist and Mind Your Mind Practitioner, see here 

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