If it hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait; it will. Someone will undoubtedly call you, email you or when they pass by you at a networking or live event, they will ask you if they can “pick your brain.” While you will undoubtedly be honored and humbled that you are deemed to be an expert by them, don’t believe the hype. They are just trying to get their hands on a million dollar idea at your expense and I say …
Don’t do it. Don’t let them pick your brain.
The truth is, in order for your brain to be worthy of a good picking, you had to learn a lot. Certainly, you invested in some sort of education in your industry and more than likely you had to pay for your investment in cold hard cash, not corn or rice. So the answer when they ask is, “I do not offer business insight or strategy as a complimentary service.”
Take a minute and add up the amount of time and/or money you’ve invested in your education. It’s probably a considerable amount. So why do you repeatedly let people buy you a hamburger and tell them everything they need to start and grow their venture? More than likely it’s because of your relationship with money and your self-sabotaging beliefs that say you aren’t worthy of more than you have right now. I have had friends and clients alike say that they don’t feel right charging people for their expertise. My response is always, “But you consider yourself an entrepreneur, right?” They say, “Of course,” and I say, “well, entrepreneurs solve problems for profit.”
What are you waiting for?
Once people pick their chin up off the ground and roll their eyes because you had the nerve to call them on their attempt to learn whatever they could from you for free and then turn around and use that info to build their business, charge more money, land a new job, etc., they will respect you. That is when you follow up with this statement:
“I have a fiscal responsibility to myself, my family and my business to operate as a business.”
They will get it immediately. They will apologize and they will move on. The fact that they asked you will make you feel good and your response will tell them that you’ve been revered as an expert who knows their value and worth. Your response will also encourage them to do the same. Marianne Williamson says it perfectly, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”
The thing is this, if people are coming to you it’s because they see you as the solution to their problem, which means there is an opportunity for you to remember that you run a business. Whether it’s part-time or full time, your business runs on income. People will pay if you position yourself correctly and use all the confidence you can muster to tell them that while they can’t pick your brain for free, they can purchase a “pick your brain” session from you during which you’d be happy to tell them everything you can about the subject of their choice and your expertise in 45 minutes.
Trust me, it’s courageous but isn’t that why you started your business in the first place? To earn a living? To make money? To be able to pay your bills?
- Memorize the two responses listed above. Brainstorm other ways to say the same thing that may be better suited for your style.
- List the areas of your expertise that you could answer 45 minutes of questions about.
- Of the areas you listed, which are congruent to your brand? Which do you have social proof to validate your expertise in?
- Create a new service option via your website called Pick [Insert Your Name’s] Brain and price it as you deem worthy.
- Call the last few people who’ve asked you to pick your brand and tell them about your new offering. You will probably pick up some money that’s been laying on the table in front of you.
The bottom line is this: it must cost something to access what is in your brain. After all, it cost you to acquire it and you desire to earn your return on investment. You decide how much, but people must pay something if they want to get to your good stuff, the stuff that is designed to solve major problems and offer effective solutions.
“Business optimization strategist, Darnyelle A, Jervey, is CEO of Incredible One Enterprises, a business consulting and coaching firm that helps entrepreneurs and business owners realize financial and spiritual abundance. Jervey is an award-winning coach, consultant, strategist and a best-selling author with 7 books to her credit, including her latest projects: “Burn the Box: 7 Breakthrough Strategies for Standing Up, Stepping In and Igniting Success” and “Market Like a R.O.C.K. Star.” Jervey may be reached online at www.incredibleoneenterprises.com.
Photo Courtesy of Samuel Masinter [FLICKR]