Have you got a minute, can I pick your brain?


I love helping people and, equally, I love to be helped when I have a question about something that I am not overly familiar with or need a different perspective.

I don’t have a physical product, as such,  to sell. I can of course create and design stuff that can be sold but, ultimately, how I make my living is by using what is inside my head. Knowledge.

I am very thankful to live and work in a space with people who do not have the approach of “If I help you, what will I get in return” which is why I was so surprised by some recent advice. I’ve been pondering it for a while and I would be keen to hear your thoughts.

I set up my own business last year and in January 2016 I took the plunge and went full-time with it. It is going better than I had ever hoped. Granted, we are only 2 months in, but I’m very pleased. I have been receiving more requests than usual to “meet up for coffee” or “pick my brain for a couple of minutes” which I am more than happy to do. It doesn’t take a great deal of my time and I am a firm believer of “it’s nice to be nice.”

Of course, it’s my time and knowledge that I am sharing but I don’t charge for these moments. If I am able to help, however I can, surely that just underpins my basic human being to support others?

A conversation with an experienced freelancer challenged my thinking. I was told that I should charge for these moments; “time is time and being nice doesn’t pay the bills.” They told me that they charge for initial client meetings, whether they get the contract or not. They even have a coffee chat service. This involves 30 minute to 1hr calls / Skype, or face to face if they happen to be in the area, chargeable.

They may have a point but I disagree. The foundation of my entire being, and the nature of how I work, is to do things my way. Differently. With understanding. Passion. Consideration. Above all, with heart.

In the words of the Boss “Less Body, More Soul”.

If that doesn’t pay the bills, then hey, I’ll live with that (and get a job down Morrison’s).

So, if you have a question that you feel I can help you with, please ask. If you would like to meet for a coffee and chew the fat over stuff, great. If you would like to bounce your thoughts off another person and see where it goes, I’ll be at the end of the phone. Chances are, just by doing these things, you will be helping me too.


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Widow, Cats, Family, People Stuff, Exec Coach, Food Nerd, Gin Queen.

One thought on “Have you got a minute, can I pick your brain?

  1. Totally agree with your approach Donna. In nearly 17 years of running my own business I have never charged for the “odd 5 minutes” and I’d certainly never charge for a meeting to discuss a prospective piece of work. To me both are “marketing” time and I know that I’ve received some big pieces of work on the back of being “knowledgeable and approachable”. The key thing is to make someone aware at the point you need to charge them – a quick question is fine, expecting me to advise on a complex issue where I need to either meet or draft letters or do a lot of research would be something I would need to charge for. In my experience most businesses are completely ok with and understanding of this.

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