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Letting someone know you are not available to give free service is rarely a comfortable thing to do.
No matter how kindly you phrase it, you are effectively going to say your service is a billable product. It does not matter how reasonable your audience is, it is a statement that is rarely received with hugs and kisses.
If you are in the business of giving advice, you know exactly what I am referring to here. You are frequently faced with people who are very keen to pick your brain for “only a moment”.
You and I both know that it never is a moment. If you are to truly engage, you will still be answering the umpteenth “just one more thing” a good 30 minutes later. You will note that they rarely call it a question lest you think of invoicing for your time. You quickly realise that you give out a lot more free counselling to people who are not clients.
Giving is one of the tenets of my coaching conversations with clients across all my programmes so I am all for giving of your time, expertise or resource to help others reach their worthy ideals.
However, no matter how philanthropic you want to be, your knowledge, experience and expertise have a specific value attached to them that you want to make sure benefits you whenever you share them with others for their gain. If they need your guidance, they are no doubt set to gain from it.
While life is certainly not a tit for tat, your philanthropy can only be sustained if you already enjoy a wealth base. That base is created by exchanging your value to gain it. Towards that end, you want to charge for your counsel — a charge that is commensurate to the value of your input. You cannot give it away for free. Well, you can. It is your prerogative. If you choose to, know that while you do so, you lose time that you could have put to more rewarding use for the creation of your wealth base.
Second, I have found that free advice is never truly free. If people are not vested in it, if they have not put in anything to receive it, they are less likely to value it which means they are less likely to apply it. Turning advice into real value comes as a result of its application. Without application, any advice is as valuable the paper that yesterday’s news was printed on. It does not translate meaningfully for both the giver and recipient.
This means you not only wasted your time giving it, you also wasted the other person’s time as well.
At the risk of belabouring this, know that repeatedly doing this sends a consistent message to your sub-conscious mind.
The messaging is that your advice and time are not worth much…And that is a lie you must never allow into your feeling mind.
You know that when you repeatedly listen to a lie, soon it begins to sound true. It goes on to sound comfortable and soon after, it sticks. It is not that you do not know your truth, which is that your advice is of great value. It is simply the way the human mind works.
Repetition forms a belief-system that quickly takes root. You internalise it and it, in turn, takes control of all your actions. You begin to attach less value to the service you bring to the table. Do this a little longer and you regress into disrespecting your service and yourself. Several weeks, months or years later, you will be wondering why everyone treats you and your service with less regard than you expect.
I am going to save you a tonne of money and effort on this. Everyone is only reflecting your thoughts, feelings and actions about yourself. That is how you treat yourself. They are only following your cue. And this is your cue to consider how you treat your service.
How do you think, feel and act with regard to the value you represent? Do you consistently treat it with the respect you would like others to have for it? I could go on endlessly about this but I’ll let you think about how much time you spend responding to Mary’s “just one more thing…” for 30 minutes or John’s “you know, I didn’t know…” for 20 minutes and Tom’s “I honestly thought…” for another 30 minutes all out of the kindness of your heart on a daily basis.
You’re looking at an hour twenty minutes a day, six hours and forty minutes a week, more 24 hours every month and well over 12 days a year. If spending that much time a year giving free advice is not your intention you want to get to the bottom of you do it before you can desist from it.