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No, You May Not "Pick My Brain"

Hey bestie, hey boo, hey you and you and you! I'm so glad you're here for the recap of another edition of The Life: Unscripted podcast by Organized Energy. It's your girl Tiff, the hostess with the mostess! We always have a great time chatting about a little bit of everything on this podcast. Whether it's about business, work, relationships, or time management, we cover it all because we're all about becoming better versions of ourselves in every aspect of life.

Let's dive into a topic that hits close to home for many professionals. This topic stems from a post I recently saw on social media that really struck a chord with me. The post was made by one of my connections, and she expressed her frustration about people devaluing her expertise. She talked about how she's tired of being offered the opportunity for receiving "exposure" instead of fair, equitable financial compensation for her speaking engagements or services. And let me tell you, I completely understand where she's coming from.

In her post, she mentioned how she's done countless favors, met with people over coffee or lunch, only for them to "pick her brain" without any intention of compensating her for her valuable time and knowledge. She walked away feeling empty and unappreciated, and I could relate to that feeling all too well.

Here's the thing, being a consultant or an expert in your field is no easy feat. It takes years of experience, knowledge, and wisdom gained in order to be able provide valuable, sound guidance and advice. Yet, for some reason, people seem to think that picking your brain or getting free ideas over coffee is perfectly acceptable. But let me ask you this: Can you go to the dentist or your family physician and ask for a free check-up? Can you go to your hairstylist and expect them to do your hair for free in exchange for exposure? Of course not! You have to pay for these services.

Being a consultant means offering wisdom, ideas, and guidance to help others succeed. It's not just a casual conversation over coffee; it's your expertise that people are seeking. And yes, your knowledge and ideas are valuable, even if they can't tangibly be held in someone's hand.

The problem lies in the misconception that ideas can be obtained for free. People fail to understand that your expertise is your livelihood, and you deserve fair compensation for it. They might not be aware of the value you bring until you gently educate them and redirect their expectations.

So, how do we tackle this issue? I have a few solutions that might help.

First, when someone approaches you with the infamous "Can I pick your brain?" line, gently shift the energy by offering them a consultation instead. Say something like, "Sure, I'd love to provide you with my scheduling link so you can book some time for a consultation." By changing the language, you're signaling that your time and expertise come with a cost.

Speaking of costs, many booking software options allow you to integrate payment options. So, when someone books a consultation with you, they will also see that there is a fee associated with that time. It's a gentle reminder that your services are worth paying for, just like any other professional.

Another situation that often arises is when people want subject-matter experts, consultants, etc. to speak at an event, participate on a panel, or provide services for free in exchange for "exposure". Instead of getting frustrated, redirect them to your website or your inquiry form. Let them know that you have a process in place and ask them about the details of their project/venture, including their budget, on the inquiry form. This way, they understand that there are fees associated with your speaking engagements and services.

Here's the thing:

Typically, when agencies, corporations, and organizations are putting on an event, they have a budget for the event and often charge admission for attendees to participate. They find money in their budgets to cover the costs associated with the use of the venue, decor, marketing, caterers, salaries of those who are coordinating the event, printing costs for programs and materials that may be distributed at the event, so on and so forth.

If the agency is putting on a conference or workshop/educational experience, one thing's for sure:

You can hold an event without a venue (thanks to virtual options). You can host an event and opt not to serve food or refreshments. You can host an event and not have decor. You can host an event and not spend much on marketing costs. But you surely can't host an educational event with the educator (i.e. the presenter, trainer, facilitator, speaker, etc.). How is it that the one who is providing the service that the event is based on, is the main thing that there is no budget for?

Now, I understand that not everyone is trying to take advantage of you. Some genuinely want to work with you but need a little taste of what you offer before making a big investment. In such cases, consider providing a lead magnet—a free or low-cost resource that gives them a quick win and showcases your expertise. Or perhaps you could provide links to relevant content you've created (social media posts, blog posts, podcast episodes, etc.) that pertain to the subject-matter that they are interested in. This way, they can experience your value firsthand and be more inclined to support you in the long run.

Remember, communication and education are key. By gently nudging people in the right direction and using language that highlights the value of your services, you can create a mutual understanding. You're not saying no to offering guidance or support; you're simply making it clear that your expertise deserves fair compensation.

Friend, if you've ever been on either side of this coin, I'd love to hear your experiences and insights.

Let's start a conversation in the comments below.

And hey, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast, hit that notification bell, and share this post with others who might find it helpful. Your support means the world to me!

I hope

this episode has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration for your networking journey.

If you have any suggestions or want to add to my list, please reach out to me through my social media pages or website.

I appreciate your support, and I'm excited to have you join me on the next episode.

Before we wrap up,

I want to remind you of two things:

First, if you're interested in launching your own podcast, check out my book, "Is This Thing On? The Super Simple Guide to Planning, Launching, and Scaling Your Podcast."

It's a great resource that provides valuable insights into networking, podcasting, branding, and more.

Secondly, I have a curated list of tools and resources that I personally use and recommend.

You can download it for free at to help you work smarter and save time.

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Wishing you an abundance of success in your networking endeavors!

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Remember, I love you, God loves you, and I hope that you absolutely, positively make sure that YOUUUUUU love you!

Have the absolute best week ever!


Tiffany Williams has a corporate background and 21+ years experience as the founder of several startups over the years.

She is an Author, Podcast Hostess with the Mostess, Accountability Partner, Mentor & Life Coach to executives, leaders, professionals, and students; a Consultant to Groups and Organizations, a Book Publisher and Inspirational, Motivational Keynote Speaker with a holistic approach to personal and professional development.

Tiffany is a passionate writer, corporate trainer, and presenter on topics such as: personal development, professional development, leadership development, brand development, holistic development, social-emotional wellness and development, youth development, organizational development, process development, and platform (book writing and podcast launching) development.

Her passion and purpose is to help others discover and fulfill theirs.

As a mother, nature lover, vegan foodie, down-to-earth hipster who la-la-loves music and dancing with seemingly two left feet (lol), Tiffany carries love and light wherever she goes.

She believes in leading with both love and a listening ear.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. There are some links on my pages that are associated with affiliate partners and sponsors of my platform.

If/when you click those links and make a purchase, it helps to support my platforms at no cost to you.

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