When you are a consultant, or someone who makes their living by providing information, free becomes a big issue. It can be hard to draw the line between free and paid. How do you know when free should stop being free?
I have people asking for my opinions and advice all the time. Friends, family, friends of family, acquaintances, people I just met at a party, that guy who friended me on Facebook, business clients…well, you get the idea. I have no shortage of people who ask me how to manage their social media.
I had a conversation in the not-too-distant past with a potential client who was also a consultant. It’s driving her nuts that everyone requests advice on their industry. She said, “this is what I get paid to do, why should I give it to you for free?” THEN she started asking me for opinions, and reviews that went above and beyond the casual “Do you like Twitter better than Facebook?” kind of question. I was flabbergasted by the irony.
But the obvious overstepping of bounds really made me think about the question, how free is too free?
What is the balance between being generous with information and just simply being taken advantage of?
I had to find an answer to this question that was simple and easy to follow:
If I am willing to blog about it then I am willing to talk about it.
Simple as that.
If you ask me about a topic that I am willing to blog about, that means I am willing to give the information away for free. It doesn’t mean I have written about it, or am even planning to, it just means that I would honestly consider writing about the answer to your question. If I am not sure, or know that it is something I would not consider blogging about, then I do not answer the question.
So how do you tell someone that you will not answer their question? Tune into tomorrow’s post to find out.
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