no, you can't pick my brain. it costs too much - forbes

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No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much - Forbes

13/04/12 3:17 PM






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No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too MuchAdrienne Graham, Contributor 108 comments, 42 called-out + Comment now

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I love giving advice. I write blogs, articles and a newsletter. I host a radio show. I tweet, Facebook and share nuggets of advice almost daily. So what is it in all of that, that would make anyone think they can still have the right to pick my brain? I cant tell you how flattering it is to be approached by representatives from major companies seeking my wisdom and advice. It shows they are listening, and like what I have to say.

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Page 1 of 6

No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much - Forbes

13/04/12 3:17 PM

But often I find the road ends when they are just on a fact finding mission. That mission is to pick my brain to gather as much free intel and knowledge they need to make their jobs easier. Not gonna happen, sorry. My brain costs money to maintain. Theres training, classes to attend, reading (I have to buy books), gaining certifications, costs of memberships so I can network, attending conferences and mastering my skills that all cost me money. I have to protect my investment. How fair is it to me to give away all the knowledge I have acquired that I use to make my living, pay my bills and eat? Now, dont get offended. If you do, maybe you deserve to be offended because youre one of those aforementioned brain pickers. There have been many articles written and discussions formed around this very subject. With the Internet being so widely available loaded with free information, people automatically assume that you too have to provide information for free. My response to that is go ahead and read the free stuff. But when you still find yourself lacking answers, then apparently the FREE stuff doesnt work. You cant come to a professional and ask them to work for free. In essence, that is what youre doing when you ask to pick someones brain. How would you feel if your boss came to you and said, Hey since we can get this done from information from the Internet, I wont be paying you today. Go ahead, let it sink in. Got that visual yet? Good. Thats exactly how I feel whenever someone wants to take me to lunch or call me to pick my brain. If youre like (how I used to be) youve given away tons of valuable information. I never once minded helping people out. Its the ones who keep coming back for more freebies and those who take my ideas, implement them, find success, then never offer to repay me for my time. And no, a turkey sandwich is not payment for something that helped you overcome an obstacle and either created value or additional revenue for your company. I charge my paying clients very good money for my expertise and results. How would they feel to know that Im giving out free advice? Not too swell I would imagine. In fact I hope they dont call me demanding refunds! The most prevalent question I get is how do you draw the line? Deciding the point where you begin to charge is tough, especially if youre just starting out.

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No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much - Forbes

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No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much - Forbes

13/04/12 3:17 PM

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CommentsCALLED-OUT Expand All Comments Kiri Blakeley, Contributor 1 year ago

Adrienne, can I pick your brain? No? Okay, fair enough, heres some free advice: change your name to Adrian. Take all of your photos off your website. Let people think you might be a man. And then watch as they rush to pay you nay, OVER pay you, for your services. And nice article!!Reply

Adrienne Graham, Contributor 1 year ago


HAHAHAHAHA. I like that Kiri. And aint that the truth! LOL Thanks for commenting.Reply

+ expand 2 comments + expand comment

Adrienne Graham, Contributor 1 year ago


Youre welcome Alan. I think men and women get victimized by brain picking but women fall into it more because many of us hate to say no. I have NO problem saying NOOOOOO. Professionals are always questioned and scrutinized. But I always say that if people already had the answers they wouldnt be coming to you. And if they could solve the problem without paying, they wouldnt be needing the help. No more giving away the store!Reply

+ expand 2 comments

Adrienne Graham, Contributor 1 year ago


M I know how it is. Im usually the person people come to. I cant complain, I write, do a radio show, and put out a lot of content. I think it has conditioned people to think that everything will be free. It can be frustrating to want to genuinely help people but knowing you need to draw the line so you can afford to eat. I truly hope people get the point of the article.Reply

+ expand comment

Adrienne Graham, Contributor 1 year ago


That is wonderful Robyn! Pointing them to programs and books usually should drive the point home. I dont deny that the internet can be a great source for a lot of free content. But to learn, really learn, a person has to invest. Whether Page 4 of 6

No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much - Forbes

13/04/12 3:17 PM

that investment is money or a trade of in-kind service, there is a price to be paid. Theres a time for giving and philanthropy and theres a time for business. We just have to learn our threshold and stand strong in getting others to respect it.Reply

Ellen Weber, Contributor 1 year ago

Wow Adrienne, you hit nails on the head here! Yikes I get hundreds of emails daily for free help, support advice. Thirty years after developing and consistently renewing the Mita brainpowered tools people still want em for free! Heres the clincher Just come and talk to this group for free and you can get more exposure. Still looking for the big bank that converts exposure into bill payments! All to say thanks for the great article Adrienne! Together we can learn better how to give pr