Why Asking to Pick Someone’s Brain Is Never Going to Make You Successful

Lately, I have been wondering what the best way to answer the “pick your brain” emails and direct messages that I often get from new bloggers and business owners. It’s very frustrating because I’ve found that often times, the answers to their questions are in a blog post, course, book, or service offering, but they are still trying to find the shortcut by getting direct access to me.

Let’s get one thing straight. My issue isn’t with people who want to connect to get to know me on a personal level. I love some good conversation over drinks as much as the next person. My issue is when you ask for lunch/dinner/drinks/coffee to discuss the EXACT thing that I offer as a service. Here’s what that would look like: I would never email Mattie of Mattieologie.com to schedule lunch, and once I get there, drain her of all the knowledge she has around working with brands as an influencer. That warrants a consultation. It's one thing to have a genuine interest in connecting; it's another if you know you want something from that person that they offer as a service and you just don’t want to pay for it. Here are 3 reasons why that won’t fly and the joke will be on you anyway.

1. You lack discipline to make real progress.

How many free challenges and courses have you signed up for that just fell to the wayside? If you didn’t have the discipline to complete the course when it was free, what makes you think you will do anything with the information that you are getting for free? You probably won’t have the discipline to complete something that costs a premium price either, which is why you're afraid to pay for it. The price isn’t the problem. The value isn’t what you doubt. What you doubt is your ability to actually get your money’s worth out of the product/service, because you know that you have a habit of leaving things unfinished. You know that you have a habit of letting your temporary pleasures override long-term gains.

Here’s what lack of discipline looks like in real-life:

Example 1: You don’t sign up for the gym membership, because you lack the time discipline to go frequently enough to make it worth your while. It’s also not instantly gratifying. You know it will take at least 3 months to see results and that feels like a long time, but had you started 12 months ago, you would be snatched by now.

Example 2: Your significant other can talk about how much he/she loves you all they want, but until they are ready to commit, they won’t dig into their pockets to buy property with you, split bills with you, put a ring on your finger, or pay for a wedding with you.

Money dictates motivation. Where you put your money is where you find value. You say you can’t afford X, but are the first one to spend money on some short-term pleasure. Did you email Ticketmaster about how much you love Beyoncé, but can't afford her $250 concert ticket? No. You figured it out.

If you don't financially invest, then aren't disciplined to reap the rewards. Because the only thing worse than wasted money is wasted time. When you are truly ready to commit to something, you do it financially. You invest in the LLC, the Google Apps for a proper email, the domain name, the coach, the class, etc. If you plan on becoming successful doing the bare minimum, you might as well just quit now, because it’s not going to happen. Success is just as non-negotiable as Beyonce’s concert tickets. 

@@You want to acquire access and assets, but avoid process and payments. That’s not how it works.@@

Anything worth getting into requires a process and an investment: marriage, business, sorority, real estate etc. If you won't spend the time researching and don't spend money getting the answers, you don't really want it. You are complacent and complacency doesn’t mesh well with success. So spare those of us who did the work (and probably blogged about the answer) your basic questions. Do your due diligence and find the answer through the free content that we provide on your own, or pay for the shortcut in the form of a class/service/book. As service providers and creatives, we will always give you free advice to tell you the "what" and the "why," but the “how” costs. Execution and strategy cost; which brings me to my next point.

2 If you don’t have the money to invest in the strategy, you won’t have the budget to invest in the implementation.

When PayPal + Stripe start processing Excuses as a payment type, I'll start accepting them. If you made excuses to get the strategy, and you will make excuses on why you didn’t get the results. I could tell you exactly how to build a passive income business through products, but if you couldn’t find the $150 to pay me for a session, how are you going to pay ConvertKit $79 a month, Squarespace $18 a month, CoSchedule $29 a month, SumoMe $39 a month, and Facebook Ads $50 a month to implement the strategy? How, Sway? You couldn’t figure out a one-time payment of $150, so you’re going to figure out a monthly payment of $215 to actually do it? Right. Those are the EXACT tools I use each month to generate income. I just told you that for free, but you won’t be able to anything with that information anyway if you don't have the discipline and funds to put into it. 

If you couldn’t afford the consultation/service/class, you won’t be able to afford the tools it takes to execute. Get your coins in order before you start asking for help. My favorite quote is “Don’t ask God to order your steps, if you aren’t willing to move your feet.” Don’t ask for help that you aren’t going to do anything with, because it’s a waste of everyone’s time...which brings me to my next point.

3. It’s insulting.

That entitlement and inconsideration aren’t going to get you very far. I’ll tell you why. There are young women that I have met with for coffee, lunch, etc, that have asked me a million and one questions about their brands and how they can improve. After they got what they needed, I never heard from them again. I was used. It’s the equivalent of a one night stand. You get courted with nicely worded emails and compliments, then you give them what they need from you in that moment, and you’re no longer relevant to them - until they need you again.  I don’t deserve to be treated with that kind of disrespect, and if that’s the approach that you’re taking, you’re going to have a hard time building genuine relationships in business or in life. Nobody likes to be taken advantage or or used. Relationships are reciprocal. You give, I give. If you aren't giving anything, how is that fair?

When you ask someone to pick their brain, it says, “I’m cheap and don’t value your time. I feel entitled to you helping me.” That doesn’t make anyone feel good and takes away from our daily lives, because time that we spend with you, is time that we aren’t spending with our family, friends, significant others, our own business, and our self-care. You don’t do that to people you respect, and you wouldn’t let your boss do it to you.

Imagine receiving a message from your boss that stated: “[NAME], you might notice that your paycheck is short by 20 hours this pay cycle. Do not be alarmed. That is because we are not going to be paying you for all the meetings that you attend. We’ve decided that since we are just picking your brain and talking through a few quick things in those discussions, that time doesn’t warrant payment."

You would literally call HR, lose your mind, and be outraged. So why do you do that to creative service providers, coaches, and experts? Are we not as valuable? That’s how I feel every single day when a “Can I pick your brain?” email comes through. PUT SOME RESPECK ON OUR NAME AND BUSINESS.

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It took time and money to gather the knowledge I have today. It takes money to operate a business. It takes money to pour into myself, so that I can pour into others. So just because you follow me on social media and I’m relatable, doesn’t give you a pass or authority to access that knowledge for free. You pay a doctor for his recommendations, you pay a professor for her knowledge, and you pay therapists for them to listen to you talk about your problems. All of them went to school and used their work experience to get them to where they are today. Their knowledge is what allows them to assist you, and it comes with a price tag. How am I different as a marketer or a business professional? I’ll wait.