Advice, Breakthroughs, Careers, Challenges, Empowerment, Inspiration for Change, Kathy Caprino, Living Real, success, Uncategorized If You’re Looking for Free Consulting, Don’t Ask Me Written by: Kathy Caprino


Today I read a great blog post by Peter Shankman – a well-known entrepreneur, author, speaker, and “worldwide connector,” about his recent tweet that said this:

I love this message, and I completely understand where Peter is coming from.  I also love that Peter commands $400 an hour, and is not ashamed to state it openly.

Scores of folks agreed with Peter – more than 100 people retweeted his message, supporting it with gusto.  But at least one woman REALLY didn’t like what she read.  In her blog post about it, she indicated that she thought Peter had grown too big for his britches with his “internet fame” and that he was, in fact, arrogant and rude to tweet this. 

After reading Peter’s blog response to her and hers back, I’m still not 100% clear what she thought was rude and arrogant.  But I think it’s about 1) his stating that he won’t help folks for free, and 2) that he commands $400 an hour (much more than what many people can charge and what many people can pay) and wasn’t shy to express that.

Peter’s blog response clarified his thoughts on the whole matter, and after reading his message, I liked him even more!

So here are my two cents on this issue:

1) I have been inundated this past year with requests – from organizations, individuals, agencies, women’s groups and colleagues — for all types of FREE coaching and consulting help, and frankly, I’m tired of it. 

2) Bravo to Peter Shankman for charging $400/hour, and having clients clamor for him, and pay that fee happily, because they feel he’s worth it

3) Bravo to Peter for telling it like it is for him, out loud and proud

4) For those who are uncomfortable with that, I’d suggest taking a deep look inside to identify exactly what makes you squeamish about it.  I’d guess it has do with that fact that 1) you don’t command those fees and can’t imagine doing so, or 2) you’re asking all sorts of people for free help without offering anything in return, or 3) you’re giving all sorts of free help, and you’re tired of it, or 4) you’re uncomfortable in the presence of people who know their worth and aren’t hesitant to shout it from the rooftops. 

Today was a turning point for me on this issue.  I’ve decided (after one final straw that really got my goat) that this is my last day of giving my time away free for my consulting or coaching.  I’m done with it!  My services, my time, my insights, my approach, my talents  – they’ve all come hard-earned after years of training, hard work, research, and dedication, and I’m done with devaluing them by giving them away for free.  Of course, I’ll continue as I always have contributing pro bono work to the community as I choose to, where I choose to — to special agencies and groups that empower women and support those in need and who are disadvantaged.

But in my private practice, I’m committed to being vigilant about maintaining a healthy pricing discipline (very hard for women to do, in general, I’ve found).  After all, you don’t walk into a car dealership wanting a shiny new car and ask to pay nothing for it, do you?  And you don’t go to your dermatologist and say, “Hey, can I pick your brain FOR FREE about this terrible itchy rash I have?” 

OK, folks, it’s time we stop asking for free handouts.  Whatever you want to call it — “pick your brain,” “get your insights,” “obtain your feedback” — if you’re asking me to use my consulting and coaching skills to help your business and your career, I’m respectfully asking for what I believe is only fair and just – to be paid what I deserve for helping you make the significant positive changes you want most in your life, work, and your business. 

I’m sure this will stir up many thoughts and feelings in my readers and community.  I’d LOVE to hear them all!  Please share freely.  Let it rip.  That’s what makes a good horse race, as my mother used to say.

Thanks for sharing openly below.  I’m looking forward to reading each of your comments and hearing your diverse views.

And here’s to empowering you to up your daily dose of pricing discipline as well.

One thought on “If You’re Looking for Free Consulting, Don’t Ask Me”

  1. Alan Weiss (author of Million Dollar Consulting) recommends basing your fee on value rather than time. I have taken that on board, and clients need to be educated on that. I frequently get calls for “information” and by the time they are over, twenty minutes or more have gone. That is okay if business follows that call; many times it doesn’t. Other times I get calls for a medical consultation: somehow it is culturally accepted here (in Pakistan) patients can call for a free consultation, and professionals go along with it, (value addition or what?) I was surprised when an American lady called for a phone consultation…and sent the fees next day, leaving me wondering what that was for. Our services and expertise have come about after hard work, heartaches, money spent on training and much more: we should put a value on those, while contributing in an appropriate way. Health care is in a shambles here, only the rich can afford private health care, others have to make the most of a non-existent system.

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