If I had a dollar for every time someone wrote me and asked me for free advice, I could probably retire. I used to say yes. That was until I realized that by doing so, I was doing more harm than good. Here’s why.
Free advice is often dismissed. How often has someone given you free advice that you’ve chosen to ignore? If you’re like most people, the answer is more often than not. Now think about a time when you received advice after making a financial investment. Chances are you actually took that advice and put it into action.
If I were to continue to give out free advice, I would actually be doing people a disservice. They’d have a false sense of relief thinking they were moving forward, when in fact many would be standing still or falling behind.
The free advice given may not be customized to your specific situation. I have clients who pay to coach with me. They get top priority and every response is customized to their specific situation. When others reach out to me for free advice, I’m unable to take more than a moment or two to respond. I don’t know the details of their particular situation nor can I tell in one brief email what they’re really seeking to achieve.
I’ve quickly realized that in these situations, no advice is better than the wrong advice. Hence the reason I now decline these requests.
Free advice sends the wrong message. Every time I provide free advice, I send the message that you’re not worth investing in yourself, when in fact you are. For years, I’ve invested in a mentor, who has provided me with sound advice. By doing so, I now live life on my terms and have a successful consulting practice.
From time to time, I’ve veered off this path and have accepted free help from others. While they mean good, the advice I’ve received is never as sound as what my mentor provides.
I hope the next time you seek free advice from someone who is an expert in the field you’re inquiring about, you think twice before doing so. Instead, begin the conversation with, “How can I work with you on a formal basis?” By doing so, you’ll set the stage for getting the exact help you need to rapidly move your business or your career forward.