We live in an information age. That means that the information that we have gained in our lives is valuable.

Let me tell you a story about the last time I was asked if they could pick my brain.

It was a colleague who had seen my star rise in the marketplace who felt like we were peers so they shouldn’t have to pay to get access to what I was doing differently to get found and paid by my ideal clients. I remember the call like it was yesterday. It started with a compliment, then a request to “mastermind,” which is just a clever way to ask you to pick your brain.

Don’t fall victim because they flatter you.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait; it will. Someone will undoubtedly call you, email you or when they pass by you at a networking or live event, they will ask you if they can “pick your brain.” While you will undoubtedly be honored and humbled that you are deemed to be an expert by them, don’t believe the hype…they are just trying to get their hands on a million-dollar idea at your expense. And to that I say…

DON’T DO IT! Don’t let them pick your brain.

The truth is, in order for your brain to be worthy of a good picking, you had to learn a lot. Certainly, you invested in some sort of education in your industry and more than likely you had to pay for your investment in cold hard cash, not corn or rice….so the answer when they ask is “I do not offer insight or strategy as a complimentary service.”

I did the math recently and realized that I’ve spent more than $100,000 on coaches and mentors learning how to hone my craft. And if you count my formal education and certifications, well that’s another six figures.

And I bet you could say the same.

In an episode of Incredible Factor TV nearly 4 years ago, I recorded the following:

As you just watched, what I shared then is just as valuable information for today.

Do yourself a favor and don’t let them buy you a hamburger and tell them everything they need to start and grow their venture. Respect your process and journey more.

You are worth it.

Here are 5 keys to stop becoming a pick your brain victim:

1. Respect your expertise. While I doubt that I need to elaborate, I will. You are brilliant and you have learned some information that has allowed you to experience some level of success in your business. Respect that if others would like to know it, there is a price to pay. Sidebar: You determine the price. It doesn’t matter what you “charge,” just respect yourself enough to charge something.

2. Shift your money consciousness. If you’re willing to give your expertise away for free, you likely have a bad relationship with money and your self-sabotaging beliefs that say that you aren’t worthy of more than you have right now. While this article is not designed to tackle your self-esteem issues, I can tell you honestly that you must do the work to tackle them. I have had friends and clients alike say that they don’t feel right charging people for their expertise. My response is always, “But you consider yourself an entrepreneur, right?” They say, of course and I say well, entrepreneurs solve problems for profit.

3. Be unapologetic. No is a complete sentence. You do not need to “couch” or apologize for respecting your expertise.

4. Learn the key phrases to stop brain pickers in their tracks. My favorite phases are:

a. “I have a fiscal responsibility to myself, my family and my business to operate as a business.”
b. “I do not offer business insight or strategy as a complimentary service.”

When you share these phrases, they will get it immediately. They will apologize and they will move on. The fact that they asked you will make you feel good and your response will tell them that you’ve been revered as an expert who knows their value and worth. Your response will also encourage them to do the same. This reminds me of Marianne Williamson’s poem again, “When you let your light shine, you unconsciously give them permission to do the same.”

5. Have something to offer them. While I don’t offer it anymore, I used to offer a pick my brain session. And you can too. The thing is this, if they are coming to you it’s because they see you as the solution to their problem, which means there is an opportunity for you to remember that you run a business – part-time or full time – and your business runs on income. They will likely pay it if you position yourself correctly and use all the confidence you can muster to tell them that while they can’t pick your brain complimentary, they can purchase a “pick your brain” session from you during which you’d be happy to tell them everything you can about the subject of their choice and your expertise in 45 minutes.

Trust me, it’s courageous but isn’t that why you started your business in the first place? To earn a living? To make money? To be able to pay your bills? I think you finally see my point.

Your assignment:

  1. Memorize the two responses listed above. Brainstorm other ways to say the same thing that may be better suited for your style.
  2. List the areas of your expertise that you could answer 45 minutes of questions about.
  3. Of the areas you listed, which are congruent to your brand? Which do you have social proof to validate your expertise in?
  4. Create a new service option via your website called Pick Brain and price it as you deem worthy.
  5. Call the last few people who’ve asked you to pick your brand and tell them about your new offering. I bet you will pick up some money that’s been laying on the table in front of you.

The bottom line is this: It must cost something to access what is in your brain. After all, it cost you to acquire it and you deserve to earn your return on investment. You decide how much, but they must pay something if they want to get to your good stuff, the stuff that is designed to solve major problems and offer effective solutions.

So now I want to hear from you: What’s your two cents?

©2016 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.

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