The average small business earns $250,000 per year. Is that because the market will only go that high or some deep seeded views of wealth which prevent them from making more? Orison Swett Marden says, “No one can become prosperous while they really expect or half expect to be always poor, for holding the poverty-thought keeps them in touch with poverty-producing conditions.”
In keeping with this thinking, there has recently been a backlash against giving out free items to people or businesses, who then attempt to use it to profit it from it. It started with a tweet by Peter Shankman, VP of Vocas, who said, if anyone wanted to “picked his brain” it would cost them $400 per hour. Others like Gini Dietrich, Chris Brogan, and Olivier Blanchard followed suit. Blog posts were written and people debated the issue on and offline.
Did these leaders overlook that some of the people who were asking may not be able to afford to hire them for help. But, even more than that are the people who have no idea where they can go for free business advice.
All have it correct that people should not assume that they should be able to get for free what others willingly pay for. They benefit, but where is the payoff for the person dispensing the free advice?
It is not unreasonable for a person to expect to be paid, and all the people listed above have free information available by the truck load, so the “brain pickers” want to get something for nothing instead of doing the work to find the free resources available to them.
It might not be a big deal once in a while, but it is the sense of “entitlement” which the consultants take issue with. They feel like they are expected to just give away their business. Evidence of that is found in the response of some on Twitter to the freebie shut down. They were called arrogant, greedy, elitist, etc. They were called everything, but what they are, a business.
When did it become a “right” to expect free information online, entry into events, and things like that? Did the people mentioned above actually contribute to the idea that they were available for free consultations? No, I think it has been ingrained in the Internet culture that everything should be free.
Papers and magazines are going by the wayside because people can get the same content online free. This was a mistake of the newspapers, and now they are paying the price for it. Smart business owners, such as those above have a business model. They know what should be dispensed for free and what should be paid for. Perhaps the “brain pickers,” who also claim to be in business would be wise to look for free assistance at places like Score or the SBA or acting on the free information they have from businesses like those above and others.
How does this tie in to the Marden quote? The people who are trying to get free what they should rightfully be paying for, are in essence working against themselves. They are giving support to poverty thinking by not seeing the value of investing in themselves. Since they do not place value on themselves, it stands to reason they will not value other people’s time or money.