I have been overwhelmed in the last few months, with emails, messages and even phone calls asking for my professional opinion. You might think this is a good thing, and indeed when it began many years ago with the occasional question, I did too. But this trend of asking for my advice never comes with a consideration of the hidden cost of advice.
Now you might think that it is ok to ask a professional, a question about their work and that it would be reasonable for an answer to that question. I don’t agree.
We don’t ask our doctors or lawyers for their opinion of something and expect not to pay for that?
How about in your own profession, do you give your considered advice away for free? With no expectation that that person might make a purchase from you? I highly doubt it.
There is a story, that many years ago, Picasso sat in a café, and doodled on a napkin while waiting for his coffee, a lady sitting at the table opposite observed this and asked him for the napkin. Picasso happily replied, “why yes you may, it will cost you $2,000”. The woman was taken aback and said, “but it only took you a moment to draw.”
“No” replied Picasso, “this doodle took me 40 years to draw.” “I’ve spent the last 40 years of my life learning how to draw this very picture.”
Do you see where I am going here?
Recently I observed a colleague of mine, asked for suppliers and details for some tiles that she has specified on a job. This designer fairly said she wouldn’t pass those details on as her clients had paid her to make those professional selections, and to assist them with putting the project together. I was floored by the response from the lady on social media who did nothing short of abusing my colleague for not providing the details.
I am asked on a daily basis to share details on where I’ve sourced something or the colours I have used. Recently there has been a trend to send me an email cold asking for my considered advice on the emailers project. Generally, I give a vague answer or don’t answer at all.
I feel I am very generous with the information I share. I often share my sources, my inspiration and even the finer details of a project, however, I won’t be answering specific questions anymore.
I invest in my own professional development both with time and financially. I offer very low-cost advice, from as little as $250. I value my time; I value my clients and I value what I do.
I have a blog that can answer just about any general building or design question. Furthermore, I have design, building and decorating consultations, ebooks and even a course all of which are very low-cost ways of obtaining the specific information you need. Very soon we’ll even have a Youtube channel to take you through our DIY friendly projects.
I hope as a reader you’ll understand how providing free advice has a hidden impact, on my business and my family, and respect my decision to be careful about what I do share.