One of the most common mistakes made when networking and promoting yourself and your business… you devalue what you offer and yourself. People are always wanting free advice and they will consume hours of your time if you let them. If you don’t have a consulting fee, then you are devaluing yourself and will allow others to do the same thing.
Your time is valuable and you need to set a price on your time. $20, $30, $50 an hour. One thing I have experienced in the past in my business is that I spend hours talking to people, thinking that I am being helpful and that they will use my services after hearing my expertise. NOT HAPPENING!
People want everything for free and do what they can to get it. This is especially true in one on one’s. A one on one should be each person spending time talking about what they do and what they are looking for, as well as how they can help the other person grow their business. However in my experiences (some not all) it is usually a time when the person I am meeting with is trying to sell me or pick my brain for information on growing their business. They use this time to ask you all kinds of questions, like “what do you recommend for a marketing campaign for my business?” “do you think I should do print, mailings or radio?” “What is the best direction to go when your on a budget?” “can you show me…”
Most people don’t mind helping someone out if it is a simple question. However if you want consulting time to plan out your marketing strategy or to show you how to do something on your own, than be respectful of the other persons time and pay the consulting fee.
Tip: When someone starts asking questions that you know will be time consuming, tell them that you would be glad to help them out. Let them know the times you have available and that there is a fee of ???? for the consultation.
If the person gets upset or offended then look at it as reflection of who they are and not that you have done anything wrong. Chances are that if the tables were reversed they would charge you for the time.
Put value on all you do! You are the expert and you are worth it!