I know when inconsiderate people see doctors and lawyers they often try to get free advice, but this has escalated to include many other professionals CPAs, business consultants, therapists, and others.

The question then becomes who places the value on intellectual expertise?  I have had people offer me a lunch to help with their business plan, redo their elevator speech, or redo resumes and oh yeah help them write cover letters, Of course, they want me to give my best 100% expertise.  If I charge $150 or $250 or more for an hour that has to be some lunch; more importantly what is the value to me?

If I choose to give quick advice to a friend or potential client that’s my choice but for some, there seems to be a level of entitlement of what can they get away with or what can they get for free? Then my favorite is when I do provide advice that is not followed exactly as told and doesn’t succeed I become the “bad guy”.  Is it because consulting is a process and it doesn’t provide instant gratification or the quick fix?

I wish I could do all my consulting for free and choose clients who I know will make a difference, but alas my bank wants the mortgage payment and there is something about food…

In the future think about how long it took to gain the knowledge the person possesses and be respectful.  Most professionals will be more than happy to answer a quick question, trade information or identifying ways you can support each other’s work  Please don’t ask for a free hour or two sessions in return for a quick meal.  It’s disrespectful and it earns you a bad reputation as a user.