Every free-lancer, marketer or entrepreneur faces this dilemma: How to deal with a slew of requests to have coffee and “pick your brain”. Here’s how I solved it:
First, let’s clear something up. I do drink a lot of coffee and eat lunch, but I generally do it sitting at my desk. My schedule as a mom who works full time, freelances occasionally and volunteers at school when pressed, means my days are packed end to end. If I do have free time, it almost always happens after 10 pm when the three kids are asleep, and my house is (sort of clean) and my work is (mostly) finished. However, by that point my brain has just enough left in it to watch back episodes of Glee or Veronica Mars.
Which is to say that unless I’m having a hugely unusual week, if you wait until I’m available for coffee or lunch it’s never gonna happen.
I do, however, offer free “pick your brain” time every day, 7 days a week, from 6:30am to 7:15am — while I walk my dog. I never miss this appointment (dogs work that way), and although I normally use this time to listen to audiobooks or make phone calls to the East Coast, it’s the best guaranteed available space in my day.
When I first started doing this I was amazed at how many people took me up on it. After all, it rains 9 months of the year here in Seattle. Now, people just know that’s the best time to catch me, and some even bring their own pooches along too. The best part? I always learn at least as much as I share.
So, if a friend of a friend says I’d be a good person to talk to about writing copy, or social media or starting a business, I’ve got a built in way to respond within a reasonable time frame, while still respecting my busy schedule.
Got a “pick your brain” trick of you own? Share it.
Great post. If only I were a morning person. As a mom who works full-time…I can relate. Last week I wrote a post about why people should let others pick their brain. However, I took a bit different POV on how to connect the dots between brain picking, business development, and how not to get burned by those who may be doing all the picking, but no reciprocating. http://jessicanow.com/home/why-youll-make-more-money-if-you-let-people-pick-your-brain.html
Hey Jessica, Thanks for stopping by. I loved your post and agree there are many aspects to this.
I can totally relate to the after-hours-availability (note the time of this comment) as well as the odd, rushed schedule. I actually had a consultation with someone local at the soccer park during a practice. 4 Kids, 2 in practice and of course I’m stuck at the park for 2 hours….at least this way I could talk business face-to-face (such a rarity!) and still be present and available for my kiddos.