Time is the most valuable and finite resource we have. "Free for coffee so I can pick your brains?" I’m giving you permission to create a “pick your brain” session people can pay for. You heard that right.knowledge & experience were not free to obtain,so they aren't free to give.
Requests to “pick your brain” or “just grab coffee” might not always seem like a big deal, but when you take into account the value of your time and the lost productivity and income, it becomes a different story. Its a struggle to respond to these requests, esp if you are some 1
Who operates in the knowledge economy & if your business relies heavily on how you use your time to make money. As you take stock of your time,coffee dates with new people is the least bang for your buck. Esp when the purpose of the meeting is for them to intellectually mine u
If your skills are in demand & every time someone wants to grab a “coffee” or a “chat over a coffee", its time to charge them Looked differently you aren't going to go to their business and take a product and walk out after handing a cup of coffee?Time is the exact same concept.
Once you start to think about how many valuable things you can do in an hour or two, you start to value your time appropriately. Implement a process/intake-form/url designed to solve the most commonly asked question of you, so you can have clear boundaries for these requests.
Having a defined process & response means you don’t have to get caught up in being polite or worrying about what to say every time some 1 wants your time. Just tell them sure they can have your time & advice, they’ll have to schedule a "session" share a link with a paywall. Boom
If you dont value your time no one else will.People have become extremely smart,they will blow smoke up your rear end & "pretend value" your time socially so that they create an "obligation bubble" for you. Don't fall for the trap. Creators of value need to bill $s
Taking “pick your brain” sessions is a common mistake. But the truth is, if someone doesn’t want to pay for an initial meeting they are not going to hire you later. Don’t count these sessions as business development. It may be good to meet fascinating ppl but not getting clients.
Understand this, some one who offers to pay for coffee obviously values your time but perhaps not at 10x the rate of coffee/hr. If someone really wants to learn from you – and they don’t have some comparable knowledge, intrigue, or trade factors to add that makes a meeting
mutually beneficial then they need to add cash. That’s what money is for. To make it a fair use of people’s time. Some how people dont get it, most particularly "desis". I have lots of these meeting requests & due to my greying beard it’s usually some one wanting quick help.
Quick and help don't jell well together because neither my formal education nor experience were QUICK. 2 + decades for $3/4 per hour is a fair trade only for Starbucks but not for me, neither should it be for you:).Yes I mentor & support a select number of women led biz/founders
& other rising stars; hopefully always will. But mentoring & free consulting aren't the same. More often than not the folks asking to pick my brain have money, status & privilege those are the kind I try to avoid so should you.
For those who get offended & many will, the best example is, It's like going to get a blow dry & walking out not paying. Would that be ok? Everyone deserves to be paid if they are providing an actual service. Its ok for people to be offended, its better to stay away from such ppl
When should you advise people for free?? Whilst its good to have a hard line on no free advisory, some times it works esp if you get a request from some 1 whom you will walk away from with an enriching experience or some 1 who will do a warm intro to a real lead or industry.
Other than that stick to your hard line unless there is a benefit for you to lean on as well. Write this down and use it. "“I’d love to help you with that. Right up my alley. My clients pay $X so if that’s what you’re thinking heres a link to my "session booking" page.""
The biggest offenders are those who msg, email, dm seeking a free right of passage. "Hey can you read this", "I msgd you with abc issue, what do you think?", "can you take a look at this, i bet u see this all the time" There is one word for this class of folks "BLOCK".
Statrups/Mentees take note. There is a way to get good advice from good people but know the ground rules. You have a free hall pass vs established professionals who r just seeking to free load. Know the ground rules to asking some one for time. Its their most valuable resource.
Asking for the meeting: the medium you use (email, phone, Twitter, WhatsApp) matters less than the content and context of how you ask. Be clear about the subject matter. If you aren't, it feels like you are clued out, no one wants to work with clueless folks.
The best startup founder I worked with (now 20+M$ARR) used to seek meetings and include a note saying "Faizan I don't have much to offer today, but with your help, one day I might, when the time comes I assure you, you can lean on me for any support that I may be able to provide"
Thats the difference between a thoughtful founder & A Msg I got yest via DM " I have messaged you last week, still waiting for a response, I want you to see if my idea will work in Pakistan" So clearly you can see where the intent and incentives are aligned for both parties.
Stupidity mixed with entitlement is the rocket fuel for obsolesce and obscurity. Step 2. Setting the meeting: this one is really simple. Offer multiple times or ask for a time that suits the brain that’s being picked. Also be prepared to show up any where to meet the "brain"
Step 3, Kicking off the meeting: thank the person for their time. We all enjoy a chat , but get to the point, dont make the brain picker pick the context, define , align and ask. Value their time by being prepared. This holds true even for paid meetings/consultations.
Mentoring is rewarding.Hence its free.Advice is a sharing of experience not a well charted map: most of us are just muddling along & don’t have anything figured out.All I can do is share my own experience & you can use the opportunity to distill things from the mistakes Ive made.
You need to figure out if & how they apply to your circumstances. Asking for connections for mentees is free:)But if you are looking for business connections & not a startup but some one just looking to socially climb or capitalise on other peoples networks be smarter than that.
Connection requests will only happen If I feel both will drive value from engagement. This shows each party that I don’t introduce noisy, random people and that I respect their right to say no to the introduction. In short, be prepared, be organised most of all be "respectful"
Post meeting: be kind show respect by valuing the oppty cost of time invested by the person. If it’s possible up with “I tried that thing we discussed and here’s the outcome.” We all need help,make sure you keep the bridge alive with those who offer to provide it when u needed it
Like the 20M ARR Founder: be generous when u've made it and talk about those who helped you. Very few people make it on their own. To this day I personally value my own mentor as the single biggest life altering event blog.chinookstrategy.com/on-being-so-fo…
In that spirit, if you are a startup, a founder or a good person evaluating next steps. Message me for a meeting (talking points, time and location near me) ... anytime. But have some patience in response times. To all free loaders be thankful for all the courtesy consulting
You have obtained from various people over the years. To all those who provide this free service.Stop & Make it worth your while.Chatting is free.Tapping into your subject matter expertise shouldnt, please demand compensation, dont leave money on the table for others to win alone

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More from @faizansiddiqi

8 Feb
The Punjab government has been working to establishing an insurance company following the good performance of the insurance sector. Can't make this stuff up. What's next vaccine production? Or Education? They've already done tech in prev govt. thenews.com.pk/print/784826-p…
Instead of working on streamlining regulation and promoting enforcement to support the growth of the sector the govt decides to use our tax payer money to compete with private enterprises in a highly regulated space where it makes the laws. Yes u read that right. Epic stupidity.
By this count soon nothing will be left in the fee enterprise space. Between having provincial govts having banks & formerly the Punjab govt competing with startups by copying their ideas and launching its own startups & building software vs buying locally we have witnessed all.
Read 11 tweets
5 Feb
You don't need to be an entrepreneur to win.Entrepreneurship is hard.But you need an entrepreneurial mindset to re-set the the dependency on shiny things and instant gratification. Not every one can be an entrepreneur, but we can and must "want less" & "Invest More" & make more.
A job is a job is a job. But options are also limited, its mostly a mind set thing. We have to have a job, a job provides security, quality of life, access. All creations of the corporate industrial complex essentially to make others rich by paying u just enough...
This "just enough" problem has most folks in a ball & chain.Because we write off doing some thing on our own as not just being worth it & giving up a sure bet.This mental comfort in OPM(Other Peoples Money) is what gets us in the long run. Rich businesses are owned by rich ppl
Read 18 tweets
14 Jan
IBFT fees down to 0 has helped the average Pakistani see the value of "transacting digitally" without fear. When you remove the barrier to entry you enable many in the ecosystem that were left out prior. @StateBank_Pak good on you for putting citizenry first. Regulation is hard
Esp as viewed by the private sector. So we must all come together to build on the success/rails/supportive regulator to figure out"what fees for what value"should remain in the system.Most things cant work with 0 fee, so use cases for incumbents who have invested must evolve too
This cant be a winner take all game or a zero sum game. The truth is some where in between.Without early market players & investments, digital systems would have not existed. Without infra from telcos/banks we wouldn't be here either esp not without a progressive regulator in tow
Read 5 tweets
14 Jan
Transitions are good. Current state of play has given us a seat at the table. Online communities are the new equalizer &not geographies.
In-person inefficiency of doing biz is out due to remote.We have the momentum to gain from the insights & discussions across networks anywhere
As all things go virtual, the only thing that matters is brand. Now more than ever, investors, partners, customers & prospect emp, will meet & engage with your content/web presence before they meet you, if ever. Brand is every startups super power or kryptonite. Build wisely.
As we go more location neutral and virtual, rely more on online channels for sourcing, growth sales, hiring etc., your online presence will matter more than ever before. It is the new 10 second interaction to make a good impression.
Read 10 tweets
13 Jan
Realize this: no permission required to change careers, start something new perhaps a hobby or learning how to code.The launch date to the above is ur willingness to enact change.B4 u set out to build a vc backed dream,build a small biz 50/100k annual rev. I assure u it's tough
Small changes like starting a hobby or burning a bridge to move the f* on teach u life's biggest lessons. Always over index on small data vs big data till u cant. Unless you can perfect your skills at a small scale not many can last perfecting skills at a large one. Start today.
Hustle culture 24/7 is reductive. If you are always complaining of too much going on you are likely already loosing the battle. Focus, wins; concentrated execution wins all the time. Don't start something unless u genuinely believe in impact and outcomes of teams vs $s only.
Read 14 tweets
25 Dec 20
No one should be taken seriously that needs a govt handout to do Start-up, If you need that push, perhaps you are the same as all other rent seekers, albeit glorified.
If the government really is serious about some thing and is so inclined, the best this to do is just just get the h*ll out of the way. Imitating incubators and VCs and deploying tax money for a poor country, into these lofty ideals is equivalent to criminal mis spending of funds.
Worse are their fake cheer leaders. Those who get jobs, postings, paper work and more opportunities to mis direct the youth of this country. It is near impossible to do business with the govt. Imagine the challenges and nascent needs of a startup in that position
Read 21 tweets

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