It’s very common to get used to the way things work in your world. For example, in your world, you may do a lot of free consulting. But this can hurt you, sometimes in a very immediate and drastic way.
I’ll give you a good example. A friend of mine is a business coach. A friend of hers invited her to lunch because she wanted to pick her brain about a few ideas on a business concept.
So they sat down for ninety minutes or so and had lunch. The person picked my friend’s brain. And at the end of lunch, the person who invited my friend pulled out her checkbook, and said, “What do I owe you?”
My friend suffers from a common problem consultants have, and didn’t put nearly enough value on her time. She responded, “Oh, you don’t owe me anything! We’re friends.”
Much later, my friend found out that as soon as those words came out of her mouth, her friend lost all respect for her because of that.
Why would offering free help cause her to lose respect?
Her friend worked in a field where you always charge for your time. Her friend never did anything for free. She was used to everybody paying for every minute of her time. So when my friend didn’t take money from her, but was willing to give her advice, she lost all respect for her.
We get used to things the way that they happen in our world. If we do free consulting, we expect everybody else to. If we don’t do free consulting, we expect other people to charge us for consulting.
That can be a huge stumbling block to really connecting with someone. If our world is different than their world, as was the case with my friend, there can be an immediate psychological disconnect.
The solution? Make it all about them. If they want to pay you, let them pay you! You may save a business relationship. You may even save a friendship.