So you have spent the last decade developing your knowledge, honing your skills through trial and error and building relationships that are now paying dividends. Finally your hard work is paying off with success and people are taking notice. Not only that, the ‘wanna-be’s’ are calling you and asking for your time to share how you did what you did with what seems like to them no effort. So you agree to coffee date after coffee date for hours on end and give it all away for nothing in the name of good Karma, right?


Today the most valuable commodity out there is Intellectual Capital. Your Intellectual Capital is all the knowledge and experience you carry with you in your mind gained through the sum of your intellectual investments – education, training, reading, research, volunteering, and even trial and error. Charging for your knowledge goes beyond the new ‘monetize it’ mentality.  It’s about owning what you are worthIntellectual investment, over time, becomes intellectual capital. Let’s go back to the ‘pick-your-brain over a latte‘ example. What I am asking you to share is all the tips and tricks you learned to be successful so I can create my own success in half the time and with half the money invested.

So what is that jump-start worth? Do the math. What is saving one year of trial and error to successfully launch a new idea worth? What would your knowledge save me in terms of wasted time and money? It adds up quickly and before you know it, your hard-earned knowledge is earning me tens of thousands of dollars. The problem with giving away what you worked hard to gain. Working for free and giving away your Intellectual Capital creates a culture of entitlement around you. People ask for more and more for free and then when you ask them to compensate you for your time and acknowledge their return on your investment, it leads to conflict because like your mother always said, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” And you carry the resentment for not getting the time you need in your business!

You see, we are constantly teaching people how to treat us. Begin relationships holding a value for yourself and you will only attract people who also value you. That exchange of value for energy, effort and knowledge creates equity in the relationship. The same people who want what you have for free are usually the clients who refuse to pay invoices or the colleagues who become toxic energy suckers.

Here are some tips for asking for what you are worth the next time you get a free request.  Before sharing your Intellectual Capital, ask these three questions:

  1. Exactly what they want to know?
  2. How long did it take you to learn those skills?
  3. What would it cost them to put in the same hours? Yes, time is money!

The answer to the last question is now what you charge for your time and expertise. So for example, if it would take them 10 hours at $100 per hour to get to where you would jump-start them to, then charge $1,000. And you offer to buy them that cup of coffee – free of charge. Having said all this, I want to make it clear how grateful I am for all those shared their learning and experience with me along the way, all for free.  I do the same during time that is available in my calendar (not during client hours) and have learned to set boundaries around who, what and when. Are you setting effective boundaries around your business and charging what you are worth? Leave me a comment below and share what has worked for you.  If you are looking for someone to help define and remind you of your own value, contact me NOW to set up a free consultation.