What to do about freebie seekers


We all get people asking us for free advice. It goes with the territory. But sometimes it gets to us, as a friend of mine expressed in a recent email:

“Hi David –

Do you get requests to provide free advice?

I’m feeling insulted by professionals – many of them strangers – expecting me to provide free advice.

I hear “I just want to ask a few questions” or “I don’t have money to pay you” and the like.

Am I putting the wrong vibe out there? Or, is it a universal problem?

What do you think?

Thanks for your input.”

I said, “So you’re asking me for free advice about what to do about people who ask for free advice?”

Okay, having a bit of fun, but isn’t that what she’s doing? Even if we are friends and even if she is only letting off steam and looking for me to tell her this is normal (which is it), her request makes plain how easy it is for people to ask for free advice.

That’s just the way it is.

I get these, too. Are we putting out the wrong vibe? I don’t know but I don’t worry about it.

In fact, it’s a good thing. It means that people feel comfortable reaching out to us. It means they value our advice, yes, even if they are unwilling or unable to pay for it.

So don’t let it get to you.

The question isn’t how many people don’t want to pay, it’s how many do. Are you making money? Are most of the people who contact you willing to hire you? When they do, are they willing to pay top dollar?

Focus on them and you will attract more of them.

And hey, just because someone emails you doesn’t mean you have to respond. Or explain why you charge for your services, or why you charge as much as you do.

If you do respond, point to the page on your website that explains your policies, enumerates the services you offer, and tells them what to do to hire you or take the next step.

Or ask them, as I often do, “Do you want to book a consultation?” I usually don’t hear from them again.

Be firm. But be nice. Because today’s freebie seeker might be tomorrow’s paying client.

And if you are inclined to respond substantively, as I am doing here, turn your response into a blog post or article, as I am doing here. Think of it as your compensation. Because you don’t work for free.

How to use your website to weed out freebie seekers