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Seeking Compensation July 11, 2009

Posted by Jason in Daily PM.
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It is common for service professionals to be sought out for advice “on the side”.  I regularly might provide some helpful insights into a particular situation, but any such advice is usually not worth much more than the recipient is paying for it.  The problem is that for someone to spend enough time on a particular problem to provide a truly helpful and customized answer fairly requires that they be compensated for it.

While it’s hard enough to broach the subject when your “client” is an informal acquaintance (perhaps someone you just met at a conference for instance), it’s all the more difficult when dealing with close friends.  Then there is the additional question of whether a bit of upfront pro bono work will lead to a longer term (and profitable) relationship.

A recent question came up in which an experienced professional was having trouble turning his expertise into a “going concern”.  He was experiencing a recurring case of providing some value to at least one other party (usually a larger corporation considering particular strategic decisions), but couldn’t figure out how to transition it into a paying job.  The following is a very loose summary of my advice: (more…)