Yes! Setting boundaries is very important.
One way to control these “free” sessions is to choose your candidates instead of simply responding to every request for help. This way the meeting will often lead to more money. Ideation and organization of resources is my game. When I spend time talking about someone’s business challenges, I am using it as fuel to help fire up my own productivity and get stuff done.
Does this sound a little too self serving? If it does, think of it this way… I think we can all agree that:
Your time is valuable
From the moment that you open your eyes until you close them again, you are trading your attention. Even when you are watching a movie, you are not only purchasing content, you are “spending your time”. What you are doing, without even realizing it is buying an experience. Maybe you needed to laugh or cry a little. Maybe your mind needs to be shaken a little. Like a jar of random nuts and bolts, the heavier thoughts sink to the bottom and the lighter thoughts float to the top, allowing your subconscious to take over, reorganizing, and creating new pathways. This is where the real problem solving takes place.
So, the real question is:
Why not be selfish about your time?
Whether or not you are receiving monetary compensation, every interaction IS a transaction. So, treat it like one! Here is my super secret key to wealth: Trade more of your time an attention for valuable content, offer a helping hand to people who will further your cause and empower others to help themselves by showing them the “easy” way to locate information and resources.
And when they are ready, they WILL come back with pocketbook in hand.