Listen, I consider myself to be a pretty nice-ish person. Behind my no-nonsense approach to business, I’ve got a big heart, and I genuinely enjoy helping people succeed.
Here’s the thing, though. I’d love to tap into my online business manager brain and give you my best tips for crushing it behind the scenes of your business. But, I don’t do that shit for free.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy sharing lessons learned and helpful insights with you good people, though. I have plenty of free resources to help you get started, tackle your pain points, and create a great strategy for growing your team and getting your stuff in gear.
Today, let’s chat a bit about why you can’t pick my online business manager brain for free — and the resources I do have available to give you a hand if I’m out of your budget right now.
Asking for Free Services is Super Uncool
Creative entrepreneurs pour their blood, sweat, and tears into what they do. By the time we see someone rocking out in their business, they’ve usually put a whole lot of hard work, education, and experience into it. The more value you can provide as a result of those efforts, the better you’re able to price your services to reflect what you do… Right?
Now imagine you’re an accomplished copywriter. You get a DM from someone asking if you wouldn’t mind doing a quick review of their website copy for them so they can “pick your brain” about it.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess your response would be, “Oh hell no.”
An online business manager is no different. We bust our asses to be the best we can be at what we do, so we can give the best value to our clients and customers. And yes, get compensated accordingly. (A girl’s gotta eat.) We pay for tools & software, education & training, workshops, memberships, and everything else that other professionals do.
My brain IS my skill. I’m not a potter, a mechanic, a musician, or a landscaper. My skill lives inside my head but just because you can’t see it or touch it doesn’t mean it’s not worth paying for.
So when someone suggests I give them all that hard-earned knowledge and highly skilled expertise away for free? It’s super uncool. Actually, it’s pretty rude, dude.
Business Owners’ Time is Valuable
If that analogy didn’t give you a “crap, that is really uncool” moment, let’s look at this another way.
An online business manager like me doesn’t have any more hours in a day than you do. I plan out my time to tackle client work, run my businesses, and *gasp* enjoy some free time.
When you reach out, especially with a cold DM or email, and suggest I let you pick my brain for free, you’re basically saying that you don’t value my time.
I mean, I know you’re not actually saying that. You’re probably just excited to find someone who you think could teach you a helpful thing or two and want to connect. I’m pretty sure you’re not an asshole!
But by assuming I’ll give away an hour of my day that I could be investing in my own business (or serving my paying clients, or enjoying my well-deserved free time), you’re pretty much telling me you don’t think my time is valuable.
Also… I get probably 5 messages like this A WEEK. If I helped everyone with what they were asking for, for free, I wouldn’t have any time for myself, my clients, or my own business. This isn’t a one message a year thing – it might be the only message you sent, but we are often getting these from multiple people!
And if you think my expertise is good enough that you want to apply it to your own business, I think you know I’m worth paying me for my time.
Would you ask a pizza shop for a free pizza?
Would you ask a graphic designer for a free logo?
Would you ask a mechanic for a free tuneup?
Would you ask your hairstylist for a free cut?
…. Nope. (And if you would, you probably have issues I can’t help with a blog post.)
What to Do Instead
If you spot a service provider who blows your mind and you wish you could benefit from what they bring to the table, check out their services and pricing. If they’re out of your reach at the moment, take a look at what resources they share with their audience.
You might not be able to get the hour-long consultation you want, or the tailored strategy you know you need. But you just might get some really valuable tips and info that can help you get started on the right foot.
Can I be super real with you for a sec?
Almost 100% of the people who have asked me to give them my time for free have NOT taken advantage of the free resources I have available.
This gives off strong Let Me Google That For You vibes. If you’re gonna be bold and ask anyway, I expect that you’ve already taken your valuable time and went through everything I put out for my audience (see below) and have a hyper specific question that I didn’t already answer somewhere and that will only take me a few seconds to answer. Anything other than that, you’re gettin’ left on read, pal. #sorrynotsorry
Things I’m Happy to Give You for Free
Hey, I meant it when I said I genuinely want to help you succeed. I’ve put together some helpful resources for creative entrepreneurs who are building their businesses, growing their teams, and looking for some help and direction.
If you’re not ready to invest in my services, but you’d still like to get some gems from my OBM mind, I’m not leaving you high and dry. You can’t pick my brain for free (we’ve established that you shouldn’t be asking anyone for that), but you can have all of these:
Yes, as in what you’re reading right now. I’ve got a great library of blogs on some of the top topics clients and customers come to me for help on. It’s where I brain-dump what I’ve learned about hiring a team, streamlining your business, and the stuff I actually share and implement with my clients.
Better yet, a lot of my blogs are deep dives. I give you all the “whys” behind the “hows.” So, if you’re doing things on your own, you’ve basically got an experienced online business manager whispering in your ear. Not a creepy way, like a super helpful Gossip Girl kind of way.
Scroll My ‘Gram
Want quick hits of info to help you build your business the right way? Look no further than my business Instagram feed, @erika_macauley.
I don’t mess around with pics of my dog and moody selfie shit (I have a personal IG for that). My Instagram’s where you’ll find loads of lightbulb-moment infographics, lessons I’ve learned, and my best practices for all things online business management. I write my own captions and am the QUEEN of putting way too much info in them. It takes me forever, but it’s a free resource for people and I want them to get value from it.
Seriously. I challenge you to do a one-minute scroll of my feed and see if you don’t learn at least one thing that’ll be useful to you in your business. Really! Go do it. I dare ya.
Check The Resources Page
Yo – I have an entire Resources Page on my site where I’ve collected all my best recommendations & things I think might be useful. No pay to play here, the Resources Page is totally free for your perusal! You can also get access to my free hiring cheatsheets from there.
Listen To Me (No, Really)
I’m grateful that I’ve been invited on several podcasts in the last couple years to talk all things OBM, support team roles, hiring, and my thoughts on online business. I literally talk for HOURS on podcasts so you can get a direct download from my brain by listening to my episodes.
Podcasts are free to listen to and you can go back again & again to listen to those that align with you most. Click the links in the list below to go directly to my episodes (be cool and subscribe to the creators or leave a review if you enjoy their podcast).
Here’s a list of where I’ve been featured:
- The Art of Online Business with Rick Mulready: A Counterintuitive Approach to Hiring Your Support Team
- Authenticity is Addictive with Tiffany A. Ingle: How to Deliver a Premium Client Experience – An Expert OBM Shares Her Secrets
- The Launch Playbook with Sarah Vartanian: How an OBM Can Transform Your Next Launch
- Captivate & Convert with Christy Cegelski: What an OBM Does and If/When You Should Hire One