Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2004-09-29

Give it away!

I often tell my clients that if they want to build their reputation as a knowledgeable, results-driven consultant, they need to get over their fear of the F word - Free.

I am often amazed how many of us working in the professional services and consulting industry live in fear of giving away too much knowledge. After all, information is our bread and butter.

Now I have encountered hoarders - You know the type, the pack rat who owns every bit of material goods they've had since childhood, or the rut-stuck professional, unwilling to take the risks that would enable business growth. [Hoarding is the manifestation of our cultural fear of not having enough. I will follow up to this particular thought in another post.]

But there is an especially puzzling breed of hoarders out there that I am encountering on a daily basis - the knowledge hoarder. Terrified of losing prospects, they refuse to write columns, give workshops, or offer free assessments. They sit on their "brains" believing that their ideas are fixed, static, and as precious as a diamonds.

If this is you - guess what? You're hoarding yourself out of new business and fantastic opportunities. Believe it or not, your great ideas aren't the first and they won't be the last. That knowledge you paid for in university isn't worth anything unless it is disseminated and built upon through good will, interaction, and sharing.

That implied notion of "the more you give away, the more that comes back to you" is so true. 98% of the truly successful entrepreneurs I encounter have built their business through collaboration and association. They have established a reputation as an expert in their field, not because of their material possessions or degrees, but through being "out there" and sharing their never-ending energy and passion through networking, lecturing, and writing.

As a consumer, I have always been drawn to the service provider who is willing to share their knowledge in an open forum or workshop. Sharing wisdom doesn't belittle - it builds credibility. It leaves an indelible impression on the audience, namely that the information provided is truly valuable.

I see professionals that are willing to put themselves on the line and pass on worthwhile information as passionate about what they do. And their passion almost always leads to better, higher quality services.

So what's your excuse? Get out there!

Aleah
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