For Women in Consulting :: From Free to FEE

It happened again - you delivered a great presentation or you networked like crazy at a conference and the emails and texts start to roll in. The questions might be variations of the same script, but it inevitably will end with this question: Can I pick your brain for free?
There is a lot of good advice on how to handle these requests, but it is still a popular question I get and a situation I struggled with for a long time. Moreover, the research is clear: women do risk negative backlash when they ask for more money. So what do you do when you want to help people, but you are not comfortable with making the money ask?
The answer might be to practice anchoring first. Anchoring in negotiation is the first offer made on a deal. In this case, that first offer is your fee or rate in exchange for time with your expertise.
When someone asks for your help, consider responding with this advice from Tammy Gordon, President of Verified Strategy:
Practice saying, "I'd love to. My rate is $____ an hour. What day works for you?"
That's the hardest part. Uttering those words feels really foreign a first. But, if you're going to be a consultant, those words are your livelihood.
Then anchor first and firmly with your rate, and be aware that your anchor might shut down the request. But the potential for the conversation to end shouldn't keep you from anchoring. Remember that charging for your time is a reflection of how you value your knowledge, skills and abilities.

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