A Favor Credit, Ya Got It…or Not

favorDisclaimer: This post is NOT directed at anyone specifically. If YOU happen to match the descriptions, well, don’t you think it’s time to change your ways?

It goes like this…

Moxie: “Help!!!!!! Need someone to help with this ASAP!!!! Just need a little info to get this going and, and, and ….”

From the email group/forum/Facebook group/LinkedIn group:

Option1 – **crickets**
Option 2 – “Here try this link…”  or  “What’s giving you troubles?”
Option 3 – “Send it to me and I’ll see if I can help.”

Moxie: “Oh great! You can help. I need to…” [and the loooong diatribe begins].

Suddenly the person who replied realizes this is not a simple question but an entire project in itself. What to do? Continue playing 20 questions to get Moxie on track on her own which eats into your time and pulls you away from your work or mention that this is one of your services and you’d be happy to quote on it if she wants you to proceed.

You go with the latter response and Moxie *gasps* when the mention of compensation comes up. Moxie is hurt. She thought you’d just jump in and do it. You did, after all, answer her distress plea.

What’s Happened?

Moxie doesn’t value your time. Moxie doesn’t value your skill or knowledge. Moxie is thinking only of her situation. Moxie just wants to get this done and it’s costing her money and time that she doesn’t have. She agreed to do something she doesn’t know how to do. Through your own blood, sweat, and tears you have put in the time to learn, train, take a formal course, etc. and mastered “this.” Asking for compensation is not unreasonable or unrealistic. Remember this is Moxie’s crisis, not yours.

I’m not suggesting that bite-size favors should be chargeable or even mentally tracked on a tally card. You don’t want to be one of those types that says “I did this for you so you owe me.” No one is comfortable in the position of owing anyone anything – ever. Paying it Forward does have it’s perks and good karma plus it just plain feels good. I am helpful with others and appreciate those who are helpful in return.

Before Asking

Before asking for a FREE favor:

  1. Help me understand what I get out of gifting you? I give up my time, my knowledge, my skill, and gain what in return? The warm fuzzies. Hmm, that doesn’t always cut it when I need to pay my business expenses, buy groceries, run a profitable business or don’t have more than 5-10 immediate minutes to give. Favors don’t necessarily come with tally sheets but some give-n-take is common courtesy.
  2. Be prepared to pay for assistance or at the minimum offer to pay; even sending a warm thank you and an Amazon gift card is appreciated. Not everyone will want payment but you should offer. This is so important that I’ll say it again, offer. It demonstrates your level of professionalism and shows you value that person’s time and knowledge.

One instance of this was gifted to me several years ago by a classy virtual assistant who I’ve always admired and have never forgotten how she handled this situation. (I’ve since followed her example many, many times.) This day I was on the doing-the-favor end and didn’t want any compensation.

I found she and her business had been mentioned in a magazine article I was reading so posted a brief congratulations message on her Facebook page. Later that day I got an excited message from her because she didn’t know about being published. When I couldn’t find an online link to share I took a few minutes and scanned the article pages to a PDF and forwarded it to her. No biggie on my part but it thrilled her. Much to my surprise she sent a heartfelt thank you note and a $10 Amazon gift card. Wow. I was so impressed because she didn’t need to do this but she appreciated the value I brought to her and the time I took to create the PDF. Later she added that same PDF to her website to showcase her business in the news.

You Can’t Go Wrong with Thank You

Most remember their manners and do say thank you. Favors taking 15-30 minutes or more really should be compensated. If the person profusely refuses accepting anything then send them flowers, a gift card, or chocolate. I promise, it will be appreciated.

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And remember, this post is NOT directed at anyone specifically. If YOU happen to match the descriptions, well, don’t you think it’s time to change your ways?

Some Bonuses

While I’m on this topic I must share a blog post by Marie Forleo about tackling those requests to pick your brain. Be sure to watch her video. It’s worth it! Like her style? Then check out Marie’s Facebook page for more.

And you’ve probably seen this You Tube video but it really drives home a great lesson. Special kudos to Cheryl Bruce of CVisions Business Support for helping me locate this video. (She ROCKS, by the way!) If you haven’t connected with Cheryl on Facebook you must. Click here for her page.

One Response to “A Favor Credit, Ya Got It…or Not”

  1. Lisa Rodriguez Says:

    I LOVED this post and really enjoyed the video. It drilled home for me the true value of my services as a provider and the need to set boundaries. My rates are competitive and not subject to negotiation. I also loved Maria Forleo’s video. Whenever I am at networking events, whenever someone wants to “pick my brain”, I ask them for a biz card and let them know my assistant will be in touch to schedule a consultation….PAID consultation.

    Thanks again for sharing!

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