I was always more interested in helping people than becoming rich. I only wanted to be rich so I could spend my time helping people. That’s one of the reasons I have been an Auxiliary Police Officer since high school.
I never really wanted to work for money. I hoped to make a lot of money quickly so I could retire early and volunteer full-time as an investigator for ChildFind or a similar organization locating missing children (I once worked as an investigator finding people that did not want to be found and I was good at that).
Although I have done fairly well for myself, I live in a nice house and I like to pay my bills (and I like to pay my bills on time which is why I have an 845 credit score). Unfortunately, this means I have to make money and not just do volunteer work.
What’s the problem with picking my brain? The problem is that, all my life, it’s been quite popular to pick my brain several times per day by several different people. In fact, I once used time billing software to track how much of my time I spent on providing free advice and free legal work. I found that 50% over of my time was used providing favors to friends. Sometimes friends asked for favors worth thousands of dollars of my time and bought me a nice dinner. It’s nice to go to dinner with a friend, but that doesn’t pay the bills. It’s simply better for me to pay for my own dinner.
I just love all the advice I get from friends about where to spend my money so I might have more time; how I might do my work more efficiently so I will have more time available; and that the favor they are asking for really won’t take much time.
Another annoyance and serious time waster is when friends never call just to say hello and only call to ask for “advice”. When I give advice, they never want to take it because they probably weren’t really calling for advice. All they really want is someone to listen about their problems. It’s just cheaper to call me then to call a psychologist or psychotherapist, so I am now offering psychotherapy for a small fee.
For instance, someone just called to ask what she could do about a problem and when I advised that she should go to the District Attorney’s office she said that she was just going to let it go. So why did she ask me? I had to listen for over 30 minutes about her problems (for the third time) when I finally told her that I had to get back to my work. She wasn’t calling to say hello. She was only calling because she needed someone to listen to her and thought that I would do that as a friend.
People don’t realize that after a lifetime of listening to everyone else’s problems, it starts to get depressing. I no longer want to hear about everyone else’s problems unless I am paid for it. The result is that I don’t hear from most of my friends anymore, but I have more time for myself, I’m making more money and I’m more relaxed.
Unfortunately, time is money. Consequently, I have had to come to the realization that free advice must be reserved for my articles which can be read on my hundreds of websites and help many people. Advice given to one person is worth paying for. Charging for personal advice will allow me to pay my bills and have some free time to either relax (I can’t remember the last time I was on vacation); spend time with family, my fiancee Erlyne, and her family; work on my own projects (which I enjoy); or volunteer my time for causes I deem worthy. Even more important, reducing the number of problems I have to listen to has reduced substantial stress in my life.
To benefit from my expertise, I now charge the following nominal fees with 1 hour paid in advance (Please keep in mind that I earn approximately $3,500 per hour working on personal injury cases, so the following fees are available at a steep discount):
- $395 per hour for psychotherapy services.
- $595 per hour to pick my brain about anything other than legal issues.
- $1,000 per hour to get you a Top Ten Search Engine Ranking or get your website in the Top Google Results. It’s the same price to pick my brain about SEO (search engine optimization) for you.
- $1,500 per hour for Reputation Management (I did one job which previously had 4 US government websites on the first page for a search of my client’s name. None are on the first page now.)
- $795 per hour to pick my brain about legal issues.
- Legal representation for personal injury cases is paid on contingency at the end of the case.
Philip L. Franckel, Esq.