- Susie Moore is life coach and advice columnist who helps entrepreneurs get hired by leveraging the media. Sign up for her free workshop on how to get publicity for your business right here.
- Moore receives countless messages requesting coffee chats and phone calls to learn more about her career. Her tip on managing the influx of messages? Asking people to pay for it.
- Below, she shares a simple email template that has successfully turned people who wanted free advice into paying clients.
- Though you may be uncomfortable with it at first, Moore says “there’s nothing to feel guilty about” when it comes to setting boundaries as an entrepreneur.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Hey Susie! We used to work together/I just read and loved your article in Business Insider. I’m looking to become a life coach/writer/make a pivot … any chance you have 15 mins for a quick chat?”
I get at least one request like this in my inbox or on LinkedIn or Facebook every single day. These messages mainly come from people I don’t know or remember or people who’ve discovered my work online.
I get it! I used to be the person asking about where to begin when I was starting out and confused about my path. It’s innocent and natural to reach out to someone whose career you’d like to learn more about. But frankly, it’s not likely to result in much. Because if, as business owners, we responded to each request, we’d end up with no time to do the stuff that pays us.
You learn fast as an entrepreneur that boundaries matter. And even though you’d love to help everyone (I’m a pleaser — I want to be helpful!), people don’t even appreciate free advice. In the beginning, I’d have lots of phone calls and coffees with people hoping to learn more from me, but stopped after I realized that it was draining me and not serving them. And by the way, 15 minutes always turns into almost an hour if you really want to help. And an hour of my time is worth more than a $4 coffee.
Asking for money is a fair value exchange because people respect and take action on what they’ve paid for. For example, my online programs are on the more accessible pricing end for my industry — which I’ve done because my objective is to surprise, delight, and overdeliver.
But I still get requests from people who want to talk to me personally before joining one of my programs (typically these “discovery chats” are reserved for more highly priced services, meaning $2,000 or so as a minimum).
In order to best serve the people who can benefit from your help, here’s a great script template you can use (or your assistant can use) to respond to people who want your time:
Hi [first name],
Great to hear from you. Thanks so much for your interest!
I’d love to respond to everyone personally, but with the sheer volume of requests I get, it means I’d simply never sleep if I did (and I’m a weird zombie without sleep)! And so I have some awesome free resources that I’ve created to help you:
If you’d like to start a side hustle — free workshop here for you.
If you’d like to get PR for your business — free workshop here for you.
If you’d like access to be more confident, you can join my email list for free, regular confidence-boosting injections right here!
(If people can hire you one on one you could also add: Here’s the link to book a one-hour session with me.)
If you need something else which I can perhaps solve by answering a very quick question, please reply and if it’s possible, I’ll point you in the right direction.
Thrilled to have you in my world.
If you don’t have any free resources yet — that’s OK! Don’t overthink it. You can create some simple PDFs that have some excellent free information with a link showing how to hire you toward the end if they want more.
Make it as casual or professional as you’d like, depending on what’s appropriate for your business. This informal template (with links to my free workshops) has turned lots of prospects into paying clients because they get to sample my advice, style, and personality. In fact, I’ve had multiple old coworkers who’ve seen my pivot purchase my side hustle course, for example, after checking out the free side hustle training in this template.
Systems and automation set you up for long-term success. There’s nothing to feel guilty about when it comes to not responding personally to people and using a template like this instead. It’s part of your caring customer service strategy. Reply and speak lovingly to your people! The good news is, all questions are buying signals. Someone needs your help, your product, service, or advice. So let it be easy for them to pay you.
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