You are currently viewing Penny Power OBE ponders on the fact that experts must always be paid

Penny Power OBE ponders on the fact that experts must always be paid

Thank you for joining me in this week’s Pondering’s that are actually very confronting and uncomfortable to share, however, when you read this true story, I know it will be an important message for you and you will probably always remember it.

I have pondered this because I absolutely love ‘experts’; people who have a passion and wisdom built over years of investment in themselves. This is why Thomas and I have supported experts for over 25 years, some call themselves solopreneurs and small businesses, most are so humble about the wisdom they have, and many find it hard to know how to value themselves, you see, when you are an ‘expert’ it all seems so easy, much like the story of Picasso who was asked by a lady to draw her in a park, when he told her how much it would cost her, she said “But you did that in thirty seconds’.. “No,” Picasso said. “It has taken me forty years to do that.”

I have battled through the years with the lack of boundaries around my knowledge and how much I give away, like most people, I love to care and support and share the knowledge I have been privileged to learn, it has taken some serious lessons in life to protect myself and to protect others.

I want to share this very tough lesson I learned.

Creating the first ‘social network’ in the world for Business Owners in 1998 was the greatest challenge of my life, the phrase ‘friendship first, transaction second’ was so powerful and was created by Thomas, Co-Founder of Ecademy. The catalysts of starting Ecademy were wide and varied, one of them was reading Seth Godin’s book, ‘Permission Marketing’ in 1997, his mantra ‘Turn Strangers into friends and friends into customers’ was one of the inspiring moments for us. History shows that Ecademy was a brilliant place to make global friendships. For that we are both so proud of our beliefs and the culture we created.

However, I learned the responsibility of culture and community the hard way, we started 4 years before LinkedIn and 6 years before Facebook, creating a global friendship platform was unique to us for many years, we had no one to learn from apart from our own mistakes and our own beliefs. And our amazing members, our Ecademists.

One lesson I learned has been very powerful in my growth as a Servant Leader and sadly too late for one man. This man was a Sales Expert, a giant of a man, loved by all within the community and massively demanded and respected for his skills in turning ‘non-salespeople into confident sales people’. He amassed a following of business experts that were really challenged around how to sell, and why should they be, that was not their expertise. Thomas and I loved seeing his confidence grow due to the way he impacted so many people, he always seemed happy and abundant.

Many, many years later, after Ecademy had been sold  we learned that this incredible man had taken his life. At his wake, many of us from the ‘Ecademy’ days attended the wake at a local pub. In the bar through sharing stories we learned that he had major financial challenges that had destroyed him. Around the room over 20 people shared what a difference he had made and the gratitude he had to Ecademy for bringing him to them. It was beautiful until I asked them all, ‘what did he charge for his time?’.

Their reply was this ‘oh he never charged me, he was such a kind guy, he changed my life and my fortune’. I felt sick. How different the outcomes would have been of people had respected his wisdom and if he had understood that friendship did not mean ‘free’.

Many people find it hard to value themselves, many people are so uncomfortable about charging ‘friends’ for their time. I have forced people to charge me, from family members to friends, even clients within our community, I will never exploit an expert.

The responsibility of running a business community, managing its values and culture are something I take very seriously, I always have;  little did we know back in the early 2000’s that people were shy about charging their so called ‘friends’, little did we know that some people exploit the kindness of others.

As business owners, and in in fact business people within large companies, we all have the responsibility for one another, to help each other grow in self-worth, self-belief and self-fortune.

As I leave this pondering, and possibly having made your stomach-ache, can I leave you with this thought. If you are an expert, never sell yourself short, and if you are a buyer, respect people who are kind and giving, always seek to pay them, their wisdom has not come without a price, and you owe them that. To take from an expert is like steeling a product, time is money, and remember most experts care and are kind, so don’t misread them, ever.

If you would like more of this dropped into your inbox weekly please join our mailing list.

Leave a Reply