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The Argument For Letting People "Pick Your Brain"

Starting a business is hard, but making it last is harder.

Workin' Girl

I launched my company a few years ago as a side hustle, and honestly, my company wouldn't be a real company to this day if it wasn't for my social media friend turned actual friend in real life.

After I launched my business, I struggled with the strategic marketing aspects which in return was heavily impacting my user growth. Meanwhile, I knew of a friend who had a similar business that was doing great (well, technically we were just Twitter friends). His business was doubling its user base month after month, and I would always admire his startup success virtually from afar. While I didn't know this person well, I had a strong desire to chat with him regardless and get some entrepreneurship advice.

Upon finding his email address online and sending a cold email (remember we were only Twitter friends), I literally talked myself out of the whole ordeal over and over again for days. I was fully aware of the disgrace behind asking to "pick someone's brain" and I didn't want to come off as needy or incompetent. Despite this, I couldn't help but to think about two things: 1) You miss every shot that you don't take, and 2) Wouldn't you want to help someone out with advice if you could?

Fast forward two anxious days later, I pressed 'send' on my email, and believe it or not, Twitter friend responded. He agreed to chat with me for a few minutes to answer the questions that I had the following week. During our phone call, I shared with him my business, and a quick synopsis on the issues. In return, he shared some tips on how I could turn things around in my business, and even gave me the scoop on the strategic marketing strategies that was personally working for his company.

As I reflect on this moment, I can't help but to think how much higher we all could go in our careers and entrepreneur endeavors if we had that same energy as my Twitter friend. If a person reaches out in a professional and genuine manner, what harm will it do to share some gems with them? As the saying goes, "You rise by lifting others."

You are truly your only competition, so why are so many people so against the idea of someone "picking their brain"?

When you think about the things you've went through professionally, wouldn't you want to save other people the stress of going through the same? There are so many positive things to be said about people who are open to being receptive when asked for advice. Even now in year two of my business, I refuse to roll my eyes when someone (whether virtually or personally) asks to pick my brain.

I've personally endured so much pain and stress while launching my business, and I would be more than happy to share what I can with others (no invoice required).

The next time someone reaches out asking to "pick your brain", if they approach you in a respectful manner, and if you have the time and energy to lend, before you say "no" or ignore them, remember this:

  1. You never know who you may need in the future or who could impact your career or life, so if you can be helpful to another person, do it.
  2. You are your only competition. By helping others, it will not affect the success of your business.

How have you benefited from someone letting you pick their brain? Please share your testimony below!

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