Why I won't meet you for coffee & let you pick my brain

No, I Won’t Meet You for Coffee or Let You Pick My Brain
With increasing regularity, my business consultation is sought by luke-warm acquaintances.  The outreach is always cordial and usually goes like this:  Somebody has an idea they want to bounce off me.  The person is ready to quit their job / start their own business / embark on an entrepreneurial endeavor.  

The inquiring advice seeker wants to “meet me for coffee and pick my brain.”    

First off, I don’t drink coffee.  In fact, I make jokes about coffee sippers.  Beverage of intellect you call it?  Well, how smart is it to stand in line and pay 5 bucks for a drink that doesn’t even contain alcohol? 

Honestly though, it’s not the coffee that’s preventing us from connecting.  Even if you offer my favorites — Coke Classic or ice cold Coors Banquet — I’ll likely decline.  

Here’s Why: 

  1. I don’t know what exactly you want.  Saying you’d like to “pick my brain” conjures bad imagery.  Is this a Dr. Frankenstein sort of brain picking or a buzzard eating roadkill kind of brain picking?  Be more specific about your actual objective so people know how to respond.  
  2. I don’t know you.  How hard are you willing to work?  How much risk can you tolerate and still sleep at night?  Everyone has a great idea, that’s the easy part.  Are you willing to log 80 hour weeks to give your idea lift off?  Likewise, managing your own theoretical venture looks profitable.  Can your psyche and personal finances handle running in the red for two years if necessary?  The answers to those questions are more important to your success than your idea.  

It’s not your fault, but you’re following hundreds of tire -kickers who came before you. Armed with an idea and a dose of career dissatisfaction, they’re ready to make a change.  Unfortunately they discover, after an hour of free advice, there is no secret to success.  There are, however, hours and years of hard learned lessons.  

People seeking insights in exchange for a cup of coffee almost never pull the trigger.  Why?  Because they’re unwilling to sacrifice their lifestyle to fund their venture.  Because they’re terrified of uncertainty.  Because they couldn’t sell Band Aids at a train wreck - let alone market their new offering.  Because they don’t want to be uncomfortable.  And most importantly, because they’re not serious.  

I truly want you to succeed
Over the years I’ve generously given time, information, and feedback to the aspirational who’ve approached me.  Knowledge gleaned over 24 years of self made success with plenty of failures sprinkled in.  But I’m done helping people who aren’t serious.  

If you’re committed to taking your business (and life) to the next level, I can shorten your learning curve.  It’ll take more than a cup of coffee, though, and you’ll need to be more specific about picking my brain.  

Damian Mason is a small businessman, speaker, writer, and success consultant who has consumed less than 4 ounces of coffee in his life.  www.damianmason.com 

Angie Carel