When you speak to lawyers, agents, consultants, accountants, they all have the same approach to sharing; they charge. If they do not physically send a bill they count it as “pro-bono” advising so they can deduct it because money=time. This is a very rational and professional approach. The question that has come up lately in several conversations is boundaries between sharing for mutual benefit, the value of credit for ideas, and the building of your brand through mastering expertise. It basically comes back to the same question of return on investment (ROI) but takes into consideration the benefit to the provider of knowledge as well as the receiver.

As is my nature and the nature of my work, I include the other social components in my ROI model that may not be considered in the traditional approach. So we are talking value creation and relationship building. On the soft side, we talk about “karma” and it coming back to you later. But that won’t pay the bills and you can’t get a loan based on the promise that someday your sharing efforts will pay off. And yet, what drives our creativity and the ability to learn from each other is often sharing. Here is a very basic model I have been using recently to determine whether what is shared should be followed by an invoice (of course, this should be agreed to in advance). But in most cases it ends up being driven by the receivers ability to pay.

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Benefits for Sharing, Charging for Advice, Knowledge Sharing, Pricing for Consulting
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