You're probably here because you've asked if we can meet for coffee. It's usually a chance to ‘pick my brain', learn more about my services (either because you're interested in hiring me or referring me to others).
I'm super flattered that you're interested in learning more about me and Karvel Digital. However, since I actually make a living and feed my cats with this gig (and now my dog is on a r$w d$et — ouch), I spend most of my time doing work for clients and working on my business. As a service professional, time is literally money, so I'm extremely protective of mine.
When I do have free time, I spend it with family and friends. As I write this, we're hard at work finishing up a landscaping project and getting ready to welcome one of these little nuggets into our home!
Since I only have so many keystrokes left, here is a guide to calculate your odds of getting a yes to a request for my time:
1. Are We Friends or Family?
Then the answer is almost certainly yes–unless you've asked for free work.
2. Are We Colleagues?
If we’ve worked together or are planning to work together or went to school together, chances are I’ll make time to catch up.
3. Do You Want to Hire Me?
Before I agree to work with someone, I like to make sure we’re a good match. If you think we should work together, check out this webinar or one of my recent podcast interviews (media page coming soon) to learn more about what I do and who I work with. If you like what you hear, you can apply to work together.
4. Are You a Student or Aspiring Developer?
I met a nice young man at a WordPress meetup recently who asked if I was a student. When he found out I was a developer with my own company, he got very excited and asked if I had any advice for learning to code. I pointed him towards Treehouse and Code Oregon, which allows Oregon residents to use Treehouse for free by going through the Workforce system.
After talking for about two minutes, he asked if I would like to meet over coffee to discuss this further.
I politely declined and suggested that going to meetups–like the one we were at right then–and talking to people was a better strategy.
If you want someone to spend personal time helping you with your goals, here’s a good article about how to find a mentor. The article is about business, but the principles can apply to many areas. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, and remember that you’ll need to establish a relationship first.
If there’s one thing about my worldview that has changed drastically in the last few years, it’s the realization that my time is not free. If I say yes to coffee, it means taking time away from one of my top five priorities. If I’m going to give up my personal time, I prefer to do it in a way that is more efficient and helps the most people–such as volunteering for iUrbanTeen or presenting at a WordPress meetup or to a whole class of developers like the awesome Ada Academy students.
I spend a lot of time creating content on this very website. Most likely if you're having a challenge or a question related to business and online marketing, it's answered here. If you have a particular topic you’d like to ask about, you can join my email list and let me know.
5. How to get free advice.
You can also read my origin story and find out how I got started in tech.
I will happily tell you everything I know–I just can’t afford to do it one at a time.