Coffee Dates

Hey there,

You're probably here because you've asked me for free work. It's sad I have to post this, but rarely does a week go by without this happening so here we are. Usually, it comes in the form of the coffee date, a request to ‘pick my brain' or ‘just answer a few questions.'

Since I actually make a living and feed my cats with this gig, I only accept requests for paid work.

Here are the things that fall into the category of work:

  1. 1-on-1 consulting about WordPress, online marketing, email marketing, social media, web development, or freelancing.
  2. Speaking at conferences and events
  3. Making websites

My priorities general fall into the following order: Me, family, friends, my business, writing, relaxing, volunteering, acquaintances, random strangers. The realities of space-time and my current workload means that generally I only get to the first 4–5 things on the list.

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. It might take a while to schedule since I have no life, but don't give up hope.

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?

Your odds are good, but still not 100%. Before I agree to work with someone, I like to make sure we’re a good match. If you think we should work together, head on over to my inquiry form. I’ll respond pretty quickly and if I don’t think I can help, I’ll try to point you to someone who can.

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 world view 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’m also trying to write more helpful things on this site. If you have a particular topic you’d like to ask about, feel free to hit me up on my contact form, and maybe I’ll add it to the future blog post list.

 

5. How to get my work for free

I spend a great deal of time writing free articles for this very blog, and I've done many podcast interviews such as Revision Path, WP Elevation, and The Matt Report. I share my best insights with people on my subscriber list or in my Facebook group, which you can get invited to by subscribing.

UPDATE: I finally wrote down everything I've learned to date about running a successful business.

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.

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Kronda Adair

Kronda is the CEO of Karvel Digital, a digital marketing agency that helps established businesses double their revenue in 12 months using online marketing. She loves empowering small business owners to not be intimidated by all this tech stuff. She's often covered in cats.
  • […] Kronda writes some great stuff on the Karvel Digital blog, including a recent post I really enjoyed about her rules for people asking for coffee dates to talk shop. […]

  • Julie Gorham says:

    I love this Kronda! Very well written and thought out. People want free advice and setting healthy boundaries through education sets the expectations necessary to protect your time and get paid!

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