In a recent article I talked about the 4 telltale signs you are about to do free work. In this article, I express my love/hate relationship with doing free work. But that being said, I am also a business owner and I know the value of getting solid free advice.
Getting free consulting doesn’t have to be a game of cat and mouse where you ask professionals to give you time and energy without any real chance you will pay them. Leading professionals on is sleazy.
That being said here are 5 ways to get free advice for your business without being sleazy.
#1 Consume Content from Industry Leaders.
Industry leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris, Marie Forleo, Daymond John, Rand Fishkin, Matt Cutts and so many others pump out content all the time. They have become media outlets around their niche and create amazing, insightful, helpful articles.
If you want free advice spend less time consuming Netflix, Buzzfeed, Hulu, and CNN and more time listening to what these guys and gals have to say.
That being said, don’t forget there are an amazing amount of up and comers that you should listen too also. The up and comers are in the trenches building, where the big name people are focusing on maintaining.
For instance, if you want to hear about how to use Periscope, Blab, and other live streaming platforms, check out Brian Fanzo, Vincenzo Landino, Ryan Bell, Robert C Stern and hopefully myself, Austin Iuliano.
Each and every one of those awesome people have a unique take on actionable strategies to implement.
Ryan Bell created Periscope summit, an entire community around Periscope. Brian Fanzo and Vincenzo did one of the first live streaming marketing campaigns. Robert C Stern is an expert on community building in Blab and by proxy Periscope.
I have implemented live streaming in a content marketing strategy.
#2 Ask Specific Questions on Blogs.
The brilliant thing about blogs is that many have a blog comment section. Less than 1% of all website traffic leaves blog comments. If you want free advice for your business ask questions about your business on blog articles.
Commenting works especially well on up and coming websites because they will take the time to answer your questions. This will either be in the form of a straight up reply in a blog comment, or by crafting a unique piece of content around the answer.
Either way, it helps the person creating the content make unique personalized content for their audience. Additionally, it get’s you free advice without being sleazy.
#3 Join Facebook Groups.
Here is one of the most actionable strategies you can possibly use, no matter your niche. Log into Facebook and search a keyword related to your niche.
Let’s say you search for the term “branding.” Next hit the tab that says groups. You will see a list of groups related to “branding”, join a bunch of them, introduce yourself and start asking questions.
If I can recommend one! We run the “building your brand” group and is all about actionable strategies to use when creating a memorable brand.
Whatever group you join, the key is to build relationships and ask questions.
If you want free advice for your business without being sleazy, Facebook groups are the way to go. There are tons of excellent groups with thousands of people following and engaging.
If you don’t use Facebook, check out Google+ groups, Twitter chats, and Linkedin Groups.
#4 Utilize your local SCORE or SBA branch.
Score and SBA are both free consulting services provided by the government. Our local score branch helped us start our business and provided us with the initial direction we needed. We had two retired fortune 100 executives to guide us. You can’t get much better than that!
Both of those organizations will guide you in the right direction and will let you know when an idea isn’t solid. They won’t ever do the work for you but they will show you the path.
#5 Trade Time for Advice.
You can do a trade in the form of barter, shadowing, or interning, in exchange for consulting. The key is to get creative about what you have available that is valuable and learn to become resourceful.
Trading your time and energy for advice can be really insightful when you’re starting your business.
Find someone who is currently doing what you desire to do and start a conversation. Put in the time, trade your blood, sweat, and tears. It doesn’t matter how old you are, shadowing experts is an amazing way to learn from the best.
Obviously don’t shadow just anyone. Use your judgment, discernment and trust your gut.
Pro tip: If you do get an opportunity to shadow, or Intern with major influencers give it your all. Become an invaluable resource and make yourself indispensable. The influencer will propel you further than you can possibly imagine.
Are there any other ways to get free advice for your business without being sleezy? Let us know in the comments!