Are You a ‘Broke’ Expert?

Are You a ‘Broke’ Expert?

Back in March, I attended the Propel! Summit for Women Entrepreneurs in Atlanta and got the opportunity to see Adrienne Graham, an author, speaker, and entrepreneur who penned a very popular article that was shared virtually everywhere on social networks. ‘No, You Can’t Pick My Brain, It Costs Too Much’ was written back in March of 2011 on, but found a second life when it was ‘Liked’ by hundreds on Facebook. Her article was a breath of fresh air for those of us who make our money by offering services to people. Knowing what you are worth and charging for it is something that a lot of us have a problem doing. I also wrote about that very subject on my blog.

Adrienne broke it down for those of us in attendance about charging our clients based on our skill and knowledge. But I know a lot of people who are reading this right now who are barely making ends meet because people aren’t paying you for your services. You have clout and cache, and large following, and an impressive brand but you are broke. I would even guess that some of you are making way less than the people who are asking for your help. And the reason why is you are giving it to them for free—or for little or nothing. And that is a problem.

You are an expert in your field, or close to it. And people look at you for answers. But for some reason, you can’t seem to find a way to make money for your services. You keep waiting for a breakthrough that is not happening.

One reason why you may be broke is because you may lack initiative and creativity. One way I make money is by coming up with products and services and then charging for them. There’s my classes, my eBook, my consulting, and of course, my blog. I have several different ways I make money and together, I do quite well.

You also have problems making money because you did things for free in the past, and now you want to charge. But they don’t want to pay you because, well, why should they? You were giving it away for free. You set that expectation up yourself.

The moral of the story is to charge from the beginning. Show people the value of what you are offering as soon as you can. And give them just enough that you show them you know what you are talking about. Then, you start the meter and charge for your time.

There are too many broke experts out here. And you are way too valuable to be broke!

About The Cubicle Chick

Danyelle Little, otherwise known as The Cubicle Chick, is a professional blogger, writer, freelancer, and businesswoman. Her popular website,, boasts savvy readers who are into reading about career and work, fashion, pop culture, kids, travel, entertainment, beauty, and so much more. It has become the destination for all things realistically fabulous! Danyelle is also the founder of Show Me the Blog Social Media & Blogging Conference, which was the first ever conference of its kind located in St. Louis. Her business, Cube Classes, focuses on educating people about the virtues of blogging, social media, and personal development.


  1. Everybody does some work for free but I learned early on that my time is not an unlimited resource. Only two groups deserve free labor from me.. worthy charities and my inner circle of friends,(which also includes brands/ PR reps) people who’ve earned my trust.

    As far as brands go, I can understand a PR rep’s need to start our relationship in a small way, trust is a thing that is built after all. However if you cannot commit to offering a small giveaway to my readers as compensation for my labor, why on earth would I promote your product to my following.

    Give me reasons to recommend your product or service, treating me fairly is an excellent way to begin
    Jean Parks recently posted..Obesity and Autism | Yet Another Refrigerator Mother TheoryMy Profile

    • Jean, thanks for commenting. As a blogger, I have worked with plenty of brands and some of them have not learned that bloggers deserve to be paid for their work. Freebies are nice but most of us would appreciate money. And we deserve it. Brands who do not understand that really lose my trust. And my business, since we invest in these brands like buying their products like everyone else does.

      I hope that there are more bloggers that ask for what they deserve. Then maybe, that would curtail those who think it should be done for free.

  2. Monetization has always been my issue (that and identifying my expertise). Great post.
    glamazini recently posted..bluum March 2012My Profile

    • Glammy, monetization was an issue for me for a long time. That was, until I met that fork in the road where I had to determine A. do I go back to work doing what I didn’t want to do or B. continue what I liked to do but learn ways to make money from it. I think once you get in that mindset and you find opportunities that work for you, it becomes less of a chore.

  3. I totally agree with you! The number of pitches hitting my inbox requesting free work grows along with my follower counts.Some are polite & it appears the PR rep has actually looked at my site, those pitches get polite responses in return & sometimes a relationship will spring up from the exchange.

    However,there are the others.. people with totally off the wall products or requests that won’t take a polite “no” for an answer or those who get a bit of free work demanding more. I’m putting together some form letters to send to such people, my time it has value & I’m not going to squander it on folks who simply want to use me or my followers.
    Jean Parks recently posted..Obesity and Autism | Yet Another Refrigerator Mother TheoryMy Profile

  4. Don’t be a broke brand! Thanks for referencing me Danyelle. I am so glad I decided to change gears at the last minute and speak to you all on this topic. Fear and feeling unworthy, as I said at Propel, keep people, especially women, from asking for and getting what they need. There is nothing wrong with giving some stuff away for free, but that free doesn’t have to be empty. In kind or like services are the only way I will consider giving something for free (aside from philanthropic situations).

    We train people how to deal with us, how to value us and what to expect. I wrote the article and the book as a manifesto for people to take back ownership of their brands and worth. If I can impress just one thing, it would be to not feel guilty about charging. Otherwise you know what’ll happen. That answer can be found in the blog posts I wrote Go Big of Go Homeless and Don’t Be a Powerful, but Broke Brand.

    Great article!

    Adrienne Graham recently posted..Don’t Be a Powerful, But Broke BrandMy Profile

  5. As a fashion blogger, it is really difficult to get paid for my work. I report on trends, and I feature my own fashion photography, so earning money from my blog seems next to impossible right now — unless I decided to branch into modeling, but at 5’1″, my chances aren’t good. (Ha!) For now, I work part-time and go to graduate school while I blog on the side, but it would be nice to make blogging a full-time, professional gig.
    Bonnie recently posted..I like blinding people with my fashion.My Profile


  1. 5 Critical Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Blog | Cube Classes™| St. Louis - [...] Full-time bloggers who make their total income with their blog (without help from a spouse, etc.) usually are doing ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge