Several times a week I get asked by someone I don't know to do something I don't want to do -- for free.

When I turn them down, they protest, usually with one of these two rejoinders:

"It will only take 5 minutes."

"It will only take an hour."

Unfortunately, neither is a valid argument against my refusal to comply with their request.

The first, "It will only take 5 minutes," is patently false.

The fact is none of the many requests made of me takes only 5 minutes. Just about nothing takes only 5 minutes. People who say complying with their request will take only 5 minutes are either trying to fool me or else are fooling themselves. Either way, it doesn't work.

As for the second: Yes, doing as they ask may take only an hour -- but I still can't do it. For two reasons.

First, they want the favor for free. But an hour of my time is not free. It costs hundreds of dollars.

Second, everything -- every task -- takes at least an hour. So if I say yes to everyone ... an hour here, another hour there ... my week will shortly be completely booked with freebies, leaving no time for my paying clients. And my paying clients would not take too kindly to that.

I do believe there are two kinds of people in the world: those who are super-busy and those who are not. I also believe that ordinary people don't truly understand what it means to be, in the words of sales expert Jill Konrath, "crazy busy."

Most of the requests I get for favors come from people who are not that busy, and they do not appreciate that my weeks are booked solid -- and I have no time to spare.

So they get ticked off when I refuse to help them, because in their minds, it's only 5 minutes or an hour they are asking for, and therefore no big deal.

But it is. And I can't help them. Because I don't have time.

My solution is to record my knowledge in reasonably priced books they can buy on Amazon for a few dollars, read, and learn the answer to their question.

But many people are cheap and lazy. They do not want to solve their problem on their own. They are unwilling to learn through study. And they think I am greedy for suggesting they buy one of my books on Amazon, a transaction which may earn me a dollar or less.

Greedy. A dollar. Yeah, right.



Bob Bly
Copywriter / Consultant
31 Cheyenne Dr.
Montville, NJ 07045
Phone 973-263-0562
Fax 973-263-0613