If you ever ended up in a situation where you want to get paid for advice, there is a fundamental question that needs to be answered first: what can you, an outsider, tell the insider client, that they don’t already know?
This can be said out loud or just implied, but until that question is settled no money is likely to change hands.
It’s good to be prepared to answer this directly. Here are some common ways to truthfully answer the fundamental question;
1) They only have their own, typically first-time perspective on the problem, while you can lean on your experience to get an industry-wide or cross-industry range of stakeholder perspectives.
2) From a worried spouse to a spooked board of directors, they are often trying to avoid upsetting any internal players, so often end up not pushing for change or not questioning the feasibility of internally proposed solutions enough.
3) Their perspective starts from the symptoms, which often warps the purpose of the desired change. If you start from a diagnosis of the underlying problem that caused symptoms in the first place, you can avoid costly tactical blunders by nipping them in the bud.**
While it can be intimidating to face having to answer this question on the spot, using just one of the above reasons should be enough to formulate a good answer, especially if supported by a positive track record. Don’t worry, you got this.**