"But I'll Make You Rich!"

That was the protest I received when I said no.

I'm often asked by new, unknown (non-working) speakers if I will make them famous and sought-after speakers by marketing and promoting them in year-long campaigns... on a commission, not fee-basis. Often I must explain regularly that my primary work for several decades was providing extensive campaigns, at very large fees, and that negotiating speaker contracts began simply as a bonus service to high-paying public relations clients.

One woman – like many others – said if I would spend a year of my life marketing her full-time and guarantee that she would earn $400,000 as a result of my efforts, she would see to it that I got "some kind of financial reward at the end of the year."

Here was a young woman, half my age, who wasn't earning any money but had a working husband, had no following, couldn't articulate what her expertise or message was, and had very unrealistic expectations of what she deserved in life. I found her proposal insulting; she expected me to subsidize her at my expense when I had already accomplished for myself with hard work what she wanted me to accomplish for her without her effort or financial compensation.

So, I answered her in a way that was not very kind, but the message finally did sink in.

I said, "I would be happy to give up a year of my life with no income to make you rich and famous. Here's what I will expect of you. I will need you to send me the titles to your cars and deed to your house as collateral. Also, I will need you to send me the keys to your house, as I will be moving in with you and your family for the year, rent-free. I expect a large, clean, well-appointed room of my own with private ensuite bath. You will provide all amenities such as private phone, cable TV, and high-speed Internet. Plus, I require three home-cooked meals a day for me and my cats. When I want to go somewhere I will expect you to stop what you're doing and drive me. I will also require access to all your bank accounts so I can monitor how much income you are receiving as a result of my efforts so I can determine my commission accurately. My commission will be 60% of all your household income. And you must follow all of my advice, to the letter. Agreed?"

I never heard from her again. I was OK with that.

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