Outrageous Requests I've Received

I get these kinds of requests on a fairly frequent basis so I should not be surprised when I receive them. But I am, and even if I mention to a potential client early in a conversation that I turn down requests such as the following... that person may still make an identical request.

The following are real requests (in
bold) I've received; my silent thoughts in parentheses.

1. If you'll market my humor column I'll give you 10% of whatever payment you can get me... but if you fail to sell my column then I'll know you aren't any good.
(It couldn't possibly be that your column isn't marketable, could it? If it were any good, you'd be receiving payment already from the college newspaper which has published it for free for a year, wouldn't you?) I don't accept these offers.

2. So that I don't have to pay you a consulting fee would you find a mentor for me in my hometown that will do what you do, but for nothing?
(Yeah, sure, I'm going to embarrass myself by seeking out someone I don't know to ask them to work for free... not to mention work against my own best interests by encouraging you not to hire me.) No.

3. My business is on the same street as yours and I want to start a speaker agency like yours. Would you share with me your business plan for your speaker agency?
(Sure, I'll hand over almost 18 years' experience earned by trial-and-error, deny myself the $2,500 I usually charge for writing business plans, and forego the $5,000 fee I charge for a 9 month
speaker agent apprenticeship.... so you can compete with me for business.) No.

4. Could I pick your brain over a cup of coffee about how to market myself?
(Tell you what... Throw in a
lunch at a nice restaurant and $600 and I'll answer your marketing, promotion and money questions for 90 minutes.)

5. Why do you have to charge for your advice, your writing and your books? You're so greedy. Why can't you just give people what they want for free out of the goodness of your heart?
(I guess I'm like this because I didn't take a vow of poverty... and I can't convince my mortgage lender to let me live free-of-charge out of the goodness of his heart. Besides, the more money I make, the more I can tithe to my foundation which helps the Hidden Homeless. And the best thing I can do for the hidden homeless is not be one of them.)

6. (A colleague received this request and sent it to me) After you finish writing your book, I want you to write my book. I had terrible things happen to me as a child.
(No reference to compensation, money for marketing his book. Is he expecting I'll write his book for free?)


If you're a consultant who receives outrageous requests and you feel like sharing (venting) them with me, use my feedback form and send them along. I'll post them anonymously if you prefer and we can have a good laugh together.