You Don’t Need A Law Degree To Charge A Fee

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lawyer-ethics-and-social-mediaSo someone called me up … he wanted advise for his new business idea. Specifically social media advise.

I agreed to meet, I love social media, I love watching businesses grow, I just love helping people.

So here we were going over ideas to grow his business with social media, to market it so that it goes viral and fast. I was sharing knowledge and experience accumulated over years and years of failure/mistakes and then success with my friend.

At the end of our meeting he had that look of satisfaction in his eyes … the eyes of someone excited to start and rock out on his business!

2-3 months later I was sitting on the toilet sit at work (don’t judge me I needed a secure line).

I needed help/assistance for my business … specifically legal advise for taxes. Fortunately my friend, the one I helped with social media advice popped into my head. Not surprisingly though, because he was a lawyer.

I dialed the number … ring ring ring … he picked up.

I told him I needed some advice … advice regarding legal issues on taxes. He said he could help me out, but recommended that my company pay a retainer fee for his advice. The cost … N250,000 a year.

I told him that I could not afford it … he said I could borrow money. I asked him for a discount or a much lower price … he said this was his source of income … his degree … thus he could not bargain much.

With minimal price movement, the call ended.

After the call I remained on the toilet seat thinking. Thinking about the free social media advice I had given some months back. Why didn’t I charge a retainer fee or charge something for my experience?

And here is the problem with a lot of people … including me. And it is that we subconsciously see some of our non-degree experiences as non-marketable and thus not worthy to charge people for. We feel because we don’t have an official paper degree or because it comes so easily to us that we cannot charge for our talents.

We think that knowledge like using social media or marketing or speaking is not worthy of being charged for. So we run around meeting up for free, giving advise for free, telling people how to avoid costly mistakes for free.

But when we turn around to those same people … lawyers, accountants, engineers etc, they hit us up with retainer fees, consulting fees. A plethora of fee based on and justified by their degrees … its like they forgot about our free social media advice. Or maybe we let them forget by giving it out for “free.”

So I am here to remind you (and me also) …

“You don’t need a College Degree to Charge a Fee!” THE END

PS: I do charge consultant fees, but I find myself accidentally giving out free advise from time to time. I guess this article is a push for me to remember the value of what I am bringing to the table.

twitterWritten by Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
Follow him on Twitter
Stalk him on Instagram
Read his crazy titled books on konga or okadabooks
Feed his children at…no wait he has no kids…. 




17 comments on “You Don’t Need A Law Degree To Charge A Fee

  1. Thank you for this good advice Okechukwu. Yeah, you’re correct. We the non-paper wielders need to realize that our knowledge needs no degree or certificate to be certified commercially-viable. And we need to place more commercial value on all the knowledge we have sweat and worked hard to gain.
    Brilliant post!
    David I. Adeleke latest post is A Short Biography of Elon MuskMy Profile

  2. Dotun Oyeyemi on said:

    I have long defriend a friend of mine who is a graphic artiste because of this issue. I offer him my services free of charge but whenever I need him to design something for me he brandished his professional fees forgetting all the favours I have obliged him.

  3. Tell me about it! I am asked to give free legal advice all the time. In return very few people want to reciprocate the favor.

    You also meet those who “remembered you” and claim they want to give you a job but don’t want to pay since its just a small contract(consideration in millions by the way).

    I have since revalued my services.

  4. My dear…try being a doctor. From friends that call you or sometimes even chat you up -on BBM or WhatsApp because it’s relatively free- to ask for Medical advise, to those who try to haggle the hospital bills down to the cost of the drugs “after all saving lives should be your priority, not making money”, to artisans that worked for you once or customers that mistakenly find out your profession and instantly triple their prices “haba Doc, you be rich man/woman na…” but forget services should be payed for when they rush their sick child to you. And you just can’t turn them back.

    The worst, relatives from afar who remember you only when they need surgery and expect to get huge discounts from your friends hospitals (on top your head o!) and want to recuperate in your house “since it’s closer to the doctor”.

    The thing just taya me, true.

    • Pardon the long reply. I am just so pained…lol

      Will schools admit my children for free because I’m a Doctor? Abi I just shine teeth and they give me fuel at the filling station? Even you sef that is charging me x3 for that service, where do you think I’ll get the money from?

  5. Bottomline, serve customers who want your service not those who need it.

    People will pay for what they want. Those who need it sometimes simply aren’t ready to pay for it- so they try and justify it by leaning on your moral Christian values and telling you of how badly they would have paid if they could afford it.

    A simple way out would be to clarify tyheir needs, paint a picture of the benefits of solving the problem. Th hit em with an invoice before moving forward. Generally people will pay more prior to the service being rendered. The overall value of such service generally falls once rendered. So pay before service. Money for hand, back for ground;)

  6. One thing is for sure
    What u paid for is what u are serious for
    Oga ofili u are sounding like Ben Bruce on these one I like it

  7. Solomon King on said:

    A friend asked for free advice about some gadgets, I told her I don’t open my mouth for free. I spend money on data and my sleeping time to research this things, besides fixing up phones is my hobby but it my workshop.
    She got furious cos I was suppose to act like a brother in Christ. Imagine! I told her, where man dey work na there e dey chop, that’s why its called workshop (workchop) and the bible says a labourer is worthy of his wages. #Shikenan

  8. I learnt this bitter lesson the hard way. A friend who i always gave free financial advice as an accountant for anything frier than the word free but when i needed to handle an event and solicited his expert advice; he literally choked me with his cut-pocket charge. Still a bitter lesson to me.

  9. Pingback: The Legendary Shit: The Old Me Versus The New Me #ATrueStory | Ofilispeaks

  10. This post really resonated with me. My friends constantly try to get me to help them with their businesses especially when they’re just starting off. I have tried charging them in the past but it never works and bleeding heart that I am, I do it anyway because I’m clearly daft.

    However, this all changed a few months ago when one friend just took the piss, completely. She asked for help with her new business and I was cautious but nevertheless eager to help. It started with quick questions over bbm and quickly spiraled into me following her to meetings with prospective clients (for moral support) meetings where I would do all the talking because it had become very clear that she had absolutely no idea what she was doing.

    Good friend that I am I was mildly irritated, nothing too serious. That is of course until she started trying to get me to spend my lunch break working on ideas for her business or running to “quick” 3 hour meetings. I spent so much time on her business that I actually became exhausted and to top it off, she took to calling me her “business partner” and then one day, she referred to me as her “ASSISTANT” at a meeting that I was RUNNING as a favour to her.

    Needless to say, that was the end for me. Going forward, I’m going to ensure that if a person is unwilling to compensate me for my time and energy or at least respect the fact that I’m doing them a gigantic favour, friendship or not. I will not help them with their businesses. It isn’t worth it. If you undervalue your skills and expertise, you are teaching other people to do the same.

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