Stuck? 5 Content Ideas for When You Don’t Know What to Post

Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it’s social media or website or marketing content, it’s easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn’t go away!

Stuck? 5 Content Ideas for When You Don't Know What to Post

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don’t know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there’s always something.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
Click the image for more information, or pop your email address in the form below


Content ideas for when you don’t know what to post

I don’t know about you but I do a LOT of writing. All day, every day.

But I do it for other people and most of the time, they’re telling me what to write.

So, I guess that’s easy in a way. Like, it has it’s own challenges but I never wonder what on earth am I going to write?

It’s more like…OK…um…how am I going to make this random topic somehow interesting?

Anyway, I think freelancers and writers find they don’t have ideas when it comes to writing for themselves. On their blog. On their social media. In general.

I’ve been here. I feel you.

BUT you can break free cause this is one big mental game. And you’re probably overthinking it.

No shame, you just need a system.

I’ve shared my personal system before (How to Create a Content Calendar) so you can check that out if you’d like a refresher, and I’ll summarize it quickly below as well.

Since I implemented this system in 2017 I haven’t had a single moment where I didn’t know what to write. Dead serious. It has changed everything!

For my blog content I have organized everything into six topics, also called themes or content pillars depending on what industry you’re in. Or who you’re talking to.

Here are my personal content pillars

  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Publishing

I start with these big topics, then I brainstorm ideas for what could fit within each one. I write them down and do my best to keep breaking down those ideas into smaller and smaller pieces.

Why? Because the more pieces, the more posts.

The more posts, the less I have to figure out later. I just look at my article ideas and get writing.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
Click the image for more information, or pop your email address in the form below

What to post on Instagram

Alright, let’s get specific about Instagram, since that’s where I feel like the most people get stuck. Maybe it’s because we’re words people in a visual medium…maybe.

Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like it’s just difficult!

We see what the cool influencers are doing and feel like we need to do it to. But…do we? I mean, our goals are different, aren’t they?

(They are.)

I know you’re going to be shocked beyond shocked but…I systemize my social media posting too.

Here are my Instagram content pillars. I used to keep them the same as my blog topics but this fits a bit better visually for my brand:

  • Tips and tricks
  • Books and stationery/coffee
  • Nature (especially my home/safe space/refuge)
  • Establishing myself as an expertise (helping people get to know me)

And here’s an example from one of my clients, to help you see how topics/themes help demonstrate your unique personality and skills:

  • Writing quotes
  • Humorous quotes
  • Dogs (specifically French Bull Dogs)
  • Gardening/Mushrooms/Quilting/Canning

But let’s say themes or topic just doesn’t work for you. Fair! Here’s another idea from another one of my clients.

In this case, they have thousands of resources on their website and publish content every day. There’s a lot to work with. Like, an overwhleming amount.

Four or five topics just wasn’t cutting it, so here’s what we do instead.

  • Illustrations from existing content (articles)
  • Quotes (text overlaid on stock photos)
  • Graphically branded post
  • Flat lay products

The big idea with this strategy is to showcase the huge range of resources available on the site, and to continually provide encouragement and inspiration through regular, consistent social media posting.

Content ideas AND MORE for those who are still stuck

We’ve reviewed a lot here, but it’s all high level so I understand if you’re still feeling a bit stuck coming up with content ideas.

So here’s what I recommend. Steal this content strategy I wrote for Sage Media & Marketing and stop stressing about it. Do it. Just take it.

The content strategy reviews five different types of content you can write and rotate through for a well-balanced, cohesive feed.

It’s truly awesome and if you do the work, you won’t run out of content ideas. And it will give youa fresh, well-balanced feed!

And when you’re ready to uplevel, check out this how-to guide: How to Create an Instagram Strategy.

If you’re honest-to-goodness stuck on the visuals then here’s who I recommend to help:

Do you feel stuck for content ideas? Whether it's social media or website or marketing content, it's easy to feel like you have nothing to say.

And yet, the need for content doesn't go away!

The entire goal of this post is to give you at least five content ideas for when you don't know what to post.

Secondary goal? To prove that there's always something.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

What is a Ghostwriter? How to Make Good Money Writing

“What is a ghostwriter?” At a recent writer’s breakfast workshop on book writing and publishing, a writer asked me this.

The topic came up as I was giving examples of alternative publishing options to.

What is a Ghostwriter

My example, in this case: ghostwriting.

“What is a ghostwriter?” The workshop attendee asked. “Is it when you change names in your memoir to avoid disclosing someone’s identity?”

This was a new concept to the workshop attendees. As I thought about the term I realized how weird it is. I mean, it kind of sounds like some sort of niche mystery writer. The answer is much less sexy, sorry.


Wondering if ghostwriting is right for you? There are four decisions every writer needs to make before they get started marketing themselves and their services online. They’re foundational to your writing life.

To help you figure this out, I’ve created a free worksheet and you can grab it inside of my resource library!

Pop your email address in the form below, confirm your subscription to my email list and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in, navigate to the writing section and look for the worksheet titled “Four Decisions Every Writer Needs to Make.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

What is a ghostwriter?

When people outside the industry think of writing I think they imagine a standard person-writes-book-and-puts-name-on-it.

But when you enter the wonderful world of professional writing you realize there are SO MANY MORE OPTIONS.

Sure, writing a book and putting your name on it is a thing. A big thing.

And the easiest way to explain ghostwriting to someone who things of the writing life as limited to authoring a book is this: a ghostwriter is someone who writes a book for someone else.

They provide the service of writing a book and then release the rights to that book to the person who hired them to do it.

What does this mean?

When you write a book for someone else it means you get paid once and they sell the book as their own. They put their name on it. They take all the credit. And they get all future money for it.

And it’s totally above board, don’t worry. Sure there are other arrangements ghostwriters make with their clients.

Sometimes the book will say “so and so with so and so,” which indicates the it’s the first person’s story but the second person put it together and did the writing.

And sometimes the writer does receive royalties.

Quite often these are collaborations with an editor and done for people who are celebrities, politicians or CEOs.

Other Types of Ghostwriting

I look at ghostwriting as any writing you aren’t credited for. And there are so many times where this makes sense.

Some examples:

  • Website copy
  • Product descriptions
  • Social media posts
  • Podcast show notes

It doesn’t really make sense to have a byline on things like this. And you maybe you don’t think about this type of writing as professional writing but it is.

The label for this type of ghostwriting is something like business-to-business writing or even professional writing. In essence, you’re hired to write for a company and once your contract is completed they own the copy and you get paid.

Makes sense, right? Do you still wonder what is a ghostwriter?

Another type of ghostwriting is taking one form of media and transcribing it into written form. You aren’t coming up with the ideas or doing the research, you’re just repurposing it.

It doesn’t make sense to have author credit because, well, you didn’t write it. Not really.

I could keep going but I think you get the idea.

The great news about ghostwriting is often it is better paying than writing for credit because people understand what you’re giving up and compensate you for it.

Other helpful articles

"What is a ghostwriter?" The easiest way to explain ghostwriting to someone who things of the writing life as limited to authoring a book is this: a ghostwriter is someone who writes a book for someone else. They provide the service of writing a book and then release the rights to that book to the person who hired them to do it.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
"What is a ghostwriter?" At a recent writer's breakfast workshop on book writing and publishing, a writer asked me this. The topic came up as I was giving examples of alternative publishing options to.
A writer asked me what is a ghostwriter. It came up because I suggested it as an alternative to traditional publishing and it was a new idea for attendees.

Best Gifts for Writers | Gift Guide

There are so many great gifts for writers out there! If you have suggestions or items on your wish list please send them over and I’ll add them to the guide.

Best Gifts for Writers | Gift Guide

What do you get the writer who has everything?

Or, perhaps this is more accurate: Oh no! You drew THE WRITER for your secret Santa gift exchange and you have no clue what would make a good gift! Help!

What are the best gifts for writers anyway? Is there a GIFT GUIDE?

Yes, yes there is.

Best gifts for writers

With a bunch of sections to go through, I thought a table of contents would be handy.

Click on the links below to jump to the gift category you’re most interested in.


Esty finds

OK, there is SO much amazing handmade or vintage gifts for writers on Etsy. It’s overwhelming really. The last time I checked there were 18,254 results.

But don’t worry, I’ve dug up a few of my personal favourites to cut your shopping down from eons to mere minutes. You’re welcome.

Best Gifts for Writers | Etsy Finds
  • Typewriter Bangle—a personalized typewriter charm? Um…yes. Please
  • Writer’s Block…Block—I have no words, this is gift perfection
  • Handmade Wood Pen—I can just imagine holding this wooden, ballpoint twist pen in my hand and allowing the creative thoughts to flow freely!
  • Quotation Mark Earrings—aren’t these adorable? Punctuation as jewelry is always a good gift, in my humble opinion. The only thing better would be an interrobang‽
  • This is What a Badass Journalist Looks Like—you can get this phrase printed on a ceramic mug, on a T-shirt or on a coaster
  • The Writing Manifesto Print—this isn’t pictured but imagine a busy (yet calming!) inspirational poster with phrases like “You are a writer,” “caffeine and headphones,” “embrase the muse,” etc.
  • Luxury Notebook—WOW. The black faux leather is embossed with a bronze feather and “Creative Ideas.” It would make a most excellent gift for a writer

Writer-themed coffee mugs

Writing mugs need no introduction. They’re silly, they’re funny (to writers), and they hold coffee. AKA the perfect gift.

1. I Am A Writer That Means I Live In a Crazy Fantasy World With Unrealistic Expectations Thank You For Understanding Ceramic Mug

It’s accurate, it’s pretty, it’s practical. It’s perfect.

2. There Their They’re Coffee Cup

Don’t worry, your writer will get it.

3. Please Do Not Annoy The Writer Mug

I think the multiple fonts takes the edge off the murdery stuff.

4. Novel In Progress Keep Writing Mug

Short and to the point. It gives a real “leave me alone, I’m writing” vibe.

5. Stay Up Late Writers Mug

I love the typewriter. And the meta writing about writing.

6. Writer’s Block is a Figment of Your…Uh… Mug

I can’t think of anything to say about this mug.

Best gifts for writers. Writing mugs need no introduction. They're silly, they're funny (to writers), and they hold coffee. AKA the perfect gift.

Writer-themed pendants

Writers aren’t all about writing. They appreciate writing-themed jewelry too!

1. Outlander Sassenach Pendant Necklace

A couple years ago I attended a writing conference and it was all Outlander all the time. So I know this one’s a winner.

2. Keep Calm and Write On Pendant Necklace

A cliche, a mantra, a push to keep going.

3. Why is a raven like a writing desk? Alice in Wonderland Necklace, Lewis Carroll Quote Pendant, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Jewelry

I’m watching Through the Looking Glass as I write this…there may have been some influence.

4. Library Book Necklace, Book Pendant

So many books, so little time.

Gifts for writers. Writers don't just love craft-related items, they love writing-related jewelry too! What do you get the writer who has everything? Or, perhaps this is more accurate: Oh no! You drew THE WRITER for your secret Santa gift exchange and you have no clue what would make a good gift! Help! What are the best gifts for writers anyway? Is there a GIFT GUIDE? Why yes, yes there is.

Writing notebooks | Gifts for writers

Yes, this is super practical. But I’ve pulled some of the cooler writing notebooks from the Internet.

Although everyone uses computers, many writers prefer pen and paper for staying organized. I even know writers who write their novels by hand!

1. Field Notes Kraft Ruled 3-Pack

These 48-page mini logs are masterpieces.

2. Passion Planner

I have several friends who swear by this planner.

3. Refillable Travel Journal

It’s pretty, it’s refillable, and it’s perfect for writing in.

4. Productivity Planner

Get focused, beat procrastination, write things in a pretty notebook. Win win win.


E-readers

Writers love real life books but they’re also realists. Where do they put all those books they read? Which is why you should get the writer on your list an e-reader.

Here are a few options!

1. Kindle Paperwhite

2. Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa

3. Nook HD

4. Kobo Forma

Gifts for writers. Writers love real life books but they're also realists. Where do they put all those books they read? Which is why you should get the writer on your list an e-reader. Here are a few options!

Craft books

Books on the craft of writing are great gifts for writers! These are a few of my favourites.

1. Writer’s Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published. This is the standard gift for writers!

2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

This book is incredible. The advice and writing tips took my writing to the next level. It also banished adverbs. Yay.

3. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 28th edition: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over

This is similar to the Writer’s Market but can there be too much of a good thing? When it comes to writing books, I say no!

4. The Weekend Book Proposal: How to Write a Winning Proposal in 48 Hours and Sell Your Book

I spent the past year writing my book proposal and pitching it so you can see where my head’s at. Book! Book! Write your book! (Actually, PLAN your non-fiction book!)


Writing T-shirts | Gifts for writers

Every writer needs a writing T-shirt. And these ones are funny. Trust me on this.

1. To Quote Hamlet

This is quite silly, but I like it! (And I think your writer will too.)

2. I Put The Lit In Literature T-Shirt

I’m not 100 per cent sure what “lit” means in today’s slang but my gut says it’s pretty cool. So this saying is probably cool too.

3. This is My Writing Shirt

A bit on the nose but accurate nonetheless.

4. Grammar Police T-Shirt

This is for those special writers or editors in your life who are proud of their grammar grasp and want the world to know they’re paying attention to misplaced modifiers and pronoun usage.


Writing prompts

Looking for writing prompts and writing journals? This is your official one-stop shop!

1. 1200 Creative Writing Prompts (Adventures in Writing)

If you’re looking for writing ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

2. 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts

Prompt sections include beginners writing prompts, constrained writing, flash fiction, ripper prompts, and general writing prompts.

3. A Year of Creative Writing Prompts (Write On!)

Kick your imagination into gear with this collection of hand-picked, hand-crafted, explosively creative writing prompts!

4. 365 Journal Writing Ideas: A year of daily journal writing prompts, questions & actions to fill your journal with memories, self-reflection, creativity & direction

Follow the undated daily journal writing prompts and weekly actions to fill your journal to the point of bursting.

Looking for writing prompts and writing journals? This is your official one-stop shop! What do you get the writer who has everything? Or, perhaps this is more accurate: Oh no! You drew THE WRITER for your secret Santa gift exchange and you have no clue what would make a good gift! Help! What are the best gifts for writers anyway? Is there a GIFT GUIDE? Yes, yes there is.

Gifts for writers, Pin it for later!

Oh no! You drew THE WRITER for your gift exchange and you have no clue what to get. Help! What are the best gifts for writers anyway? Is there a GIFT GUIDE?

Stay tuned, more to come. I’ve got ideas for writing prompts, writing-themed jewelry, writing BOOKS, writing inspiration, and writing clothing (obviously) in the queue. And whatever else I can dig up!

Other Fun THings For Writers

Gifts for writers are fairly straightforward. Literary-themed beverage containers and office wear as well as the obvious notebooks should keep them happy.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals | How to Set Realistic Goals

You may or may not have heard of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals before. It takes some planning and brainstorming but it works!

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals

If you’re a writer, you probably have something you want to accomplish. You know, a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG).

  • Write a book
  • Make 100 per cent of your income from freelance writing
  • Secure year-round contract work

So, what’s your goal?

And how long have you not been reaching it?

I don’t mean any offence, I just know from experience how those BHAGs can paralyse, overwhelm, and otherwise sabotage productivity.

That is, until the BHAG is broken down into smaller, less hairy, S.M.A.R.T. goals. You know, the ones that will spark your creativity and propel you towards your dreams.

No pressure

Create a Writing Schedule Worksheet

*Interjection*

By the way, once you have your goals, it might be time to set a writing schedule. I can help! All you have to do is grab the free PDF from my resource library. Put your email in the form below and I’ll send you the password!

Once you’re in the library navigate to the writing section and look for “Create a Writing Schedule Worksheet.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

For years I’ve said I want to write a book. In an offhanded, joking sort of way. And yet for all my wanting I have 1,600 terrible words accomplished.

Why? Don’t I want to write a book? Then why am I not writing it?

Because I’ve never broken down the goal into manageable steps. Daily word counts. Specific time set aside for book writing. Book plotting. Why haven’t I? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s overwhelm. Maybe insecurity. Or maybe I’m waiting for someone to not only beg me to write a book but also pay me to do it.

Enough! time to get going on Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

It’s time to get real, set the goal, state it, and break it down into steps that will get me there.


Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals—my definition

Everyone agrees goal-setting is important. However, while it’s fun dreaming and thinking big, the work of it is figuring out how to achieve your goals.

The best way to set goals you’ll actually work to achieve is following the creating S.M.A.R.T. goals system. It’s quick, straightforward, and keeps you focused on action.

Once I have my BHAG (in this example, write a book) I break down the goal into smaller, less impossible steps. You know, I make them smart.

Here’s how I define S.M.A.R.T. (because there are many ways to do it). I keep things straight by applying who, what, when, why, how to the matter. If I can’t answer those questions, my goal might still be too big.

Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals—broken down

Specific—what will you do?

Here’s where you force yourself to get clear and focus in on your objective. What do you even want to do?

If my goal is write a 50,000 page book I’m going to have to figure out how to make it happen. I need to break this huge goal into smaller tasks.

Maybe it’s write 750 words a day. Maybe it’s a weekly word goal. Oh, or maybe I need an outline and table of contents first. Maybe I need my topic before I get get into writing.

By breaking it down into one or several specific goals, the huge task of writing 50,000 words is all of a sudden not such a crazy idea.

Measurable—how will you know you’ve done it?

The problem (for me at least, maybe you’re totally great at writing 50,000 words or achieving any and every huge goal you have by sheer will power and determination) with huge goals is you only know you’ve achieved it once you hit your word count or whatever it is you have as your finish line.

But since it’s such a massive goal you need checkpoints along the way to keep you motivated and not paralysed in overwhelm. Break your goals into smaller pieces, all building towards that huuuuuuuuge goal and you’ll see your anticipation and excitement for the task at hand grow.

When I set myself a daily or weekly word count goal I know exactly what I need to do. Once I reach the goal? I feel pretty good. In fact, I feel great. I celebrate the small wins and feel confident I’m one more step closer to reaching my huge goal. Amazing how that works.

Achievable—who will do it?

Of course, goal-setting only works when it’s actually possible to accomplish it. So when creating S.M.A.R.T. goals you do need to ask if you can achieve it. Can you? How?

You might have to look deep and get real with yourself at this point. Do you have the skills you need to reach this goal? Do you have the time? How about the resources? Do you have the money?

For me time is always the issue. So I have to ask myself, is this what I want? For reals? Or is it a nice idea.

OK then, how will I make this happen?

Because “I didn’t do it because I was busy” is a nice excuse, but if I’m going to use it then I should probably give up on my BHAG because it’s not going to happen.

Relevant—why are you doing it?

At this point in the process, you need to make sure you care about the goal and that it fits with your other goals. How does this goal fit in with your other, larger, dreams? Does it drive you forward in the right direction? Does it breathe life into you?

I ask myself if the goal I’m setting is worthwhile, the right time, and a good fit with whatever else is going on in my life.

Sometimes I have to set my goals aside for a time while I finish up other tasks. Sometimes I have to shelve them because I realise while it’s a nice idea and fun and stuff, it doesn’t align with my other goals.

This is hard but, when done right, honest.

Time-sensitive—when will you do it?

What’s a goal without a deadline? If your goal is open-ended it stays vague—more like a wish than something you’ll actually accomplish. And because you’ve worked so hard to make your goal specific and realistic, you should be able to commit to a deadline you’ll be able to meet without too much stress.

Another bonus when setting deadlines is to keep you focused on your BHAGs and not allow the everyday, urgent, busy stuff distract you.

Once I set a target for my BHAG I find it easier to set individual deadlines when creating S.M.A.R.T. goals.

When I have the big number then I deconstruct it into smaller amounts until I have something I can work with, be it a daily, weekly, or monthly goal.

With my goals set I move on to breaking them into tasks, but that’s a story for another day.


Other freelance writing tips

You may or may not have heard of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals before. It takes some planning and brainstorming but it works! Here's how I define S.M.A.R.T. (because there are many ways to do it). I keep things straight by applying who, what, when, why, how to the matter. If I can't answer those questions, my goal might still be too big.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
The best way to set goals you’ll actually work to achieve is by creating S.M.A.R.T. goals for your freelance writing business.

How to Respond When People Want to Pick Your Brain for Free

“Hey, can I take you out for coffee and pick you brain? I have a question about freelance writing.”

This is such a common question and I’m sure you’ve been asked it in one way, shape or form at some point in your career.

How to Respond When People Want to Pick Your Brain for Free

In fact, I’ve heard this taught as an actual tactic for learning the business.

In fact, I’ve definitely asked people if I could pick their brain! (And still do sometimes!)

So, is it good to do this? Is it smarmy? Is it somewhere in between?

Hey, can I pick your brain?

Ahh…I guess it’s kind of a grey area.

When we’re just getting started, or trying to figure out how to level up, we need someone who is further along to point us in the right direction.

But if you’re that person who is further along, you’re probably REALLY busy. And you likely get asked this question a LOT.

The answer here, for the asker and the mentor is boundaries.

Because here’s the thing, in the content marketing game, sharing valuable advice and offering free information is important!

And literary citizenship is super important!

But sometimes you need to get paid for your advice.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

Let’s take a quick break from the training so I can remind you about my resource library!

Executing a solid marketing plan comes down to understanding who you serve, what makes you different in the eyes of your ideal client, why that difference matters and what you do.

If you can get solid here, your marketing will flow from there.

I’ve put together a worksheet to help you figure this out. You can grab the free download in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll email you the password, then go to the freelancing section and look for “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Alright, let’s talk about boundaries

Where you place your boundary on requests for free advice is different for every entrepreneur. That’s the first thing.

But you should definitely figure out where that line is and draw that line in the sand.

The next step is to maintain that boundary. And yeah, you may feel MEAN but your boundary is there for a reason.

And think about how much you give to your community already, and what this person is asking.

Like, you’re not giving enough already? And you should give to this random person…because they think you should? Because you owe them?

Sometimes giving free advice isn’t the right call at that exact moment in your specific situation. Recognize that and keep your boundaries in place.

How to respond when people want to pick your brain for free

There are gracious and kind ways to declining an invitation when people reach out asking for advice but don’t want to pay for it.

Because you want to treat everyone who reaches out to you with respect as a human.

The goal here is to acknowledge their situation and remind them that you run a business.

Here are a couple suggestions for investing in people without giving into every request to pick your brain.

Hey, can I take you out for coffee and pick your brain?

This first one I would use if I kind of know the person, or if a friend as given them my information and told them to reach out.

And I will note, I often accept these requests if I’m available and it makes sense. But here’s what I’d say if I’m declining.

Response to pick your brain 1/2

Hey friend, so good to hear from you!

I love that you reached out about freelance writing and marketing as it’s an area I’m passionate about. At this point, I’m fully booked through till the end of __________, which means my schedule is pretty tight for coffee meetings.

That said, I’d love to invite you to our next virtual co-working session! I’ve pasted the details below—let me know if you can make it 🙂

Also, I’ve written about this topic before on my blog (link). Hope this is helpful in your situation!

Robyn

PS What’s your Instagram handle? I’d love to connect with you there!


This second one is something I’d use if I have no idea who the person is or if the tone of their request put me off. Like, if it felt demanding or entitled or something.

Response to pick your brain 2/2

Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out! I have a lot of knowledge in the freelance writing and marketing field and would love to see you succeed in this area!

Here’s a little bit about me and my business.

And here is an article I wrote about TOPIC (link). Hope it’s helpful in your situation!

Let me know what you think and let me know if you have any other questions.

Robyn

PS If you’re interested, I will add you to my email list where I share weekly tips and tricks to move you ahead in your freelance business!

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Are you wondering what the right way to ask someone for free advice is? Here’s a helpful article from The New York Times.

"Hey, can I take you out for coffee and pick you brain? I have a question about freelance writing."

This is such a common question and I'm sure you've been asked it in one way, shape or form at some point in your career.

There are gracious and kind ways to respond when people reach out asking for advice but don't want to pay for it.

Because you want to treat everyone who reaches out to you with respect as a human.

The goal here is to acknowledge their situation and remind them that you run a business.

Here are a couple suggestions for investing in people without giving into every request to pick your brain.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required