I’m cheating today, and posting a reply I made to a forum today. Got to conserve those keystrokes!

A craftsperson had received a request, out of the blue, from someone was writing a business plan for a similar business: “I was hoping to ask you some questions about your business, your target customers, and the available market for such (a product)?

I got to thinking about why requests like this bug me. After all, sometimes I share freely with others, while other times (like this one) I feel hugely annoyed.

I think it’s this:

I don’t mind sharing general knowledge about how I learned stuff, or where I learned it or how I found it. I like to share my experiences so others don’t have to necessarily make all the same mistakes I did! I think if you read my blog, you get that about me.

But I hate being treated like a data mine for people who can’t be bothered to do the simplest research for a business/product they say they are passionate about.

I don’t mind occasionally sharing a really great resource or tip for someone.

But I usually expect something in return–they share a great potential customer or lead, or some marketing opportunity, perhaps. Or they are part of community where I’ve benefited from the generosity of others, and it’s my turn to give back.

It’s not tit-for-tat, exactly. But it there is some kind of reciprocity. And I know it when I see it…or don’t see it.

I guess sharing to me involves some degree of give and take, whereas some folks seem to only see the “taking” end!

P.S. I am not talking about those wonderful random acts of kindness I feel compelled to make from time to time. Those just come from a different place entirely.

Though, when I think about them, I have to admit the recipient never sees it coming! They never even thought of asking…