The Internet has totally democratized access to information and in many ways, access to people.
I totally admire confident people brave enough to reach our directly to a stranger with a request for an advice, mentorship etc. There is, however, a big fat stinky “but”.
This “reaching out to people” simply can not be an alternative to searching for information on your own and studying available literature. Way too many times I meet “aspiring entrepreneurs” asking most basic questions about running a business, that hasn’t spent an hour on reading about it first.
“I have an idea for an app, I need to meet you so you can tell me how to get money from investors to launch it” This request happens too often. And shouldn’t at all. I’m not even mentioning that such a question actually implies this person is not ready to launch a toy rocket in his garden.
Now that some steam has been let off, let’s get to the main point. You can’t write a total stranger out of the blue and expect him or her to a) answer immediately b) engage in a time wasting chit-chat without cutting to the chase c) spend time on a meeting without clear communication of “what’s in it for me, bruh”.
Granted, you admire/respect/look up to that person. But remember there is a reason you are trying to get to him and not the other way around. It’s good to understand that, respect it and act upon it. Below is the answer I’m using as a response template to messages I’m getting. I’m trying to make it clear why I say no or yes. I hope this helps get me better by people that write me. Maybe it will also help you if you have a similar problem?
Many thanks for reaching out to me, I’m flattered that you consider myself as a person worth talking to.
What I would like to point out, however, is that every “yes” to something is a “no” to something else. My schedule is always packed with projects, meetings, and assignments for months ahead and lack of ideas is my least concern. I’m not saying this to brag, I just simply want you to understand my situation.
When someone I don’t know reaches out to me, in order for me to engage at least one of below-mentioned conditions needs to be met:
1. It’s a project around areas that I’m particularly passionate about
2. It is a reliable nonprofit project focused on improving people lives in general
3. There is a clear added value for me from time spent on this project (for example new knowledge)
4. If it’s a commercial project, I get paid either in cash or shares. I would consider shares if it’s a project already with traction.