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Pick My Brain

I do not do this often, this month I’m going to vent little on a topic that has popped up several times this year and been discussed for ages, thank you for reading/listening in advance.

I can’t tell you how flattering it is to be approached by note professionals, whether newbies, veterans, seasoned investors or even institutional investors seeking my wisdom and advice. It shows they are listening, and like what I have to say.

I love giving guidance and sharing information. If there is something that I can share to help people be more successful I will freely share it.  I write blogs, articles and a newsletter. I have done radio shows and pod casts. I also Tweet, Facebook and share nuggets of advice almost daily. So what is it, in all of that, which would make anyone think they can still have the right to “pick my brain”?

But often I find the road ends when they are just on a fact finding mission. That mission is to pick my brain to gather as much free intelligence and knowledge they need to make their jobs easier, for free.

When people want something for free, my thought is, “is that what you think I’m worth?”

Let’s agree that the brain of a person with twenty-five years of experience in the note business costs money to maintain AND understand from where the intelligence and knowledge came from. There’s training, classes, workshops, seminars to attend, reading books, gaining certifications, costs of memberships to network, attending conferences, testing and more testing, trial and error and mastering the skills that all cost time and money.  That investment needs to be protected.

How fair is it to anyone to give away the knowledge they have acquired that they currently use to make their living, pay their bills and eat?  Now, don’t get offended. If you do, maybe you deserve to be offended because you’re one of those aforementioned brain pickers.

There have been many articles written and discussions formed around this very subject. With the Internet being so widely available loaded with free information, people automatically assume that information should be provided for free.

The response to that is to go ahead and read the free stuff. Personally, I have over five hundred pages on my website dedicated to note brokers and note professionals all for free, not to mention over ten years of archived of newsletters. But when you still find yourself lacking answers, then apparently you need more than just the FREE stuff. You can’t approach a professional and ask them to work for free. In essence, that is what you’re doing when you ask to pick someone’s brain.

How would you feel if your boss came to you and said, Hey since we can get this done from information from the Internet, I won’t be paying you today. Go ahead, let it sink in. Got that visual yet? Good. That’s exactly how you make someone feel whenever you want to take someone to lunch or call to pick their brain.

If you’re like me, and there are lots of us out there, you’ve given away tons of valuable information. This business was built on people sharing information. I have never once minded helping people out; I truthfully, don’t mind and will continue to do so. It’s just once in a while the ones who keep coming back for more freebies and those who take ideas, implement them, find success, and then never offer repayment in any form.

And no, a turkey sandwich is not payment for something that helped you overcome an obstacle and either created value or additional revenue for your company. People pay very good money for expertise and results. How would they feel to know that it has been given away for free? Not too swell I would imagine.

So the question then is, where is the line drawn? Knowledge, expertise and experience have tremendous value. Money and time have been invested into learning the note business and it’s not fair for people to expect that it be given away for free.

This has been told to individuals and some have promptly replied, “You know I don’t have much money”. AND? That means you either have to delay your plans or come up with the money to fund your dreams, period. Giving away too much information is one of the quickest ways to end up out of business. Put that in proper perspective for a moment. If you’re still having problem understanding this, here are some rules of thumb for you to consider:

Knowledge, experience and trusted advice are very valuable. If it wasn’t, then why would you be asking about it? It might be your chance to solve a problem or find a solution. That has value. If it is understood that there is a cost for knowledge, experience and advice then be happy to pay it or move on. Exchange for equal value. If you move on, then it can be derived that you were never planning on exchanging value for value, and then you can figure it out on your own.

There are a ton of “free” resources, published articles, archived newsletters out there and those resources are there for anyone. Anything specific or beyond what’s readily available has a cost.

You can go to Google or any other search engine or to sites that have articles or information about what you need advice on. Maybe you will find an e-book or e-zine that might be helpful. The problem is that these avenues can be overwhelming with varying degrees of information and theories and not necessarily useable information. Not fun, but when you are ready to put it in proper perspective and implement, then be ready to get a real a consultation…a paid consultation.  The minute anyone compromises their value that is the moment when they devalue themselves and their expertise.

Bottom line, this is a real business with lots of real professional individuals working very hard for their own survival and growth. Respect that, be professional and move forward from there. I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season and that 2015 was a great year for your note or cash flow business.  Talk to you next year! Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work!  TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)

Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital, your favorite Master Buyer, has been in the cash flow industry since 1991.  Specializing in the private mortgage note niche and seller financed notes he can be reached at 818-865-2322 or by email at For beginning to advance training opportunities, resources, to learn more or to obtain a quote visit and

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