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The Harmless Pursuit of Picking Someone's Brain

Welcome my darling Pretties to our Beyond to the Dawn of Business podcast for pretty empowered female entrepreneurs.

It’s time to step into your power Pretties! Lift each other, support the squad and choose a life filled with the autonomy and freedom to live your dreams.

I’m your host Dawn Beth, the Owner and Founder of Beyond the Dawn digital business brand and agency. My coffee is hot and my eyelashes are on, so we are ready to go!


I want all female entrepreneurs to feel empowered, supported and loved, and given the opportunity to really connect with other female powerhouses in the industry, in a way in which we lift each other up and inspire each other, and take care of each other in ways that we have previously not seen in business, possibly, listen to us waffling on about business and life our families, and our mindset, our financial goals and our freedoms and our autonomy. And what we hope for the world and what we hope for you, what we hope for ourselves, and all of the things that we’ve experienced through this very colorful journey of becoming successful female entrepreneurs and digital business owners.

If you want to know more you want to learn more, you want to be in a connected network of soulful heart centered female entrepreneurs to help guide and support you in your journey, and sometimes you still understand what it is that you’re going through whilst you’re building your empire, then you are in the right place. To listen to this podcast visit our channel on Apple or Spotify and remember to subscribe for future release updates!

Dawn Baxter 

Welcome Pretties to today’s episode, today, I want to talk to you about the harmless pursuit of picking someone’s brain.

I think the title probably says all but today I just really want to talk to you about conduct, I guess is probably the right way to describe it. So, for those of us who have a digital business, for those of us who are in the digital space, we often are connecting and making friends with people all of the time, which is a really beautiful thing and it’s something that if you’ve listened to this podcast before, if you follow me on any of the social media, or you’re in my free group, or email list, or any of that good stuff, you will know that I kind of thrive on that whole community and that friendship and just how much further we can all go when we go together and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

But there is kind of a dark side to this area. And the dark side is where a friendship or a relationship of some sort is abused in terms of one person extracting information from the other that would normally be part of their paid offerings and packages and services. And unfortunately, it is really, really, really common that this will happen. Now I know I’m sat here now and it’s easy for me to sit here in the position that I’m in and say, well, you should pay for that stuff. Not everybody is obviously in that position where they feel comfortable being able to pay for that stuff but also there is a difference in terms of what is acceptable conduct and what isn’t.

And I love, love, love discussing social norms in this kind of arena. Because in truth, we haven’t developed them yet we are so in our infancy as a culture online that we actually haven’t yet been able to create the situations where we know this is acceptable behaviour that doesn’t cause any harm and this is unacceptable behaviour that may cause some harm or distress. So that’s why I really love these conversations, because I just think they are so, so necessary for this stage that we are at in terms of these types of global communities and business communities online.

So I throughout my time, before I got to this stage of business before I was at this point where I feel very comfortable, and I’m happy to invest and I invest frequently. And it’s not a problem, in fact it’s a joy. It’s an absolute joy. I remember being in a stage where I was one of those people that was at the party for the free hors d’oeuvres, I was watching every YouTube video I could find, I was reading blogs, I was downloading people’s freebies, I had a whole email address that was dedicated as a freebie graveyard. And I just I was just doing all of the things and trying really, really hard not to pay for information. In a time when information can be found quite freely on the internet, it felt like it was unnecessary to put my money where my mouth was.

Now, obviously, since then, I know that that is a load of rubbish. And I know that had I’ve just put a little bit of money where my mouth was, I would have excelled and accelerated my business much faster than I did in those first few months whilst I was still learning that lesson for myself and I do feel like most of us go through some sort of version of that where we are in that state where we may not say it out loud and we may not feel good about it because it might be like an actual affordability situation. But we don’t invest and we make a conscious decision that we’re not going to invest. But obviously we don’t kind of wear that badge. We don’t wear the badge that says I will not spend money with you. I will not invest in myself. I’m not at the place yet where I understand my money mindset needs some work.

And you know, we might not like openly say that but we I feel like we’ve all been at some stage of that. And if you’re sat listening now thinking “that’s me” then please don’t think that this is a shaming technique. It is more so a rite of passage, I believe. And this is not really even about what this particular episode is about is worth noting but it’s not really what this episode is about. 

What this episode is mainly about is for those people who absolutely are at a point where they could invest, absolutely at the point where they have worked on their money mindset, and they know they should invest, and they choose to abuse a business relationship on the basis that it is a personal friendship or something similar in order to extract information from another person that should be a paid offering.

Now, if you’re the type of person who does discovery calls, then you may have had discovery calls, where you can recognise this, and I have this, I have a list of people who have done this to me, who I do not entertain anymore in terms of time. And I know that probably seems quite harsh but once you get to this stage of business, you really truly have to understand people who you can help. And you have to triple down on supporting those people. And the people who are not ready for you to help them in any way, then obviously, offer some free resources like a podcast, for instance, you might have a podcast or a newsletter, or a blog, or you may guest write for other people, you may do free talks, or you may have a free group where they can be a part of or any of those amazing things. But you do need to know the people that you can help and the people that you can’t help.

Now, there are people who will absolutely, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not intentionally, absolutely take you for everything and give you nothing in return. They’re the people who will continually ask to go on discovery calls with you, and then ask you inappropriate questions that really should be about whatever the thing is that you’re doing is actually about. So for me, somebody coming on a discovery call and instead of explaining to me what their goals are, who their ideal client is, or what it is they’re struggling with, in terms of their visibility and strategy, they may come on and ask me to teach them how to do something on Instagram or ask me to tell them what kind of language they should be using in their captions, or what hashtags they should be used in those types of things.

Those are the types of questions that get answered when you are in a working relationship and they’re also the type of questions so if they’re done right can’t be answered off the top of your head because there has to be some research done beforehand. And it’s just a situation whereby you need to really understand who those people are, why they’re there, and how much energy you are giving to that particular circle of people. Because for those people who can invest, for those people who don’t have a shoddy money mindset, for those people who are expecting other people to invest in them, as well, which is the kicker for them to slide into your direct messages and suggest information that you have worked for, that you’ve invested in yourself to gain, that you have learned or done the work. It’s like trying to steal your notes in class, or having somebody else write your homework essay for you. And it’s just not cool.

And more importantly, this is something that I think we all need to be aware of, because if we were all aware of it from our own point of view, or if we all looked at our own behaviour, rather than looking outwardly and judging other people, which is never good, because we never know the full story. And also, it’s just not good for you, it’s not good for you as a person to be in that space and that energy. But if we took a commitment to actually say, I am going to look at my behaviour, and I am going to make a conscious decision that when I expect something, I’m going to attempt to pay for it, if I’m going to try and get something I’m going to be willing to invest in it.

Now. I know for me a couple of years ago, there were some amazing business friends of mine, that when I was at the point that I could invest with them, I was like, hey, I need this, I need help. I know you know this, so let me buy this from you. They were like no girl, not a chance, like, I will do that for you, or I will support you with that or let’s jump on a Zoom and I’ll show you how to do that. And I felt a bit awkward at the time. But then in hindsight, I realised that that was an offering that was a genuine offering, because I had come across and I would have totally paid for their service. They knew that I wasn’t doing that and they were like, I will help you and I will support you. And it was just a really lovely thing.

So if you ever have a situation where you have that and you actually have a close personal relationship with somebody and you want to support them, I’m not suggesting that you’re like, nope, sorry everybody pays. You decide like that is your decision. But what I would suggest is that from our own perspective, we don’t automatically slide into other people’s direct messages or emails expecting to get answers that other people are having to pay for or being entitled to an immediate response or trying to manipulate a relationship in order to gain information that will serve you in any way.  Because it’s just not the right way to go around things. And you may be looking at your behaviour now and thinking, well, Dawnie, I have never done that. And if you haven’t, then that’s really cool. But I know myself, when I first started out, I know that I was really, really, really digging as much as I possibly could to find out as much as I could for free. And everybody has been in that space. I like to think that now we’ve gotten to a situation where that just doesn’t happen. If there’s any kind of investment that needs to occur, we’ll invest. And that’s something that you absolutely should do.

You absolutely should not expect that somebody is just going to hand over the answers to you, because your friends on Facebook, for instance. So let’s have a little think about the impact that we have on the other person when we are in the harmless pursuit of picking somebody’s brains. And I love that same because it’s just oh, well, I’ve got you I just want to pick your brain. Oh, can I just ask this question about this thing whilst I’ve got your attention? Or even more shamelessly than that, just like, hey, Dawnie, what about this, this and this? Or what was it that you did to do this, this and this?

When I had one of my first businesses, and we were creating products, now it’s commonplace, the things we were creating, we were hand foiling prints and hand making goods. And it’s quite like common now on Instagram, you’ll find lots of print companies doing the same thing. But when we first started, it was relatively new, like I felt like a bit of a crusader in that particular area of business. And we would get messages all the time. Dawn what foil are you using, Dawn, are you hand foiling, Dawn what do you do with this machine? Dawn can you send me how to do this, this and this. And it always felt just a little bit like somebody was stealing your notes in class, like it just felt like I’ve done all of this work, I’ve done all of this research, I’ve figured this out by myself and now everybody wants to come and tap my brain for the quick and easy answers.

And that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be kind and we shouldn’t be helpful and we shouldn’t be giving value. Because we all know that those things are incredibly, they’re just incredibly lifting for the whole community, they do so much good that they should never be ignored and I think we all get a lot of joy out of supporting people as well. But do have a good understanding over what it’s like if somebody is trying to pick your brains, there’s not a lot of brains to go around. So don’t let people pick at your brain and take away those amazing thoughts that you have come up with, that you have thought through, that you have invested in to find out yourself in time and money and just be really clear on your boundaries. And let’s not ourselves, allow ourselves to fall into the trap where we just tap into a friendship or a relationship to “pick someone’s brain”. I’m using air quotes. You can’t see me but I’m sat here air quoting at my microphone.


So that’s a really good thing for us to consider and I hope it has been thought provoking and I really hope that whatever you’re doing today, you’ll have a fabulous day and until next time, I will see you soon.


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