You may feel reluctant to pay professional advice fees but know that it may save you time and money and take you directly to your end goal

Learning never exhausts the mind.”  (Leonard da Vinci)

Lawyers. Nutritionists. Coaches. Mediators. Why should you pay for professional advice? With so many things in life to invest on or spend money on, paying for advice feels like too much. But here is the thing, when you pay for professional advice you can expect to receive a comprehensive view of the situation as it stands as well as all of the options available that could or could not work for you. The opinion is given taking into consideration your particular case, needs, and interests, which can’t really be assessed on a friendly quick conversation with that friend expert of yours. It can be a very important learning opportunity for you. Receiving professional advice will usually save you time and money and take you directly to your end goal.

I was motivated to write this post after my conversation with a couple of friends last week who really need the advice of a professional right now in their lives but are reluctant to pay for it. Believe me, I once felt that way too until it all changed. I had a business in partnership with a long-time friend. The business grew fast and steady. I had worked really hard in building that business but I just was not for me. When I decided to leave the partnership I was told, not once, twice, to discuss my leaving with an attorney and learn what my buy-out should be. However, I didn’t want to pay for the attorney’s hourly fee, at $450/hour? “too high” I said. I believed I could figure something out that would work for both of us. I wanted the dissolution of the partnership to be amicable so I suggested a low number that I was pretty sure she would be ok with, which she quickly accepted. There were no disagreements or arguments from her part but few days later I was upset feeling that I had gotten the cheaper end of the bargain. Do you know the worst of all? I could not even complain because, that’s right, I was the one who made the offer in the first place. If I had just consulted with a business attorney… Lesson learned? Hmmm, not so fast…

A year down the road I was talking to an attorney friend about a new venture when he suggested I should talk to a CPA friend of his, who was apparently strong at helping small business owners to make the best financial decisions for their businesses without over or underpaying taxes. I again tried to brush it off. This time he convinced me to see the specialist. I cannot stress enough here that it was a life-changing event for me. I will not bother you with the details. Suffice to say that I saved a lot of money at the end of the year and learned to invest too. Lesson learned? You bet! We still work with the CPA – business and personal taxes, and I now consult with a specialist on a regular basis, just like I see my doctor for a physical or my dentist for regular cleanings.

With so many online services and information in the cyberworld one may feel compelled to venture on your own and find solutions to everything. Those services, sites and blogs can be good and comprehensive to some extent, however, they are not tailored for your particular individual needs, interests and goals. There is just so much that software can do for you. Talking to a live professional proves to be highly beneficial as they offer their expertise, skills and knowledge while walking you through the process from start to finish. They will discuss case scenarios you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Lastly, they can offer you advice on how to save money, time and energy, how to be more efficient, effective and proactive in achieving your end goal.

Online legal services for example, can help you create wills and trusts, or open and close a business for lower fees. However, a real lawyer will walk you through the process of not only opening and closing but also managing your new business and what you should be prepared for. Lawyers will also help you understand the legal process of creating and tapping into wills and trusts, estate sales. Advising with an attorney will educate you as to what are the laws and options, as well as to save you from headaches and thousands of dollars down the road.

Accountants and CPAs will be able to offer suggestions on where and how you can save money, which deductions to apply, how to avoid red flags, something online tax software can only do to an extent. A nutritionist can help you figure out the best way to achieve the results you have been dreaming of by taking into consideration your life style, restrictions, needs and goals. A business consultant or coach can help you improve your brand, develop clear and strong strategies that will take your business from ground zero to new heights.  A mediator will help you communicate your needs and interests more effectively so you can resolve your disagreements in a very satisfactory way. Some conflicts seem to only be resolved via mediation.

I feel very fortunate that there is a lot of good information readily available at our fingertips. But when the decision I am about to make is one that will be with me for years to come, I want to be sure I am making the best decision. So I enlist the advice of a skilled professional.

Find professionals you like and make them a part of your life and business culture.  The relationships you create have the power to last you (and save you money) for years to come.

Do you have any stories of regret for not having hired the advice of a professional? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! We always learn from one another.

Finding yourself trapped in repeated unsuccessful communication with other(s)? Can’t get a word out? It is time to enlist the help of a mediator.  Email me for a consultation.

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