I also want to ask favors from those more successful than me. What is the most polite way to do it? Is it proper to offer some small flat fee for their time, or offer to trade something? Put a time limit on it?
First of all, if you haven't read yesterday's blog with the distinction between favors and business requests, do that first. Again, the answer to this question comes back to are you asking for a favor or is it a business request? Unless someone is a professional coach/mentor, (someone like me who gets paid to teach) you shouldn't have to pay for an advice conversation with someone who is more successful than you. If it's for a project, lots of people do freebies, but you have to create a win/win for them to do it. Why would they want to volunteer their time?
When you write "put a time limit on it," I'm not sure exactly what you mean because you weren't specific about the type of favors you wanted to ask for. When I coach people on getting mentors, I do have them put a time limit on the commitment.
Being "polite" is dependent on the recipient. Some people prefer email, others the phone, still others like to be asked in person over a meal. It depends on who your asking and what you're asking for.
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