A follow-up from “Why I’m Charging $200 to Meet You for Lunch” that I released one year ago today.

I haven’t charged anyone $200 for lunch. I don’t want to charge people and consulting is not what I do for a living, anyway. But I’m still overwhelmed by constantly being asked for ”meet-ups” with those: raising capital, looking for new jobs, seeking advice, trying to sell me something, or building connections. If you’re also frustrated by the number of meet-up requests you get, then hopefully this blog will help you figure out how to say “no” more often.

I’ve invested in eight startups, and quite frankly, “Eight is Enough.” (I wish growing businesses was as uplifting as this theme song. Haha!) Truth is: I’m tired, spread thin, worried about my health, and not able to get involved with other people’s business problems. I have enough of my own. I’m also rarely interested in investing in additional startups because again, eight is enough.

Sometimes I Do Say “Yes” to a Meet-up

I’m not a recluse; sometimes I do want to meet-up. Maybe you’re one of my best friends. Maybe my week has opened up and I have found the energy. Maybe I like your style that I think I can really help or relate with. Maybe you can help me in some way. OR maybe I just feel like it.

I’m Not Your Ideal Adviser

Recently, the famous writer Malcolm Gladwell was on my flight from Raleigh to Washington, DC. I observed passengers taking pictures with him and bothering him. He looked uncomfortable. I’m not surprised because Gladwell is a creative writer, not a politician or jovial salesperson. He looked like a fish out of water. Sometimes, I feel the same way when advising people during certain business meet-ups. Why? Well, I‘m not a great listener, I have ADD, I talk too much, and the list goes on! I also become so emotionally involved with the person’s challenge that I put too much passion into it and become agitated and anxious. I wear out them and myself.

Note to Those I’m Ignoring or Saying “No Thanks” To

Dear friend,

Thanks for your note and invitation to meet up. Unfortunately, I can’t meet in the next few weeks. Perhaps my circumstances will change in a month or two, but currently my schedule won’t allow it. I’m wrapped up with other business challenges and feel the need to focus on those. I’m leaving free time to reduce stress and to spend time with my friends and family. I hope you understand because deep down, I really do want to help out. You can call me and leave me a detailed message, but note that there’s a 50-50 chance I’ll call you back with just a quick response. But please read above, “I’m Not Your Ideal Adviser.”

Thanks again for reaching out!

Best of luck,


Steve Jobs once said, “Focusing is about saying ‘no.’” During the past 10 years, I’ve been lousy at saying “no.” So today, I’m trying harder. Because “Eight is enough…to fill our lives with Loooove.”

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