Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Wants a Cut From Setups

DEAR HARRIETTE: I know a lot of people. As a result, I’ve noticed people contact me all the time to put them in touch with others. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but then I noticed a couple of these frequent callers are actually booking people for appearances on TV or for speaking engagements. It seems like everybody is getting paid except me. How can I leverage my relationships so I get a piece of the action? -- Making Connections, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MAKING CONNECTIONS: Consider starting a business where you claim what you already do -- that you make connections. Figure out a price structure that works based upon a range of factors. For example, putting people together who start a business together may have a different value than someone who speaks at a senior center. Consider what the budgets are that may be available for different situations. Do your research to see what others are paid who offer this service. I know one woman who requires a 15 percent fee for any connections she makes -- that would be 15 percent of whatever the yield is for that setup. Of course, trust has to figure in because it’s not always easy to know what people earn from these bonds.

Another idea is to become a producer or booker for a media company. Producers are responsible for pitching ideas for segments or episodes, and this includes finding guests who match the topic. If you are a creative thinker with great connections, this could be a fulfilling option for you that doesn’t require you to be an entrepreneur but that does offer you compensation for your reach into the community.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Work & School | Money | Etiquette & Ethics

Acquaintance Hopes for Free Room

DEAR HARRIETTE: Out of the blue I got a call from a guy I went to college with back in the '80s. We were associates back then but friendly enough. He got my number through our college alumni directory and asked if he could come and stay with me for a week. He wants to visit the Big Apple, and he knows I live here. I haven’t called him back yet. I don’t mean to be rude, but I hardly know this guy. I am willing to meet up with him when he’s in town, but I am not comfortable hosting him at my home. What do I say? -- Crossing the Line, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR CROSSING THE LINE: Be kind and direct. Call him back and tell him it’s nice that he is going to have an opportunity to visit New York City. It is also nice that he is looking to reconnect with you after so many years. Offer to meet up with him at a restaurant or cultural activity when he comes to town. Tell him you are sorry, but he will not be able to stay at your home. You don’t have to give a reason. You can just say no.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School