Recently, I realized that some people who have been participants of some programs charging people as much as ₦25,000 or sometimes more when they ask them to help edit their application letters. I wonder why. The funniest thing is that their editing those applications doesn’t guarantee the person interested a spot in the program, conference or event. Once, I tried to talk to someone who I suspected was involved in this and the person said it was a need being met so it needed to be paid for.

When the person said that, it reminded me of the time when I wanted to make enquiries about a Postgraduate Program. I knew a woman who had just recently finished from one of the schools I had in mind and so I sent a message to help put me through because I was interested in getting my degree in the same school as she. When she responded, she said I was going to pay ₦25,000 before she could answer any questions I wanted her to. My eyes widened in shock. What for? I wondered. She said it was her consultation fees. I left disappointed because ordinarily if I were in her shoes, I would gladly help.

These experiences sound ridiculous to me and they make me wonder: At what point would you say it is okay or ethical to monetize a skill? What kind of skills should be monetized? I understand people who go to the University just like I did, graduate and want to make money from what they learned or yet took time to learn a skill. Even when they don’t have regular or salaried jobs, they use some aspects of their training to earn money for themselves. For example: I could take up a translation gig since I studied French. A nutritionist could create food plans for people.

I don’t understand people who got lucky with something or a process charging people like they are an authority on that field. I also don’t think it is fair to charge someone ridiculously for something you could do freely especially because it is really nothing. Maybe it is just me being humane or being me but I feel very uncomfortable with it. Please what do you think about this? At what point is it ethical or okay to monetize your skills? What kind of skills or information or knowledge should we monetize or sell and how much is fair? Is it okay to monetize skills you acquired for free or trade information you just stumbled upon by chance? What type of consultancy services should we say it’s okay to monetize? How much of an expert do you have to be before you ask people to pay for certain information you have? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section let’s talk about it. What are skills worthy enough to be monetized.

Lillian, a 25 year old young lady just graduated from the University. While waiting for her school to upload their results online so that she can apply for NYSC, she decided to explore her options. Not knowing where to start or how to go about it, she decided to contact Rhoda – a facebook friend who has talked about getting and being a part of such or similar opportunities. She chatted her up on facebook messenger. The following conversation ensued:

Lillian: Hi, my name is Lillian Joseph. I came across your last post on your blog about a training opportunity you were fortunate to be a part of. Please can you tell me more about it and how you were able to gain access to it?

Rhoda: Hello Lillian, Sure. I will send you some links. Go through them. You will find all the information you need to apply for the opportunity. The slot is available now so try and apply as soon as possible so that you’ll stand a chance to be accepted. If you have any more questions or need any help or assistance, please let me know.

Lillian: Thank you very much. You are most kind.

Rhoda sent the link as promised and Lillian went through them and found out that she was qualified. What she needed to do was to write an application letter and attach a short essay that was less than 500 hundred words stating why she felt she deserved a spot in the program. After carefully reading through, understanding and then, following their guidelines, Lillian was able to finally draft her letter and type her essay of about 495 words. Then, she messaged Rhoda.

Lillian: Good afternoon Rhoda. How are you doing today? Thank you very much for those links you sent me. The websites were very helpful. I have written my letter and my essay. Could you send me your email so I can send it to you to help me go through and make corrections?

Rhoda: Hi Lillian, I am fine – thanks for asking. I am glad you’ve gotten this far in this short while, I’m impressed. Now, if you would like me to edit your application letter and essay, that would be ₦25,000 each.

Lillian: ₦50k?????????????????? Just to edit my letter and essay?

Rhoda: Yes. I am sure you are a smart lady. You know how many years people apply for these opportunities and they don’t get it but like I stated in my blog, I only applied once and was shortlisted and I finally took part in the program. Now, I have been able to secure big opportunities and jobs because of that single training I was a part of. Think of what it will do to your CV especially if you are planning to work for international organizations.

Lillian: Yes, I know it really helps. I have read testimonials of people from all over Africa who participated in the program and were able to secure enviable international job opportunities. But please I just graduated. I do not have any money. I have not even gone for youth service please help me. ₦50k is too much for me. I beg you.

Rhoda: I am sorry you don’t have much money. Okay, since it is my birth month, I’ll do it for ₦30k. This is my birthday plus ex-student discount. I have never done this type of favor for anyone before. But honestly, this stuff is actually supposed to cost 100k because of what you stand to gain. You will definitely start up on a six-figure salary when you are done.

Lillian: Oh.. Thank you very much. I get… But please, do you have any inside connect that will guarantee that I’ll be given a spot in the program after you edit the stuff for me?

Rhoda: (LOL) Wait, do you think this stuff is Nigerian? They are Africans but they are not into nepotism or bribery and corruption o. No lobbying is allowed. No “helping”. I am just trying to help improve your chances of getting in by giving you the secrets that helped me, that is all.

Lillian: Hmmmmmm…..  Sis, fear God na.. You are ripping me off without even assurance of a spot. This stuff is not hard. Just to look through and tell me if it is OK or not and tell me what to change. I know if I were in your shoes, I will help someone else o.

Rhoda: You are sounding like this because you do not value what you are about to do. The girl that I wanted to ask about PhD from asked me to pay ₦25k consultation fees. I did not pay because I am not yet serious about doing the program. When I get serious, I will pay.

Lillian: Hmm… My mother has a PhD, she will guide you, and anyone free … It is well.



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