Free Interns and 22K Price Tags

I just deleted my request for a free intern, but not because of the great comments. My contact form got flooded by wonderful people offering their time. For that, I’m grateful. I’ve selected a few people and will proceed.

Now, to the other comments/concerns/accusations.

1.) 94 people responded they were interested. Know why? Because they thought it’d be an interesting project that they were into doing, and because they thought it might show them another aspect of what I’m doing.

2.) Free because it’s more of a quick little thing, not because I can’t pay. I guess I could price it out. It’s mostly something that I think will turn into a public project. I was offering my ideas and insights on what we (the interns and I) will do with the info, and then it will open up to others.

3.) Get over the 22K price tag. It’s amazing what this has brought out of people. I’m seeing a lot about you from how the negative folks responded. I have lots of other price tags, too. 10K-30K for a whole month of New Marketing Labs time. See that? You can get plenty more value if you buy my team instead of just a day of me. I could do this all day. It’s what I’ve chosen to charge, not what you have to pay. Pay what you want. It’s called a marketplace. It’s part of MARKETing. Right?

Years and years and years of free stuff shared all the time and folks get a bit worked up over rates. How do you think I afford to do what I do? How do you think I can afford to flit around and visit everyone face to face and spend time at free and inexpensive events, and why do you think I travel away from my family so often? I earn my living. I earn every hour of it. Begrudge me that and I don’t really know what to say.

My last post on price for at least March. : )

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  • http://www.willsloan.com/about/ Will Sloan

    Haha, no way bro. We'll just call it even at that point (and I'd still be taking advantage). :D Here's how pathetic I am. We've had this clunky old 32″ tube TV for over 9 years and we finally spring for a nice, big LCD. I typo'd in my first post – it's actually 46″ of glorious high definition awesomeness. Last night, I found myself thinking, “You know, I bet a 60″ would be even better.” I'm so American.

  • http://colbywg.com Colby Gergen

    Please look closely over my comments again. I also acknowledge it in my response to susanguirleo, but that's besides the point.

    “Could” is not “will”. It is not a definite and is left open to interpretation. Whether it was phrased that way through design or by flow of thought is not the issue. I understood it as, “it could be this…”, or, “it could be that…”, and so on. His post does not negate my point.

    Judging me based upon my status as a college student is taking a short-sighted approach to me, and people in general. I have been working, reading, and learning my ass off, outside of the classroom, to learn and gain experience in social media marketing. In addition to working with student organizations and individual students, I work with clients, for which I am paid, and for which I must deliver results. And no, I do not count “relationships” as a result. Scroll up a few posts, where Danny Brown sums it up perfectly with, “Age means nothing; the ideas make the deal.” Sure, I have a ton to learn. I always will. By simply assuming that all I have is “college experience” and that I “do not have any experience in social media”, you are writing me off because of my age.

    I know I have to prove people my worth. My employers, other students, and organizations I have worked with will attest to my worth. I don't care about LinkedIn recommendations – in my experience, they often do not reflect a person's actual ability, usually because the person asks for them. If you want the stories of people who have found value in my work, I can give you the contact information of plenty people who will attest to it. Why do you think I keep getting jobs? Or students continue to come to me to help them understand social media? I don't claim to be a “guru”, an “expert”, or anything of the sort. I am what I am, and the people I work with have found what I am and what I do valuable enough to spread word to others.

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  • TaylorEllwood

    Price issues bring out entitlement. People want to feel they can afford your time, without really considering all the factors you mentioned. I think you've brought up some good points for consideration.

  • ziwuxun123

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  • http://www.mpoweringu.com Brian Hamlett

    Chris hits a good point that I believe in. To me, education is more valuable than cash. Cash is spent and has to be re-earned day-in and day-out. What you learn stays with you forever and can be used over and over again to generate more and more cash.

    Now, I know that we all need money to live, but sometimes I have to look at the motivators when deciding if I will have a paid/unpaid intern. When money is involved, often the focus becomes on doing what is necessary to earn the paycheck. The “value” shifts from the education/insights to the monetary compensation for the time given. Therefore all your efforts as the one attempting to transfer the value to the intern is completely lost in that they are now concerned with the paycheck. My goal becomes shattered on the rocks and the purpose I originally intended for the role is lost. That's something that you have to weigh for yourself, but it has truly been a concern for me.

    If I may, with my opinion only, offer some advice if you are thinking about offering an unpaid internship:

    Determine and outline what the end result will be of the internship to the prospective individual.

    NOT, just what you will get (and have access to) by working with me, BUT what you will be able to do (and what I will do to help) after you have completed your unpaid internship.

    For instance, I help my interns (and others) launch their own business or secure an employment position that will utilize the very skills they have learned. I provide a “service” of sorts once the internship is complete to close out the engagement. I'm not saying Chris is doing this (just to be sure I state that Chris) but it is a way to help the individual understand where the true value is.

    Hope that helps!

  • http://www.pr-mom.com/ tpompa

    Colby,

    I replied to the comment I noted, that is what I replied to, not all of your comments as a whole. I read through comments and saw yours and replied. On that one comment you talk about it once and you stated that you did not see the past post. However, at this point, it really does not matter, as it feels like we are both beating a dead horse.

    Just to clarify, if you read my comment, I did not speak of you when talking about only having college experience, I was speaking of my view in general.

    I agree with Danny that age does not matter (to a degree.) I have been working since I was 15 years old, I also think that having a degree or not having one does not tell the whole story. All that I stated was that if you are fresh with no experience (nothing to do with age) then you have not yet proved yourself, again I am responding to your post in generalities, not talking about you.

    Then only time I mentioned you, is at the end of the post, to try and illustrate that you are saying you are worth something (which I am not saying you are not), but it also matters what others say, and what you show through your social media presence. LinkedIn is a tool where you can market yourself, so that is why I looked there as others will as well.

  • http://www.justchickflicks.com/home Clarabela

    I don't understand why there is a problem with how much you charge for your services. The companies who hire you obviously don't have a problem with paying you, since they see the value in the services you provide.

    What's the big deal about $22,000 per day. There are super-models walking down runways and getting their picture taken that earn just a much just for being cute.

  • http://www.thechicgeek.com/ The Chic Geek

    There are always going to be negative people, especially when it comes to money. I absolutely commend you for owning your worth, not being ashamed to state it, and not backing down because of the negative noise. In fact, I am thinking you need to raise your rates now. :)

    YOU ROCK!

    Thank you, as ever, for being so incredibly generous.

  • http://twitter.com/realpetermag Peter

    If anything, I think that this example just reinforces that real life meetings have increased in value as a result of social media. It's not like people can't be influenced by you via twitter, blogs, vids etc.

    Social media has turned it all upside down huh. It used to be that people expected to have someone to personal contact with. Than all they wanted was mass produced product and easy accessibility to information. Now, because of social media, they will pay extra to meet someone in real life.

  • http://megustacooking.com/ cyuskoff

    I don't see what the big deal is. The connections you make during internships are invaluable. And, kudos for charging what you're worth.

  • http://twitter.com/mhandy1 Mike Handy

    Intern = development… volunteer isn't its something different. I am volunteering my expertise to a non profit… I intern at an agency. True story one I am being developed actively (and that makes up for the small check) everyday.. one I am giving my talents away. They are very different! Both give me experience and both give me growth… one is guided one is not. CB made a big error in saying intern! Volunteer would have been a more honest summation of the position.

    … Unless CB can share quick development tactics which Im sure many would love to see… including myself!

  • http://twitter.com/deannie Deanna McNeil

    Who is Mike?

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Mike

    If he said volunteer then it would be unguided, correct? It is a guided project as I understand it so then he was correct to say intern.

  • jeffhood

    If you have to miss tucking the kids in at night because your out of town working, it should cost 22k. If 22k pisses people off, I would charge 30k. Those same people never bitch when there favorite actor pulls in 10 million for a film.

    The really great part about a free market economy is the ability to choose what we will charge and the customers ability to choose what they will pay. You give a lot, so you and your family have earned every penny of the 22k.

    I love capitalism,
    Jeff

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Hmmm…

    Check these kids out. Still think they shouldn't have done anything because they hadn't “proved themself”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_child_prod

    LinkedIn is one tool; there are many more. Don't judge a person on their LinkedIn profile as, again, you're simply using a very small boat to fish in a very big sea. For instance, many people are visual creatures, and the fact you don't have an image of you in your public profile may see you passed over for a lot of opportunities.

  • http://biggercapital.com/blog Michael Bigger

    Chris,

    You are more than generous will all the free stuff. If someone is willing to pay 22k, well that is because you think you are worth it!

    This is America, and capitalism has not been banned yet! Long live capitalism.

  • http://www.pr-mom.com/ tpompa

    Danny,

    I see your point, although, these are rare cases. And in essence they did prove what they can do by their actions, they graduated from high school at 15 because of their hard work, these things are documented in history because of what they proved.

    I am not saying that someone should not try to do things because they have not proved themselves, where did I say that?

    I agree that there are many more tools. My point, is that anyone can announce their worth, there are tons of people online that announce their worth and how much they know on a constant basis, but they are BS, and have been called out for stealing others material, etc. I am just stating that when you don't have that track record yet, that becoming an intern can help with gaining not only the experience, but also the recommendations and the connections, such as others recommending you.

    Colby stated that internships were a rip off, so that is what my response was related to. I am not saying that you should not believe in yourself and push yourself forward and know your worth. However, in this time, with everyone professing what they can do, it helps to have other people to be able to attest to what you can do as well. Also, I was not judging him, just trying to make a point of what was said vs. what may appear to others. You can see I clarified this above as well.

    Therese

    Also, please let me know what profile I don't have an image on. I have an image on LinkedIn?

    Therese

  • http://colbywg.com Colby Gergen

    I never stated that internships are worthless. I stated that free, or information sharing, internships are b.s. In fact, internships can be extremely valuable on many different levels. For instance, many students question whether they would like to work for an agency or a corporation following graduation. An internship at one, or both, can provide valuable insight on what it would be like to work in that culture, without a long-term commitment to something one may or may not like.

    This may be cheesy (like Colby! ugh), but the saying, “don't judge a book by it's cover”, seems especially relevant here. There are plenty of books that have *fantastic* reviews on the back cover, but halfway through reading, the reader is left thinking, “wtf? This is nothing like I thought it would be.” – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

    Also, just to cut through some of the bullshit, you very clearly were judging me when using the LinkedIn comparison. But honestly, that doesn't bother me. Everyone is judged. Everyone judges. Shit happens and people move on. Your judgments of me only matter to the extent to which I let them matter. The “no one is attesting to your worth, so this is where the value is in what others say about you.” pot-shot, and subsequent attempt to relate me to self-proclaimed SM gurus, were unwarranted personal attacks. It's very clear to me that you don't respect me or my opinions, most likely based on circumstantial things such as my age or number of LinkedIn recommendations. It's difficult to respect the personal attacks of someone who places such weight behind such trivial things.

    I'm done with posting comments in this thread (well, I say that now). If you wish to continue our discussion, you can reach out to me through e-mail (colbywg at gmail dot com) or Skype (colbywg).

  • http://colbywg.com Colby Gergen

    And I can give education to you, too.

    You make it sound as if you have nothing else to learn. That I, the lowly college student, could not possibly teach you anything. Underestimation at it's finest.

    Might there be a difference in the educational flow? Sure, that's why you make the 22k and maybe I make about $12/hr.

    But really, the numbers aren't what matters. It's that this model overlooks the fact that everyone has something to contribute, everyone brings their own unique brand of knowledge to the table.

  • Kat Brogan

    Consider Chris's personality and his entire work ethic/history
    now
    has it *ever* seemed like he'd want to use someone?
    as a grunt?
    that he doesn't take every opportunity to teach/grow/help others?
    if that's your lens
    you might want to focus it a little
    It's showing a not so nice person at the camera

    One thing Chris may have forgotten to mention
    and it happens
    different time zones over work and being trashed
    *shrug*
    it causes memory gaps

    If he put up a salary position
    every single person on the planet would want it
    the motivation of $$ would block out the folks who are passionate about this all
    it's a filter
    only people who were driven to be a part of it would approach him
    He talked about this with me. It's not out of anyone's ass

    Chris isn't cheap. As in he doesn't treat people cheaply.
    He values people more than most
    very much more than your comment respects him.
    Though it's really not your business
    The person who works will Chris will not go away with empty pockets.
    But damn it, that's really not your business.

    All professions can be acting.
    Not everyone in those professions are liars.
    This is grade 6 math logic isn't it?

    and quit nitpicking about deleting vs. pulled etc.
    It's a lame argument and you know it
    be polite!

  • Kat Brogan

    people
    if you think living in a 950 sqf loft with 2 kids
    and driving a saturn as your only vehicle
    are signs of living the life?
    you've got to be kidding me.
    you don't know the math
    how it balances out.
    that 22k does NOT = 22K

    we're trying to save for a house
    are you begrudging him that too?
    There's a family behind this man.
    There's children who adore him and miss him when he is gone.
    *That's* who he is motivated by
    So that in a short time he'll be home a lot more
    and we'll have a house.
    If that's a problem and a bad thing?
    I'm not even sure why he puts himself out there :(

  • lauraroeder

    Since a public discussion has already been started here about unpaid interns I guess this is as good a place as any to share my POV.

    I have not and will not use unpaid interns in my business, and I encourage other businesses to do the same. My perspective is that unpaid interns support a system of only rewarding those born into privilege – ie a financial situation that allows them to not have a paid job. Yes, someone who is working full time could do an unpaid internship of one hour a week – but when you get to part time or full time you're really pushing things. There are already SO MANY opportunities out of reach to those who haven't been born lucky, I don't really want to add another one to the pot. Also, I don't understand how internships weasel around minimum wage, I think minimum wage exists for a very good reason. If you aren't sure how much to pay someone, just pay a very low flat rate – ANYTHING is better than nothing in my opinion.

  • Networkaegis

    First off I would like to address the unpaid internship that Chris offered. If you are a college student going for a communications or PR degree there simply isn't a better opportunity on the planet than being able to put an internship with Chris Brogan on your resume. Ask yourself what is the dollar value of that line to your career.

    Secondly Laura how does an unpaid internship equate to only being for the privileged? I am far from wealthy but if this was an opportunity my daughter was interested in I would sell a kidney to make it happen. I doubt she would be able to live in the nicest of apartments or even have cable TV but I am quite sure that she would get it done that is who she is.

    You are dead on when you say that things are easier for family's with money but they sure as hell aren't closed off to us without. It just means the family has to cut corners to make an internship or a trip to Europe happen. I never want my daughter or son to think they don't have access to success. To our family it just means after we say sure you can do that we have to figure out how we are going to make it happen.

    If things could be different you can bet that I would prefer them to be. However I truly believe that my children are learning life skills that give them privileges that rich kids will never get.

  • martinkronicle

    Chris, I am grateful for your insight, wisdom, and Trust Agents. I hope you can double your daily rate in the near future.

    Some of the feedback I've read here seems judgmental and biased. You give an enormous amount of value away for free. Should your daily rate or juxtaposing of terms turn-off some folks and get them to stop following your feeds or opt-out of your email list, let them go. And don't be apologetic…

    From my humble perspective, you should have been given the benefit of the doubt.

    You don't need these types of readers nor should you try to appease them.

  • http://www.good-webhosting.com/ Rina

    I think that it's amazing that you can charge that much. I would absolutely pay it. Great Post. Absolute FANTASTIC!!

  • http://www.good-webhosting.com/ Rina

    I think that it's amazing that you can charge that much. I would absolutely pay it. Great Post. Absolute FANTASTIC!!

  • Pingback: I’ve Seen @chrisbrogan Naked. | Interactive Design and User Experience Blog from Zemoga

  • http://twitter.com/edkless edkless

    I could write a book here (a friend of mine has), but I will try to keep this as succinct as possible.

    Chris (and probably most everyone else reading this), you are a knowledge worker. No one, and I mean no one, pays you for your time, but rather your knowledge. The belief that time = money is a derivative of Karl Marx' Labor Theory of Value. This theory was fully discredited in 1991 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Even Marx in his later writings recognized the failings of this theory. Billing by the hour (or any time unit) is practicing Marxism.

    As a senior fellow at the VeraSage Institute (we have nothing to sell), it is our mission to eliminate the billable hour and the time sheet from ALL professional firms. It is evil and must be destroyed. http://www.verasage.com

  • mikehandy

    I thought I was polite… I am sorry if I came across as rude or snarky.

    My only question here is how does less than an hour a week translate into development? I think its a fair question, I also think it would make a great blog… or better yet sell it… if Chris wrote a book on speed development I would be the first in line to buy it.

    I don't presume to think he is a utilitarian as I may have implied. I also consider that he had 94 people respond on their own accord. That speaks volumes for them and the Chris as a person. However it still doesn't change the speed development question. I really really really really would love an insight into that management philosophy because I think there is probably something of substance to it! If the position is really about volunteering than that's ok and totally within his rights. I don't take issue with Chris's pay, I don't take issue with having interns that aren't fiscally compensated on the spot… its really just the development question that has me perplexed.

    Again I am very sorry if I came across as rude or cutting to be cutting… It bothers me a great deal that I communicated myself in that light.

  • http://makethelogobigger.blogspot.com/ mtlb

    At the end of the day, people should charge whatever they want. Whether a client will/won't pay is another issue. To Chris’ point, what he charges shouldn’t affect what others charge.

  • Pingback: Chris Brogan, Day Rates, and Value | Independent Thinking

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  • http://twitter.com/rebeccawoodhead Rebecca Woodhead

    This must be hard for the family. Take care.

  • JenInBoston

    Call me cynical and jaded, but having hung around with some very rich folks, and having never been rich myself, I feel that my kid is learning life skills that rich kids neither have nor need, and that the privileges of tough times are often imaginary. For every rags-to-riches tale, there are 1,000 overpaid sons of the rich at Goldman Sachs, despite that at birth, the kids who start off poor outnumber by 1,000s-to-1 the kids who start off rich.

    If one is from the middle class, then scrimping and sacrificing can probably make a trip to Europe or an unpaid internship feasible. But if you are from the working class (and in fact, more Americans are working class than are middle class…we just all SAY we're middle class), it's quite unlikely that scrimping would suffice. If an even one-hour-a-week internship conflicted with an inflexible work schedule of a poor student, chances are s/he just wouldn't be able to do it. There are millions of families whose discretionary income is measured in tens of dollars a month, certainly not hundreds or thousands, or who just have no income at all that can be re-allocated to another need. Granted, the percentage of kids in these families that manage to complete a 4-year degree is very low to begin with (73% of ALL Americans don't get a degree, let alone among the poorer), but that's part of the point… Oh, there I got all long again. :-) I guess like others, I feel it was the juxtaposition, more than anything, that rubbed a nerve.

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  • http://www.yuregininsesi.com/ yuregininsesi

    First off I would like to address the unpaid internship that Chris offered. If you are a college student going for a communications or PR degree there simply isn't a better opportunity on the planet than being able to put an internship with Chris Brogan on your resume. Ask yourself what is the dollar value of that line to your career.

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