Actually, Talk Isn’t Cheap

Scott Ginsberg, a.k.a. “That Guy with the Nametag,” has some interesting things to say about offering free advice.

I used to allow people to “pick my brain.” For free. For hours at a time. For years. And what I began to notice was, after every session, people walked away excited, inspired and grateful for the time spent together. But then I never saw or heard from then again.
Why? Because they didn’t pay me. And when people don’t pay me, they don’t hear me. Lesson learned: There is a direct correlation between financial investment and probability of execution. Charge enough so people believe the value IN, listen TO and take action UPON what you tell them. What’s your two-hour consulting fee?

I’ll add that there is a time to dispense free advice. It’s called the courting period. And as all rain makers know the courting period can go on for years. Cost of doing business, yada yada yada…
The key is to strike a balance. People with good ideas and the ability to help implement them on the behalf of others deserve to be well compensated for their time.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Never give anything for free. Never. If you do, you will be taken as light weight man or some scammer. My experience tells me that.