Time For A Raise

Talking about how much money you make has been taboo for as long as I can remember. But we live in a different time today. A time of radical transparency. I don’t know if that’s what led social media consultants Mack Collier and Chris Brogan to post their rates, but what drove them to do so isn’t as interesting to me as the rates themselves.
Brogran’s day rate is $22,000.

Can you get $22,000 a day? I don’t know. I can’t charge what Seth Godin charges for a day, or Guy Kawasaki. I charge what I’m worth.
But are you measuring against me? Maybe not a good plan.

If he sounds a bit defensive, it’s because the revelation caused something of a storm on Twitter and elsewhere. For example:
Judging the responses to Brogran’s day rate, Justin Kownacki says, “I see the public’s collective recoil as proof that no one truly believes anybody can make money online without first selling their soul to an affiliate program. Any evidence to the contrary simply blows our synapses.”
My own reaction to the information was one of reflection. Since moving to Portland, I’ve lost several jobs because of price. And my rates are very down-to-earth, let me assure you. When this happens, it’s natural to go even lower in order to land the work and get paid some something. But that might not be the best idea. One of the things Brogran says about his rate is that it helps to define what type of clients he works with. I totally get that, and can see that approach working for me and my peers.

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. First of all, who knows if he really gets that kind of money for his services. Maybe he got it once, maybe he really gets that everytime and maybe he’s full of it. (I choose #3.) I still don’t understand what the guy has does or can find one single case study proving any value.
    But I digress. On the new biz side of my jobs, I’ve done the dance everytime to see what they pain point is. If I don’t want to work with someone, then I tell them a number I know that they can’t afford. If I do want to work with them, we feel each other out. Sure, there is and always will be a “minimum level of investment,” but other than that, just about every situation – and price point can be different.

  2. I said this on another site, but why is anyone surprised or upset about this? Famous people get big-time speaking fees all the time. And large day rates are just a product of supply and demand. The supply is obviously limited (1 Chris) and demand is high (see book sales). Thus, he has a large day rate. Surprise!
    Further, these guys are not the first to post their large speaking/day-rates without a blink. John C. Dvorak has a posted speaking fee of $20,000 on his web site. And David Meerman site in the middle of his own presentation (at least the one I saw) said that he charges a $10,000 speaking fee.
    Supply and demand people. Maybe one day I’ll be that famous. For now my day rate is $5,000 if anybody wants a bargain. 😉
    Bob Knorpp
    Host of The BeanCast
    Posts every Monday @ http://beancast.us

  3. Adam and Spike and most everyone else who dislikes me professionally (we’ve never had beers together) are frustrated because they’re doing great work and not getting the praise they deserve.
    The funny thing about the uproar is this: I’m not setting anyone else’s rate. Charge what you want. Get what you ask for. Who cares?
    What I do on a daily basis is work with companies and individuals on new ways to use these new tools and channels to deliver business. I’ve been at it for some time. I charge for my experience, as well as for execution.
    I don’t get 22k a day every day. Man, I’d love that. Nope, I get it where I can. And I draw a salary from my company. And I have other revenue streams.
    Not yet making f-you money, but hey maybe someday. I mean, I drive a Saturn and live in a loft condo with two kids. : ) Is that glamorous?
    I think what makes people so frustrated, especially Adam and Spike, is that they are working very hard, have some impressive successes under their belt, and some weirdo who’s not even from the marketing world gets press for every little tweet.
    If they’re so convinced that I’m not adding value, then why not ignore me? I’ll just dry up and sail away some day, and they can reclaim their rightful place in the public’s adoring eye. I see so many angry blog posts and tweets about me, and yet, I’m just over here doing my thing.
    Do you know that zero clients bring this stuff up? They have a mix of “I don’t care” and “wow, I’m glad we hired his company and not him directly” (my company charges much less for our deliverables).
    Anyhow, it’s been a fun week.

  4. First, I hate that money discussions are taboo. Sheesh. What a way towards inequality.
    People who create change for the better should have the highest day rates. Go, Chris! Love what you charge and love that you talked about it. Thank you both Chris and David.

  5. I’ve been following the conversation about Chris’ fees with interest (and a healthy dose of “darn, was I kicking puppies in a past life because I don’t make that kind of money.”) Recently I had a client tell me that they were surprised I was “so affordable.” Gulp — sounds like it is time to raise my rates. But if I do, I end up not working with the companies I most enjoy working with — those who are just getting started and who are working through the strategic considerations of their messaging. Then again, if I made that kind of money I would have more time to spend working on the projects I love….hmmm.
    I have assume those who are objecting to those objecting to Chris’ rate are picturing him walking in off the street, getting a check and walking back out again after 8 hours. Even though I have never discussed this with Chris, I can pretty much guarantee there is more to it than this. There’s research and planning, and if he is presenting, there is speech-writing and prep in that department. I once hired Peter Drucker for a speaking engagement. Chris’ rates look low in comparison.
    I do find it somewhat odd that Chris’ firm charges much less than he does because he presumably is part of the firm’s deliverables PLUS you get access to others in the firm too. Why is that?

  6. Man we social-media types sure do like to talk about ourselves. The people that actually buy our services could care a whit about any of this.
    Perspective people, perspective.

  7. Mack
    The people who buy your services will care when their employees ask why people are losing jobs yet management pays “consultants” 22k a day.
    I believe you’ve turned down my offer of a beer down no less than 6 times. If you can get 22k great. But I’d never pay it nor would I advise my clients to pay it. That’s the beauty of the free market.
    The irony in Justin’s comment is that many of these “heavy hitters” work with companies like izea. That’s 10x worse than a traditional affiliate program.

  8. Chris,
    Please don’t mistake my comment as jealousy or wishing that I got more credit or attention. None of those things are true to any extent.
    Also, I’ve never said I dislike you. I just don’t understand – specifically – what you do. I’ve never heard from one of your clients or seen a case study. So I have no idea if you’re addling value or not. You do a helluva job promoting your own brand, I’ll give you that.
    “I don’t get $22K a day every day.” That’s what I was getting at. In previous jobs, I’d land seven-figure clients and then low six-figure clients in the same month. We all know that you can’t get the same $$ on every project. I have a minimum level of engagement, but other than that…it’s a case-by-case basis.
    Chris, I know “being hated” is just helping you build your brand. And again, I don’t dislike you. I think you provide great value to all those other SM folks who aspire to build their brands like you have. I’ll gladly get a beer with you if/when our paths cross, but because of the $$ you claim to be pulling down, you’re buyin’.
    PS – I DO ignore you. But I also read AdPulp, thus the comment. I haven’t even heard about this until David posted it.

  9. Alright, so here’s the deal:
    *Beers for Adam and Spike. I’m buying. Hell, scotch if you like it (I’m a novice scotch appreciator).
    *Spike – I actually rather dislike being hated. I am a really sensitive guy, which comes out when I get all defensive, and then people shit on me for that, too. I wish I were a tough-ass, but I’m not. Does it build my brand? I don’t know. I think it builds the number of people who run to my defense, but what does that serve?
    Adam – you’re at SXSW.
    Spike – are you?
    : )
    And I might not remember to come back, so tweet it. : )

  10. “Mack
    The people who buy your services will care when their employees ask why people are losing jobs yet management pays “consultants” 22k a day. ”
    Adam, the vast majority of the companies that hire me have never heard of any of the ‘name’ people in social media. I know because I ask. That was my point, this is a really huge deal to bloggers and people on Twitter, while the people that are actually writing checks could care a whit about any of it.
    Seems we should follow their example, if you ask me.

  11. That’s me: putting people out of business left and right. Oh, that old silly crumbling economy and decades of poor business practice. That’s just myths.

  12. Come on Mack, people love to talk about money. How much they make in some cases, but mostly how much their peers make, or don’t make. This story playing out here and elsewhere is proof of that.
    Chris, thanks for the beer invite, but alas I can’t afford to attend South By this year.
    As for one’s rates, what hasn’t been said yet is that they’re extremely variable. You fit them to the situation. There will be times in your career when it makes sense to work for free and other times when anything shy of six figures would be an insult.