Awkward Financial & Compensation Questions


I’ve been sorting through my email and answering your career questions and issues. Now I’m asking for your advice.

Many of you wonder how I make money as a writer, speaker, and consultant. Very kind and thoughtful people want to know how I’ve monetized my blog. Plenty of readers, peers, and colleagues ask questions like, “Just how much money do you make?”

So here are my answers.

  • Recruitingblogs bought my blog. Here’s the story.
  • I don’t give away my stuff for free.
  • I charge money and send invoices for my time as a consultant, advisor, and blogger.
  • When I do something for free, it’s never for free. There is always value even if others don’t see it.
  • There is no value in publicity. I can generate my own noise.

I earn enough money to keep writing — and I’m also working on books, articles, reality TV pilots, and business models for animal shelters. There you go.

How does that sound? Are those reasonable answers?


Compensation is such a touchy subject. I believe in empowering employees to better understand their value, but sometimes it feels tacky to talk about cash. (Hint: especially when you don’t know the personal in real life.)

When conversations about finances get too personal, I want to respond with my own set of inappropriate questions.

  • How much time do you spend regretting your youth?
  • Why did your first marriage fail?
  • Have you ever considered a vasectomy?
  • Why do you think it’s okay to rock a Tom Selleck mustache when you’re clearly not a superstar?
  • How often do you take a poop?

How do you answer questions about money from family members, coworkers, and strangers? Any tips for me?

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