Why I Lose $1,671,120 A Year For My Brand

Have you ever wondered what your personal brand is worth? Or, more importantly, your reputation?

I think it’s priceless because the moment your burn it is the moment your career starts going down the drain.

I’m so picky about my personal brand that I am willing to lose millions of dollars a year because of it. For example, check out this offer I got from an MLM company to be their evangelist:

job proposal

As you can see, I would have gotten paid a million bucks a year for five years just to be an evangelist for this particular MLM company.

That’s $5,000,000 that I turned down… Granted, they could have used and abused my brand for 30 days and cancelled the contract. But assuming they intended to keep paying me, it’s a lot of money… especially considering my cost would have been just my time. All it involved was for me to blog and speak at events about their company. They were even willing to pay for all of my travel costs.

I am sure you can tell from the content I post on Quick Sprout that I didn’t take the offer as I don’t really talk about MLM schemes or companies here.

Now, when I say I lose $1,671,120 a year, I don’t even include offers like the one above. Whether I were rich or broke, I wouldn’t work with a company that tries to make a quick buck off the backs of hard working people. So, I don’t really count that as money lost.

The way I really lose money is by not monetizing Quick Sprout. Let me explain:

Here’s what Quick Sprout earns

Last month this blog generated $39,852. $29,852 came from selling ebooks, and $10,000 came from NeilPatel.com. I know many of you think I do consulting because I pitch consulting services on NeilPatel.com, but I really don’t.

I just collect leads, and I sell them for $10,000 a month. I do this because it helps pay for some of my costs, and I trust Single Grain, the company who buys the leads from me, because they have helped make my business well over a million bucks a year in revenue.

$39,852 may seem like a lot of cash for a blog, but it isn’t. My costs are extremely high. Why? Because I’m producing better quality content than the majority of the blogs out there.

Just take a look at some of the content I am currently spending my money on:

  • Forum – I released the Quick Sprout Traffic & Conversion Forum a few weeks ago. I’ve spent over $10,000 on its development and $50,000 on its promotion. Most of the promotions haven’t gone out yet, but a good example of a forthcoming promotion is a $5,000 dedicated email blast on Web Designer Depot, which should help drive signups. The total cost for the forum, once it is finished, with development and promotion will be around $65,000.
  • The Definitive Guide to Copywriting – this should be coming out in the next 30 days. I spent $4,000 paying a writer to help write what was in my head, and I spent $20,000 getting it designed. The coding of the design will cost $2,500. To convert the design into an interactive PDF will cost $700. That’s $27,200 on one piece of content.
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing – this guide is still being written, but I’ve already paid cash for it. The total cost is exactly the same as the copywriting guide, but it will cost me an extra $2,000 because it is a bit longer. So, the total cost for this guide will be $29,200.
  • Quick Sprout University – within the next 30 days, I am launching Quick Sprout University, which will be an online video school for marketers. Like everything else, the cost to attend will be free. I paid a buddy of mine to produce 100 videos, and I hope to get up to 300 videos. So far the costs of the videos have been $25,000. The cost of creating a custom intro and outro to each video was $5,000. The cost to design the university and the code was $5,300. And the cost to edit and transcribe the 100 videos was $10,000. The total cost for Quick Sprout University that I’ve outlaid has been $45,300.
  • Website Analyzer – the name of this is probably going to change, but I am developing a free marketing software for you to use. To date, if you include design, development, and project management fees, I’ve spent $45,000. Once you include monthly hosting costs and future product development, the cost will probably increase by another $10,000 to $20,000 each month.

If you just calculate what I spent in the last 30 or so days, you’ll see that the number is $211,700. Granted, every month isn’t like this, but my monthly blog income of $39,852 doesn’t even come close to covering my costs.

By no means do I want you to feel sorry for me. I do this because it’s my passion, and Quick Sprout is my spoiled child. Plus, I have to be making enough money outside the blog to cover these expenses… so, I can’t be doing that badly. 😉

What is your brand worth?

On top of spending more money than I should be on this blog, I also don’t monetize it as well as I could. If I really pushed the promotion of the ebook on Quick Sprout, I would generate roughly $179,112 in monthly income. The reason I have such an accurate number is because I can calculate it using traffic and conversion numbers from NeilPatel.com. If I took the traffic that I drive to NeilPatel.com and diverted it to the ebook page with my current conversion rate numbers, the income would go up to $179,112. Sure, it will fluctuate month to month, but it’ll be more or less the same. Two years ago, when I was directing all traffic to the ebook instead of my consulting page, the conversion numbers were very similar to the numbers I am getting today.

The reason I don’t do this is because I don’t want to brand myself as someone who sells ebooks or “get rich quick” schemes, even though that’s not what I am selling.

Not being branded as an ebook guy or having people think I’m a “get rich quick” type of a marketer is worth to me losing the $139,260 in monthly income (I got this number by taking my potential monthly income of $179,112 and subtracting my current monthly income of $39,852 from it).

To me, my brand is worth more than the $139,260 I could be making every month. My brand has helped me raise over $13 million dollars for KISSmetrics as well as generate other countless business deals. And if I ever fail as an entrepreneur, with just a few phone calls, my brand can get me a partner-level job at Microsoft that pays $600,000 a year.


When I first started out as an entrepreneur at the age of sixteen, I was naive. I didn’t think a personal brand could do anything for me or that it could help boost my career if I ever needed it. Once I started to make enough money to no longer worry about the basic necessities of life, that is when I realized the importance of personal branding for my, and everyone else’s, career.

Luckily, I didn’t do anything foolish as a kid to burn my brand. I know now that you should always treat your brand as gold because you can always rely on it in the future.

Never do anything that can hurt your reputation, especially something like burning bridges. Every time you cash a check, think about the consequences because there is no such thing as a free lunch.

So, how do you view your personal brand? You already know I am willing to lose millions of dollars a year for my brand, but would you?

Update: The reason I say there is room for only 1 consulting spot on NeilPatel.com is because I myself do take on 1 client at a time. The rest I pass to Single Grain. Single Grain also isn’t a random company that I am selling leads to. I am an investor in it and helped create and mold its overall strategy.



    • After been without work for 6 months, I started freelancing over this website and with a little effort I easily make around $85 per/h. Now I couldn’t be happier. After 3 months on my new job my monthly income is around $10k. Here’s my source Jobs95.?om

  2. Now I know your preferred e-mail is Gmail. 😀

  3. Frederik Trovatten :

    ” and $10,000 came from NeilPatel.com. I know many of you think I do consulting because I pitch consulting services on NeilPatel.com, but I really don’t.”

    You talk about branding and trust..

    I love your blog and your work, but I also think you’re hurting your brand, by saying one thing: ( “Want 1-1 consulting? Only 1 spot left!!”) and then selling the leads to a 3rd party..

    I might have misunderstood something, if not, then I think your selling yourself short.

    • Yeah X2 on everything you just said……it’s not the fact that it is done, but rather how it’s pitched. Case studies all over this site – so they are basically showcasing the work of others? No comprendo. So it’s basically an affiliate pitch.

    • I have to absolutely agree with this. I love 90% of what you do and give away Neil – but the “1 spot left” thing and reselling leads when it seems like people will work with you seems a little too Internet Markety. You’re successful and know better than most of us what works, but this little slice is a bit of a turnoff

    • Glad I’m not the only one who was a little surprised by this…and not in a good way.

    • Good article but you need to proof read before you publish ????

    • Yep, I just clarified above by updating the post. I myself do take on 1 client at a time as that is all I have time for. The rest I send to Single Grain, which is a firm I partly own.

      • Thanks for the further clarity!

      • Whatever be the justification is…. but 1st time I’m feeling that you’re hiding something from us. You know what my internal feelings are… “Why do anybody will share his/her secret money stream with jokers like us”.

        This post was as awesome as “OSCAR” in the beginning but with the horrible end. It’s better to turn this post off (or at-least this comment), if you don’t want to hurt your loyal audience.

        Nothing can justify war…

      • I’m telling you, this post will make a history (not in a good sense but in terms of lesson learned) and will hit 500+ comments mark.

      • Hmm …… Didn’t know there was 3rd party involved! Still doesn’t bother me as i will do my analysis before hand… Thanks for giving such a valuable content for free

    • Particularly strange as this piece is about personal branding and the site he reveals as basically an affiliate, lead capture site is his own personal brand -neilpatel.com ! Maybe I’ve missed something along the way but it seems a bit off to me, to say the least.

      • Hey Guys

        I am a consultant myself, and It’s impossible for me to take on more than 2 medium size or larger projects on at once as this effects the quality level of the work that I can do and negatively impacts my involvement and hands on service that I provide to my clients.

        Now imagine running what is hands down the best online marketing blog in the world, producing lengthy, super detailed and helpfully content a few times a month, responding to comments, attending conferences and doing speaking /consulting gigs, and running multiple successful companies at once amongst many other things.

        Now are you going to tell me that you could take on more than 1 client at a time? With the amount of leads Neil would get it would be absolutely impossible to work on more than one project directly (in fact I have no idea how he fits all this in at all).

        As you can see from this humbling post, Neil turns down incredible amount of money to stay true to his brand and him self.

        I see nothing wrong with referring other leads to a company he partly owns and trusts to do incredible work (I am in the industry and have heard extremely positive things about Singlegrain) and it’s not like he wouldn’t tell the potential client about the referral, they would be well aware and have the choice to not proceed.

        Just my 2 cents on the situation, as I was surprised by some of the comments made. I can understand some of the sentiment but I just wanted to put things into perspective.

        Thanks guys

        • You big sharks are always there to backup each other…

          “I see nothing wrong with referring other leads to a company”

          It’s like a rape for me, don’t know what you’ve in your mind while typing this?

          • Hey Junaid

            I’m sorry you feel this way, but I want to say I am definitely not a “big shark” I am nowhere near the level of Neil and even I find it impossible to work with all the referrals that I get.

            I was trying to put it into perspective how many leads a massively popular blogger like Neil must get every day and the fact its just not possible to work with even 1-2% of them.

            I think there is nothing wrong with referring a client to someone else that can help them that you trust to do a great job, as long as its clear and everyone involved agrees with it.

            If you send referrals to companies or people that will do a poor job it will ruin your reputation, that’s why I would only do it in a case I know the customer will get fantastic service.

            This is even more important the bigger your reputation, if things are handled in a ethical manner with helps everyone involved then in my opinion its not doing a disservice.

            In fact its getting a client a fantastic result that you can guarantee in place of not being able to help them at all.

            I hope this clears things up.

            Paul Back

            • NO, It will not.

              Have you visited his site neilpatel.com?

              You will find this text (in 22 or more Font Size) on the landing page right at the middle of the page:

              “Using Neil Patel to increase the traffic and revenue to your website is a guaranteed investment.”

              Now what these words reflect. If that doesn’t “seal the deal,” let me know so I can consider a career change!

              • Thanks for the feedback guys. I am either going to adjust the copy to make it much more clearer or I will remove the page all together.

                I really appreciate the words…. whether harsh or kind, they are the truth. And listening will just help me improve.

                • Believe me I love your stuff a lot and you only get those kind of feedbacks from those who love you the most.

                  One thing that I want to mention:

                  When people start using Pronoun instead of Noun then start thinking that there was something terribly wrong. As in your case most of your fans (including me) used the word him/his instead of Neil (-^-)

  4. Hi Neil,

    Loving the insight and transparency and depth you’ve given us. I think that’s also a key part of your brand.

    I know for example when you bring out the copywriting guide this is going to the most comprehensive around, it’s going to be full of stuff you have proven works….just a couple of the things I’ve come to expect from the quicksprout.com brand 🙂

    • Gareth, glad you found the article helpful. I look forward to hearing more from you as more content rolls out. I think having proper feedback always motivates me to do better and bigger things. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you need help with anything 🙂

  5. This is priceless…

    As an 18 year I old started a brand around 6 months ago and what you have just shared has given me a firm perspective of how should i treat my brand. I can always count on it to help in the future and not to ruin it for some quick bucks.

    This was an amazing article Neil. Thanks for sharing the insights.

    • Chirag, that is awesome that at such a young age you were aware of this principle. It often takes people years to understand that principle and your personal brand is the most important thing. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  6. Wow I wish I had that much money to play with! 🙂 But yeah, you’re right, building a personal brand is priceless.

  7. Neil – Thanks for continuously posting awesome content. There is no doubt in my mind that your brand strategy is working. You’re always at the top of our lists of consultants we would like to work with… Keep up the awesome work & thanks for sharing so many great ideas.

    • Carter, glad you find the content helpful. I hope one day we can connect to see if there is a good fit. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or additional feedback 🙂

  8. I only want to say respect for you, because not everyone in life makes his rules and stick to them that nicely and especially when you’r offered a million bucks for that.

    • Hamza, we must all be true to ourselves…even if it costs us a couple bucks here and there. I think that is an essential takeaway I want people to get from this article. Thanks for reading!

  9. OMG! What comes in your company is going out to make your brand much bigger. This is seriously awesome! If a blog earns 1000$, its hard enough to spend more than 200$ on it. Well, we need to seriously think on this again. Awesomeness! Thanks Neil!

    • Satish, thanks for reading. You bring up some great points. It’s all about what you brand provides. You have to stand by your principles and offer products that you believe in.

  10. Good man.

    These MLM companies want to take advantage
    of people none the wiser to the whole program.

    Though these people are somewhat at fault
    because they want to eat their cake without
    doing much work.

    Good man for turning this down!

    • Robert, my points exactly. I truly believe one should place their brand above all else. If you don’t believe in something then you shouldn’t sign on to it. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  11. It’s nice to see you taking a stand for principle, Neil. I’m sure it will only buttress your already strong brand in the long run.

    • Emory, principle is key. I think as marketers we have to really look at ourselves in the mirror and stand buy what we truly believe. Thanks for reading 🙂

  12. Mihai @Temporary Tattoos :

    Hi Neil,

    Great article as usually, thanks for sharing. You are right, personal branding is really important and it has an huge influence on our business.
    I wish you good luck with your new projects!


    • Mihai, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. Personal branding is essential and is often overlooked. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  13. Shivbhadra Gohil :

    Hi Niel,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge and the transperancy. Love reading your posts. Keep it up 🙂

  14. Amazing delivery of content Neil, talking about providing quality value to your audience eh?!

    Definitely my motto for building a brand!

    Keep up the good work man


    • Borja, glad you found the post helpful. Sounds like you are on the right track if thats your motto 🙂 . I look forward to hearing more from you!

  15. Yes, I will strongly recommend your article to my friends. Usually people create their new brands without having any pre-requisites , later on they always get trapped in the problems !!

    As you’ve said “Never do anything that can hurt your reputation”
    But people usually do that and they can’t maintain their brand awareness too !!

    Hats off to your opinion Neil ! Loved it

    • Neha, thanks for sharing. I am humbled by readers who find my content helpful. Reputation is KEY without it you don’t have brand equity which is essential for long term trust and success. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions 🙂

      • Yes Neil, As you’ve said that,
        “Reputation is KEY without it you don’t have brand equity which is essential for long term trust and success. ”
        I agree with that.

  16. Really inspiring and insightful post Neil. This has given me foresight and the audacity to personally put brand building first and to wait for the results later.


  17. David @ Africa Business Opportunities :

    Hey Neil,

    This is a great piece on building your reputation and developing a brand. I am not a fan of MLMs and would have personally been slightly surprised (negatively) if you promoted one.
    Thanks for being honest about maintaining your global business reputation.

    • David, glad I am still in your good graces 🙂 . I think everyone has to be true to themselves. I definitely know I made the right decision. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing more from you!

  18. “I know many of you think I do consulting because I pitch consulting services on NeilPatel.com, but I really don’t.”

    Why do I see Michael Arrington’s face on the right sidebar of every post, then? Just for branding purposes? I thought you had a “dedicated team” who, together with you, worked on increasing other sites’ traffic.

    Great post overall. I’ll be looking forward to your upcoming guides, as well as the launch of the QuickSprout university. 🙂

    • Agree that if you’re going to push your own name that hard and have people vouch for working with YOU as a consultant you should definitely not send all leads to single grain. It would be different if everyone said “Neil’s SEO team helped us increase traffic 30%…” Now I do know that you probably worked on the TechCrunch and ICANHAZCHEEZEBURGER accounts on your own, but if all the testimonials are vouching for you, then you should be the consultant. Love 90% of what you do anyways.

    • Rohit, I placed that there as a case study to show people what great traffic generation can do for brands large and small. Thanks for reading I look forward to hearing your feedback on the QS University 🙂

  19. As always Neil, just an awesome article and demonstration.
    I agree, the brand is. I tend to market too lightly on my French dating advice blog (artdeseduire.com) but I know in the long run, my readers will realise that and it will help the blog.
    ps : i’m really excited you’re going to publish all this new material !

    • Boris, congrats to you for taking the high road. I definitely think it will pay off. I look forward to hearing some feedback from you with all the new material I will be pumping out. Thanks for reading!

  20. I think personally branding will be increasingly important in the future. I’m glad you didn’t sell out yours. I trust people more than companies. I trust Neil Patel. I don’t trust QuickSprout. Great stuff as usual!

    • Donnie, you bring up a great point. People are real entities that have personalities and are integral parts of any community. Companies are just money making machines.

  21. Awesome post, Neil! I am glad you didn’t sell out to the MLM company. I would have been surprised if you did promote them actually.

    You raise the bar for free content and it does make it hard for the rest of us. But I think it’s a good thing because I know it “ups my game” for content creation.

    • Adam, glad you enjoyed the article. I had to be true to myself and I think thats what all brands should aspire to be. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  22. Great post as usual Neil! I’m doing this with my personal brand so that my audience is comfortable with me and builds trust.

  23. Neil,

    I’m not into MLM but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like these big MLM companies and the industry in general is run by folks who use folks for money instead of vice-versa.

    My hat off to you for turning down the offer!

    It looks like you’re investing a ton of money to sustain and grow your personal brand… it’s something I also do… I’ve paid $5,000 for a design from scratch for my HWA blog… and have my SEO and link building team that gets a nice check from me.

    Also, I invest in research to find products worth building sites on… have a dedicated team that finds new products on a weekly basis (some items are not even released yet, but I’m smart enough to build sites around those buying terms and run with the traffic once the Internet world searches for them…)


    • John, sounds like you are doing an amazing job from the looks of it. I think you have the same mentality as I do. It’s about building trust and not making a cheap buck now only to regret it later. A personal brand this is stellar can do wonders for long term success. I think respect amongst your community is key 🙂

  24. Neil, I feel proud that your whole analysis is backed by data. I make it a point to read your content as it provides me with a new insight every day. Great work like renaissance era work.

    • Thanks for the kind words. I think data is essential to prove your worth and to legitimize your work. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  25. I’m really impressed how I was able to talk to you on the phone when signing up for the quicksprout. We all can tell your very busy but to offer 1on1 time really gave me insight on how to manage time to give customers personal attention. A great touch for someone who has so much going on. Respect!

    • Kenneth, glad we got to set up some time to speak. I try to do anything I can to help people get to where I am at. I know the road is tough but with some help we can all achieve great things. Thanks for reading!

  26. Jonathan Holborn :

    I appriciate your brand very much Neil. Your sharing about how you guard it is invaluable. I see you more as a role role-model than an answer guy. It goes to show that legacy will carry on and keep atrracting wealth than a “media stunt” or ruse can ever accomplish for fast cash – it leaves one all alone.

    Your brand rallies us together with you and to identify with your passion. I admire that and want to do the same. Keep leading the way!

    • Jonathan, thanks for the kind words. I think if I do the right thing by remaining true to myself the brand will speak for itself. Often times people try to be what they are not and it’s very obvious for others to catch on to. The goal is to inspire others and to build trust within your community. Thanks for reading!

  27. The Franchise King® :

    Great post, Neil.

    I turn down things (Not $million things…yet) all the time.

    MLM people try to entice me to help them… a lot.

    Since my focus is franchising, I get a lot of less than stellar brands try to offer me money to put their ads up on my main site. I turn them down, without a moment’s hesitation.

    Like you, Neil, I could be making more money. I’m very careful. I’m careful who I associate with-online and offline. I’m careful where I provide content. The brand that I’ve created is way more important than short-term financial gains that I would regret only hours after agreeing to move forward with some of these silly offers from silly, and quite frankly, less than ethical people that I get approached by.

    I follow you…I purchase your products, because you are credible. You do what you say you’ll do, and you walk the walk.

    Thanks, Neil! I’ve learned so much from you.

    The Franchise King®

    • Awesome! I love hearing stories like this. It’s often better to lose out on some opportunities than to make a cheap buck that might ruin you in the long term. I love what you have done and I encourage you to keep up this mentality. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any additional questions 🙂

  28. That was an interesting move, Neil. Usually bloggers exhibit their incomes to motivate their readers to follow their footprints to reach the same success and the same $$. And you did something different 🙂 You exhibit your losses to motivate others or at least to keep them interested in you and your brand. Not sure that you will have many followers who will want to loose a million bucks a year like you, but it is what makes difference between those who play big and others.

    • Michael, you bring up a great point. I think rather than boasting about what we have earned we should help others learn from our mistakes and take hints from our successes. I think that is what truly inspires people to want to do big things. Thanks for reading 🙂

  29. My personal brand is the most priced possession I have. Most important than a business brand or anything else. Very hard to build up and really easy to lose so you need to take care of it and nurture it like a relationship.

    I didn’t know you had all those projects, it’s very respectable that you put your audience ahead of the extra $$$ you could be making.


    • Amir, keep up the great work! It’s very important to maintain brand integrity. Without your personal brand you really can’t achieve great success.

  30. Many things i learned from this post.

    1. Working for self is what to be Proud of.
    2. Branding Self can comes with consequences but it always gives satisfaction of what i have Gain afterward.
    3. Neil, Finally i am seeing Bhagavad Gita’s “do your work properly and never worry about the fruit”.

    Finally Inspired .

    • Shaygan, thanks for outlining these key points. I agree completely, I think the quote really sums up the concept of confidence and hard work 🙂

  31. Someday I hope to emulate your standards and I must commend you for giving back so much to your loyal subscribers. Can’t wait for the launch of your Quick Sprout University. Thanks for all your insight.

    • Mellie, glad you found the blog so helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or further feedback. I would love to hear it 🙂

  32. Today I got a lesson by reading this article. I was hurting my brand so much. Thanks Neil for an eye opening article.

  33. Great article as always! These are a must read for people new to SEO and trying to make a living via the internet. I pass all of your emails along to friends to try to spread the word. I have started to use your advice from the first email I received and it has been exciting! Keep up the good work!

    • Nick, thanks for sharing my articles. It is really humbling to know that my blogs are read by such a wide array of people. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know 🙂

  34. Neil, I have been a lurker on your blog for some time and try to always read your posts when I get an email informing me of a new post. As always a very candid post and you continue to build trust with your blog. I can’t remember how I first found you, but I am glad I did.

    • Jason, thanks for the kind words. I try to be as transparent as possible when writing these blogs. If I can help one person out, why not?!

  35. The way you talk, it looks like the current people you work for are making millions on your back too, but you are doing it with such a passion, which is the key point here and I respect you for this a lot. Keep inspire me and all of us, because we need it. Respect!

    • Jordan, great point. Passion is KEY. It’s all about doing something you love and helping other people get to where you are. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any additional questions or feedback 🙂

      • I am a starting enterpreneur, and every post of you, really inspires me, but your tempo is too high 🙂 All of my life i was doing things with great passion, but it looks like I’ve picked the wrong side, so I am considering of starting to work for me finally and you are a in big help. Keep doing your great articles!

  36. Inspiring article, Neil, thanks for sharing!

  37. Neil, you are one of the best examples of both generous giving AND quality content out there. I also appreciate the way you keep working to elevate the internet marketing industry, and keep it from sliding down to be just a money-grab and “screw the customer and run” approach.

    Marketing has been changing so much that it is so nice that you keep up with it all and pass on what you have spent so much time and money to learn and master.

    Keep it coming, my friend!!

    • Richard, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I think its all about giving back to your community. If it’s a community of bloggers that are concerned with the newest marketing trends. What goes around comes around :). I am satisfied with the great feedback I get from my readers 🙂

  38. Neil, you guys over deliver every time. I would love to hear how you measure the freemium offerings versus if you charged for everything you gave us.

    I bought your QS traffic system. Hands down the best out there. I guess I’ve been around so many darn offers in the past few years that I am waiting for the other shoe to drop here when you give us all this free stuff. I guess being in the internet marketing arena puts you on the defensive because there is so much crap out there.

    If you ever consider licensing your guides, put me on your distribution list for consideration. I believe these are worth what we put into it. You sell your course for $147 say but I make $1800 within the first week of investment.

    I used the Advanced Guide to Link Building and sent traffic to our Amazon listing pages, we doubled four listings and two that NEVER got any sales started getting three sales a week. That’s results.

    Even if it’s small. If you setup a page for testimonials for the advanced guides since you don’t ask for money, I wiould be happy to post there or your Facebook page.

    Thanks again. But please stop the free stuff and start charging money.

    • Hello Mike – I have been contemplating on investing into QS too. But I just did not know if the time was right as my site still needs some basic SEO stuff done. Was wondering if you could help a fellow ecommerce site owner? When did you invest in QS? Or a more appropriate question might be – In your perception, do you think QS help you increased leads, sales and conversions after you invested in basic SEO work or in parallel. Appreciate you taking time to respond. Thanks.

    • Wanner, I love the feedback. It really helps me understand how I can better help out the community. I really tried to offer a quality product when I thought about the Traffic Guide. I will definitely keep you in mind if I ever license the guides. For now I intend to keep them free to the public 🙂 Awesome that you saw such tremendous results through the guide. Please let me know how else I can help 🙂

  39. I would trade 1m for 13m any time. Even if that’s interest of all the money you have made, it is by far more than many put in their communities. I appreciate all you do Neil, always inspired.

    Let me know if you’d like another tester for those projects 😀

    • Lenny, glad we think the same way. If you can help others out, why not!? I will definitely let you know if I need any testers in the future 🙂

  40. Wow, your work is outstanding Neil. I have the same opinion as you when it comes to building a brand. Although I am just starting out seriously in the online business, I hope to at least reach 10% of your success in the future. I have learned a lot over the past several years by reading various books and blogs on the Internet, and now think I am ready to do this. Thanks for inspiration.

    • Denis, it definitely sounds like you are on the right path. It’s all about building trust and a community around your ideas. Just keep at it, the sky is the limit 🙂

  41. Free is definitely a strategy that could be helpful in the long run. Not only are you strengthening your brand but I’m sure initially offering GREAT stuff for free has built your reputation and brand up to the point where you can charge without a problem. A very smart and commendable strategy.

    I won’t lie, I’m very jealous of all those dollar figures you threw out in this article. 600K per year working for one of the most famous companies in the world is your back up plan – wow!

    • Michael, I think offering free strategies and ideas is the best way to build good will. You really want to focus on what helps the greatest amount of people out. When you help others you help yourself because the opportunity will arise where those you have helped will have something to offer you. Thanks for reading!

      • This is absolutely true. If you haven’t experienced it yet Michael… Go with what Neil has said and watch it come back to you 10 fold.
        Funny how it always works out in some way, shape or form to be better for you than you were for them…


  42. I loved your blog post. It was referred to me by a colleague of yours who is familiar with my work, too. As a former lawyer who is now the CEO of a personal branding company, I so appreciate you bringing this concept to light and quantifying the impacts- all around. I’d love to talk more!

    • Katy, glad we could connect. Personal branding is very important for any industry–especially lawyers. I understand the aches and pains of quantifying how well your brand is doing all too well myself. Shoot me an email so we can discuss sometime 🙂

  43. The brand is tantamount to everything else. I have learned this the hard way… and the easy way.

    Hard: Screw up and watch people look sideways at you as you try and “explain” your way out of it.(No Chance)

    Easy: Do the great job you know you were going to do anyways when you took the assignment/contract/job/opportunity and watch your referrals come pouring in as well as the respect and honorable mentions.

    ‘Well deserved’ is the best comment someone can give you on any accolade or success… When you manage your brand, success is always well deserved…

    So Neil… I have to say… Well Deserved, my friend. Well Deserved indeed

    • Matt, thanks for the kind words. I really like how you broke down everything between hard and easy. I must say it’s very accurate. At the end of the day you have to be able to live with the decisions you’ve made. With that being said I really commend you for doing the right thing and standing up for your brand!

  44. Hey Neil

    This to me was one of your best’s posts. It is really humbling to see how much respect you pay to your brand and how true you remain to yourself and to your work

    I am similar in that regard, I personally only work on what I believe in and I will not compromise my or my brands values. Sometimes it means taking a hard stance and even losing some money in the process, but in the end nothing is worth more then knowing you have done the right thing for yourself, your brand and your clients.

    I want to say that I am extremely excited by your upcoming Quicksprout university, and your new ultimate guide – if your past work is anything to go by these are going to be mind blowing resources.

    I love how honest you have been with all of us and I thank you
    for that. That’s one of the big reasons you will find me reading and re reading your posts every time they come out. Thanks for everything Neil

    Paul Back

    • Paul, thanks for the kind words of support. It’s very tough to put yourself out there day in and day out and not get tempting by all the seemingly good opportunities out there. You really have to focus on your core competencies to maintain your brand and it’s standing within the community. I look forward to sharing the QS University with everyone as well. I can’t wait to hear what kind of feedback I receive : ) Thanks for reading!

  45. First I’d like to say, thanks Neil for your transparency. I am not a big brand or authority yet, but I know that as a designer, there is only so much you can do to support your clients.

    My clients email me day or night with website issues that have nothing to do with design. I am their problem solver and that takes a lot of time and energy.

    I can only concentrate on one client (maybe 2 max) with this amount of intensity. I have referred people to other trusted web designers if I can not take on the work. It’s just the reality of being a consultant.

    The important takeaway from this for me is that I need to be clear on what my brand is, what people can expect from me and to look at JV proposals as being in-line with my brand or not.

    • Lakshmi, you are definitely doing the right thing. The worst thing to do is to overextend yourself when you do not have the resources to support your client base. People often forget that they are only human. If you over-promise and under-deliver people will remember and your brand will suffer. Thanks for providing this valuable feedback 🙂

  46. Ekaterina Ramirez :

    Jeeeeeeze! You truly blow me away, Neil! Very smart thinking re: your brand and your way of earning money.

    Since discovering your blog a couple of months ago, you keep surprising me. I often wonder about your behind scenes strategies – what I’ve learned so far is probably only peanuts.

    Thanks for sharing it, I already learned so much from you! It’s exciting.

    An email you received is so poorly written, which speaks about them quite loud. If I’d be approaching you for a deal like that, I’d make sure it’s at least well-written.

    • Ekaterina, thanks for the kind words of support. Your brand will ultimately make or break you so it’s important to keep it in good standing. I think we always have more to learn. I wish I had the time to read up more on industry trends. Glad you enjoyed the article, I always love feedback like this 🙂

  47. Wow! That’s a lot of money. You are a wise person as I can see. Well, yes, there will be a possibility of abusing your brand for 30 days. I think you’ve made a good decision in rejecting the offer.
    Brand worth is very important. All in all, the experience and lessons here are helpful. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Metz-Kingged.com contributor

    • Metz, thanks for the support. I think your brand is the most important thing out there. Money comes secondary to how you are perceived in your community. Thanks for the share!

  48. I have been thinking of the money that I could be making off my blog but I didn’t understand what my brand could do I take care of it.

    Now I do!

    Thanks Neil Patel 🙂

    • Srihari, your brand can really go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals. You should definitely use your blog as a complement to your brand though. Please let me know if you have any questions or additional feedback 🙂

  49. Can’t say in words… take this 🙂 🙂
    I just amazed to read this and Inspired a lot neil, thanks
    I have lost some moneys in small business but that’s not the end, will keep focus and will Hard-work more.

    • Manish, glad I could provide some help. I think if you stay motivated and look at the silver lining on the cloud you just passed through you will definitely make it all up 🙂

  50. This explains everything! I applied for your consultation, and got a fair few emails from “you” asking me all sorts of questions. I answered them in the hope of receiving consultation from YOU. Then all of a sudden without warning AJ (from Single Grain) started contacting me. I thought, this is weird, but continued down the path. I then arranged a Skype call with AJ and he never turned up – no explanation before or after. It was so disappointing, especially when I had gotten up super early in order to sync our time zones.

    Neil, your content is great. I think we all agree with that. But even with your explanation above, I think it devalues your personal brand to lead people to believe they will work with you and then send them off to someone else without explaining why. Maybe you should have a look at your process a little closer, and accept this as constructive criticism.

    • Thanks Steve. I am going to either fix this process or I will cut off the consulting page on NeilPatel.com and stop driving traffic there.

      I really appreciate the feedback.

  51. Very Inspiring Post. Looking forward to your Website Analyzer

  52. It doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to know that Neil isn’t personally responding to all the comments here. He has a smart bunch of people who do it for him.

    Same with the content of this blog. He possibly is only overlooking the content written by external writer, which he had mentioned in one of his earlier posts.

    It was not entirely a secret that the inquiries he get are handled by SingleGrain, which is almost a family company.

    • I actually do respond to my own comments and write my own content. Hence there are a ton of grammatical mistakes and spelling errors in all of my blog posts.

      I pay a professional proof reader to fix all the grammatical and spelling errors on the blog… sometimes she does it before a post goes live and sometimes she does it after. You can email her directly at ahna.weisser@gmail.com to verify this if you would like.

      As for external writers I do use them for the guides, but I clearly state that and even put their name on the guides.

      I also respond to my own comments.

      And yes you are right about Single Grain, it is a family business. My cousin runs it.

  53. Neil, it just proves you have to spend some money to make money – investments we like to call it 🙂 Awesome point about reputation, that’s something that money cannot buy. It’s who you are and what you do. Thanks for sharing how you do it all!

    • Lisa, you definitely have to invest if you want to make returns on your products and services. I think reputation is the most important element of any successful business. If people trust you they are willing to vouch for you and share your ideas & products.

  54. YOu are always be mine inspiration, but daily necessities become a barrier between me and my ideas. But Yes i tried my level best all the time, and one day you will be my competitor 😉 #kidding 🙂

    • Noman, with that spirit and confidence you very well may be 🙂 . Thanks for reading and I appreciate the honest feedback!

  55. Awesome man……….. 🙂

    You rocked as a true business man.

    It would dream coming true if I ever get a chance to work with you. 🙂

    Cheers. 🙂


  56. Kudos to the transparency and honesty Neil.

  57. Hi Neil, great post! Personal brand is definitely really important and you should not sell yourself to make a quick buck. It will eventually catch up with you. Few people understand this glad you are one of them.

    • Miki, glad you enjoyed the post. I think people often overlook the important things like integrity, respect and trust. I like to have my brand signify all those qualities. Thanks for reading and please let me know if I can help you in any way 🙂

  58. Just a few thoughts. This might add further context for the relationship with Single Grain. As Neil stated, he’s an investor and owner. Furthermore, its President, Sujan Patel, is listed as the founder of Single Grain. Neil states in a Mixergy interview that Sujan is his cousin.

    Neil, as any regular reader here knows, is one of the best marketing writers. IMHO, in his outstanding body of work, this post might simply be one that ends up a bit off mark.

    We understand that his personal time is limited for 1-1 activites. Perhaps, it was a missed opportunity not to shout-out Sujan & the SG team a little better, so that as readers, we understood that this is a value-added relationship, not simply lead-sharing.

    Rookies might be impressed by an email outline of a $5m deal. Without the context of fine print, it’s virtually meaningless.

    Loss-leaders are a time-tested and battle-proven marketing strategy. Walmart built a $250B business getting people into their stores with loss-leaders. I’m sure that Neil has proven to himself that this strategy of investing in QuickSprout drives growth of his high margin businesses and personal brand — that’s just smart business.

    Your success has afforded you the ability to create truly outstanding free and low-cost content, which creates a virtuous cycle of, “doing well by sharing and doing good.”

    Thank you for the inspiring blog!.

    • Syd, thanks for clarifying for the readers. Everything you got there is pretty accurate 🙂 . I try to be as transparent as possible so I can build trust with everyone in the community. Thanks for reading and I appreciate your feedback.

  59. Hey Neil, was curious how you vetted email newsletters worth paying for?

    • I do it based on blog engagement. So if your blog is very active, then the blast will probably convert. If you blog isn’t active, that means your list isn’t as engaging.

  60. One of the best shared personal online success stories. It really gives a masterful inspiration for all the entrepreneurs and online media strategists to think for a moment about there brand.

    Thanks for the share Neil, this article really gave a massive momentum for building “FernandoBiz”

    • Fernando, glad you found the post helpful. I can only advise that you keep up what you are doing. You should focus on you brand, everything else should be secondary. Please let me know if you need any help moving forward 🙂

  61. I think u own part of single grain. I think your true intelligence comes from 2 factors. 1- your astute ability to surreptitiously promote your own brands on this blog, and 2- from the companies that u own covertly such as single grain or flipping enterprises. That being said, your command of this industry is second to none and the info you provide is golden

    • Thanks Justin and I do own a good chunk of Single Grain.

      As for Flipping Enterprises, I have no affiliation with them nor do I make money from their revenue. They just help me find sites to buy and they take a transaction fee.

  62. Great content as usual. At that price it should be 🙂 Your blogs are one of my favorite ones on the Internet. A lot of helpful information for determined online entrepreneurs. Cheers, i really appreciate what you do for people like me. Thank you!

    • Dimitar, glad you find the posts helpful. I really think the free flow of information is vital for a community to thrive. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  63. Thank you for you blog and your a breath of fresh air in the world of marketing which has alot greed and bull…attached to it, I love online marketing and get disappointed by some of the GURU agenda which is usually to make as much as they can and after that you can go scratch yourself…….

    Thank you for your honesty, tremendous work, Id love a Guide to Building a Brand Online like you’ve achieved?? ill be waiting for it..

    thank you again, Patric

    • Patric, thanks for the kind words. I agree, most people get so caught up in the get rich quick schemes that it creates an atmosphere of distrust online. People need to get back to what they are passionate about. That means focusing on the bottom line and not duping people into following trends and ideals that are counterproductive to actual growth. Thanks for your valuable feedback!

  64. As a reader I really respect the honesty of this post.

    But I also applaud you on your ability to expand your vision and see the much bigger picture of what your business is capable of.


    • Thanks for reading. I appreciate this feedback. You are right on point: it’s important to look at the big picture first. People often get caught up in the get rich quick schemes and forget what they are passionate about.

  65. Hi Neil,
    I got a question for you,
    why did you not blog under neilpatel.com but rather blog under quicksprout? is there a reason behind it or it just happened that way?

    what’s the difference of having two domains? or any advantages of having two domains?

    from what I see, you can always blog under neilpatel.com and also promote you consulting gig under the same domain or viceversa..

    hope to hear from you.


    • I did this because I started quicksprout before I owned neilpatel.com. It was years after the blog was started and already popular, that I owned neilpatel.com.

      At that point I didn’t want to switch domain names due to the traffic and branding quicksprout already had.

  66. That was DOPE Neil.

    It’s further identification of your servant leadership.

    I love your candid, rawness and transparency as a marketer, business owner and strategist. I am learning much from you.

    I have a talk I did at Awesomenessfest called 3M’s of Success.

    Yeah. It sounds a bit “cheese-ballish” but the message is powerful.

    M1 – Mindset
    M2 – Mechanics
    M3 – Money

    … in that order too.

    It’s controversial and counter intuitive, but when you have
    MONEY at the end of your strategy you are forced to consider
    more important things FIRST like adding value (hence in the MINDSET part of the formula) … and when you have Mindset, Mechanics in order the money comes looking for you.

    If you chase money, money runs. If you create value and look for ways you can add it by serving others first, it is attracted to you by natural osmosis or Law of whatever you want to call it.

    Love your insight and wisdom bro.

    Keep it up!

    Remember… be a servant,


    • Cory, love how you broke this down into three components. I like your 3M approach. I really think its important to provide some great value for any product or service you are considering getting involved in. If you aren’t in the right place mentally then your passion will suffer. I really like that part about chasing money and it running. It’s very true! You really have to focus on doing the right things so you can be in the right place at the right time when the good opportunities are available. Thanks for the valuable feedback.

  67. Neil, you are one crazy guy 🙂

    Can’t think of anything else to say after reading this post!

  68. Dipendra Pradhan :

    Oh Neil, Really it was a good offer with good money if i was in you place i might have been taking the job. But its you and your decision that you have made.

    • Dipendra, it’s all about being true to your core values. I didn’t take the money because I felt it would infringe on my brand. You really have to consider all angles. Thanks for reading!

  69. James@youdolife :

    Loved the post Neil. Your work is incredible, and I empathise with you regarding your commitment to your clients.

    • James, glad you found the post helpful. I really try to help out my clients in any way possible. Sometimes just providing great content and feedback to their emails is enough.

  70. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for this fantastic post and respect to you for valuing your brand over money! I totally agree with you that not having people think you are a “get rich quick” type of a marketer is much more valuable in the long run than the $$$ you would have made in a month otherwise.

    Now I am in very early stages in my online career and can only dream of the kind of money you are losing out on a monthly basis, but I also want to achieve success by doing it in the right way.

    Thank you for sharing!


    • Laura, people often overlook the importance of their brand when they get into the game. They see people who have gotten “rich quick” and try to follow in those footsteps. The best strategy is to be true to yourself and worry more about what you are providing and who you are providing it to.

  71. Hey Neil,

    This is the first comment which I put on QS. I follow your blog religiously and I can’t thank you enough for the Awe-freaking-some job you are doing by contributing to the community. I learn a lot of stuff from you everyday and I wait for your new blog posts 😀 .

    I am working on some of the projects and I am a wannabe internet entrepreneur (solo). Your thoughts and the knowledge you are sharing are the real motivation for me.

    Keep doing the great work you are doing and all the best for your future ventures. I am really looking forward to the QS University and other EBooks.

    PS: I echo what Paul Back has said in one of the comments. As long as you reveal that you are passing the lead to a 3rd party and as long as both the parties have an agreement, its OK to pass the lead. After all, this is business! 🙂

    • Pravil, thanks for the kind words. I am truly humbled by what you have said. I am glad you are finding my posts helpful, I try to provide as much information as possible onto these articles. I am glad they resonate and people find value in them. I am trying my hardest to get the University up and running so keep an eye out. Thanks again 🙂


    I have to absolutely agree with this. I love 90% of what you do and give away Neil – but the “1 spot left” thing and reselling leads when it seems like people will work with you seems a little too Internet Markety. You’re successful and know better than most of us what works, but this little slice is a bit of a turnoff.THANKS FOR THE POST “Why I Lose $1,671,120 A Year For My Brand”

    • Thanks for the valuable feedback. I had another reader bring up the same point. We are currently working on that aspect of the model and will surely make it seem less “internet markety”. I really appreciate the feedback and will do everything I can to make the process seamless and more enjoyable. Thanks for reading.

  73. Baruch Labunski :

    Good for you Neil Amazing article 🙂 its touched me a lot.

  74. Great post, Neil. I totally agree and I believe in this as well. Quicksprout is quickly becoming one of my fav blogs to read on online marketing 🙂

  75. i think this was the best choice for you but there are many smaller brands out there that would take that risk…

    I’m happy to see it wasn’t your case.

    • Dan, it definitely was the best choice for me. I think people in a similar situation would have likely done the same thing. Thanks for the support 🙂

  76. The post was really enlightening, i really admire your stand in terms of your reputation and brand, that’s good. Keep it up. Then again your passion is quite an amazing one, having read two of your guide “content marketing” and “growth hacking” I wonder how you cover your costs because a comphrensive guide of such caliber is not an easy work plus the coding cost (since am a programmer). I really appreciate you. Of the two guide i have read the content marketing boost my blog in term of customer conversion and it helped me to pitch an article for my local newspaper on content marketing as the future of new generational business. The growth hacker was an explosive. I am looking for the copywriting guide. Thank you and keep it up, I will definitely link to this post for my audience

    • Mark, glad you found the post helpful. I think it’s all about building the right pieces around your brand. I spend a lot of my own resources to cover costs. Most people wouldn’t do that but I feel like it’s my duty to keep information free. Glad you found help through the growth hacking guide. Please let me know if you have any additional feedback or questions 🙂

  77. Once again inspiring post. Learned a lot of useful ideas from this blog post.

  78. Hey Neil ! you have lose $1,671,120 in a year. However, you have earned lots of popularity as well as strong brand for future market. Thank you for sharing your internet marketing story. I appreciate for your creative and entrepreneurial profession.

    • That’s a good point! I have actually gained if you look at it that way. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you need help with anything.

  79. Hey Neil!

    Great post, I always learn so much from Quick Sprout it’s an awesome marketing resource!

    When will The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing and Quick Sprout University be available?

    Looking forward to those.

    • Sonja, glad you find the articles helpful. I am currently working on more guides. I will keep you updated once I am ready to publish. If you have any questions in the meantime please visit my forum: https://www.quicksprout.com/forum/

  80. Thanks for the reply Neil!

    Ok, I’m working on launching, branding and promoting my first startup http://deckworks.co, we create beautiful and compelling investor pitch decks for entrepreneurs and founders.

    I’ve read all your advanced guides, tried to soak up as much information as possible and am starting the implement the tips.

    Thanks so much for providing such valuable content for free, keep it up!



    • Mike, that sounds like a terrific idea! I wish you luck and please feel free to reach out to me if you need anything. There will be more guides to come and you can check out my forum for any other questions you want to pose to the community. Thanks for reading!

  81. True man i was shocked after reading this post this is really what we loose a year.
    you opened my eyes yaar..
    Thanks a lot for this..!!

    • Rohit, it really is surprising what happens in business. Glad you found the article helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions 🙂

  82. Hi Neil!

    Don’t forget to update this post to link to the Website Analyzer tool!

    Also, I’m very excited for Quick Sprout University to launch!


  83. Irfan Siddiqui :

    Hey Neil, I’m yet another email subscriber of you. I rarely visit your blog but whenever I do I spend hell lot of time here; so much I found to read, lot of knowledge to gain.

    Ever since I read a guy helping companies like microsoft or blogs like techcrunch build traffic it couldn’t be digest easily. Then I read more posts here, and somehow I learned someone is actually doing it! 🙂

    I’m a Graphic & Logo Designer working for few bloggers on monthly basis; also an freelancer but yet have not launched any webpage that provides my services to new clients. So I think it would be wrong to comment on my personal brand as it is not launched yet.

    • Irfan, sounds like the right time for you to start implementing the tactics. I think people usually come to my blog to learn how to actually implement. Whereas, the other blogs you mentioned are informational. Please let me know if you need any help 🙂

  84. Irfan Siddiqui :

    I didn’t expected I’ll get a reply from you on my above comment 🙂

    I have recently bought a new domain and have started working on my new service providing webpage; it will contain portfolio as well. What kind of tactics should I implement let me know?

    And, I don’t know if I have mentioned any blogs but, if you found it informative then its cool 🙂

    • You should focus on providing educational content. Educate your readers and they will be loyal and more likely to become customers.

  85. Are you referring to company called QNET as, it’s only company having most India consumers plus billion dollar turnover.
    I am not a distributor of it but I have heard of it. BTW, congrats for refusing the offer. Hoping to hear from your side.

  86. Great Article. it’s Really Helpful and Enjoyable Post for Every Blogger. Thank you very much for Sharing with us.

  87. Yulanda Medin :

    I think it’s great that you’re sharing your URL so that people can see how you go about building it out.

  88. Vineet Gupta :

    Hey Neil,

    I can understand what the MLM company tried to do. I have 5+ years of experience working in MLM. Its good industry to gain good exposure in terms of confidence, communication & inter-personal skill development & getting some great business sense.

    By the way, MLM companies generally do this, they offer money to Influencers in the industry to join their brand & then they use the name in the market to get sales.

    Anyways like you have ignored their offer, many MLM so called Leaders might not do that, when they get huge offers.

    Good Luck!

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