I said NO and here’s why…

If you’re doing work, even as part of an internship, you should be getting paid something.

Even if it’s not much money, even a token payment shows that they and we are serious about projects.

Our experience has been that when we’ve let people work “for free”, they often flake out and do not put priority on the projects.

When our clients are unhappy, their excuse is that they were working for free.

If you’re going do a job, do it well. That said, we hire a lot of young adults with zero experience. So our company pays for their education, much like you’d pay to provide someone a master’s degree in marketing plus one-on-one coaching.

If you went to study digital marketing at Stanford and get coaching, you’d have to pay them– Stanford wouldn’t pay you.

So we must strike a careful balance– to have a high bar that only lets through the highest quality folks worthy of the effort that is a big expense in the short run, but a great investment if they produce in the long run.

So do pay your people– no free work!