How Much Money Should You Charge for Speaking?

This is the hotel room I stayed in last week when I went to Harrisonburg, VA to teach a social media workshop at a nonprofit conference. It was at the Fairfield Inn. Nothing too glamorous. But then, hotels don’t have to be extra fancy for me to enjoy them. I love them all, really – from the Holiday Inn to the W. I love the whole process of checking in, getting warm cookies (at the Doubletree); sleeping on (hopefully) crisp, clean sheets; getting to watch the Food Network for a few hours; having someone else clean the bathroom; sipping hot tea in my room; looking out the window when I have a great view; hanging out in the jacuzzi (if they have one); eating the free breakfast (if they have one); scheduling a wake up call so I don’t oversleep, getting restaurant recommendations from the concierge or ordering room service that I get to charge to the client (at a reasonable cost, of course!).

So, clearly, professional speaking is what allows me to feed my obsession with hotels LOL. Someone asked if the travel thing gets difficult for me and the answer is mostly no. I love exploring unfamiliar places, even when it’s somewhere like Omaha, Nebraska where I was invited last year for a keynote speech.

Anyway, as a follow up to my post, Four Steps to Becoming a Professional Speaker, I wanted to share some more specifics on how you might go about actually charging money for your speaking services.

What kinds of speaking can you get paid for?

Keep in mind that there are all different kinds of speaking that you can do.

  • Keynote speeches at big conferences
  • Motivational speeches for youth groups, women’s organizations or churches
  • Group training or workshops for employees at various companies
  • Breakout sessions at industry conferences
  • Webinars or other online training for organizations
  • Half-day or full-day trainings for various companies

Obviously, if you want to get paid to speak, all of those options should come with a fee. The good thing is that the list of speaking you might charge for is varied and can be profitable in numerous ways, especially if you are well-known in a particular industry.

How much money should you charge for speaking?

This is a question that, unfortunately, has no clear cut answer. Across industries, there is no “standard” speaking fee. It really depends on whether you have people coming to you or if you are pounding the pavement right now looking for opportunities. When you’re in demand, you have the upper hand! As an extreme example, super famous motivational speakers like Tony Robbins or Les Brown can earn tens of thousands of dollars for just one speech. In my (very unscientific) research of semi-famous speakers who get booked through speakers bureaus, the average speaker charges about $5,000.

A few questions to consider when determining your fee:

  • What is the organization’s budget? This is usually the first question you should ask if you do not yet have a set fee. Your stated fee should not vary wildly though, as organizations tend to talk to each other about costs, especially if they are giving you a referral!
  • How long will your speech, workshop or training be? The longer it is, the more you’ll want to charge. There should be a significant difference between a 60 minute workshop and a 6 hour training because it takes you longer to prepare and deliver.

What factors should you consider when thinking about charging for speaking?

  • Who do you want to serve with the gift of your speaking? Most of us get into speaking because we have a message to share or valuable information to teach. I would love to work with more women’s groups, especially black women’s organizations or conferences, but those are not always the audiences who are able to pay my fee. I still do (some) pro-bono speaking if it is in line with my personal mission statement, but I have to stay on target with my income goals as well. Just keep in mind that the people you want to serve may not always be able to pay you, so you may need to adjust your fee schedule to reflect that.
  • What do you have to offer as a speaker? Is your information in high demand? Is your personal story unique and inspirational to your ideal audience? Do you have a “signature talk” that you give often that you know will be a hit for certain events? Are you able to provide concrete takeaways for attendees that will help them move forward in their personal or professional lives?
  • Who is your ideal client? Someone has to cut the check! If it is churches, most of them will not be able to pay you very much unless they are a larger congregation with deep pockets for that kind of thing. If it is large corporations, they will typically have a much bigger budget for speakers and trainers.

For more in-depth information and training on how much to charge for speaking, I recommend my full 3-hour online course, “How to Become a Professional Speaker: Earn a Great Income and Make a Big Impact Teaching and Inspiring Audiences from the Stage!”

How to Become a Professional Speaker: Earn a Great Income and Make a Big Impact Teaching and Inspiring Audiences from the Stage!

Have you been called to teach and inspire others? If so, this class will show you exactly how to become a professional speaker and get paid to share your message! This 3-hour, on-demand digital class comes with a webinar recording in video format, a convenient MP3 audio-only version and three BONUS speaking templates for you to model in your own business.



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