I got a call from a medical centre in Kentucky from a gentleman organizing a health care conference. He asked me if I am a professional speaker and will I speak for free. I thought Hmm would you do a surgery for free? He explained that he had 'hired' a motivational speaker last year who agreed to speak for free. I inquired, "Well, was he any good?" He said, "No - but it was free so who cares?"
This would be a very easy audience as the previous motivational speaker has set the bar low. Truth is, I have found it just as difficult, if not more so, to get 'hired' to speak for free than to land a paid engagement. I also do just as much work whether I speak for free or for a fee. Similarly, when a meeting planner organizes a conference, it is about the same amount of work if 50 people show up or 500.
As a self employed inspirational speaker - like any entrepreneur - you have to set your own worth.
When I shared my fee amount with the health care adminstrator in Kentucky, he nearly fell over backwards. He shouted into the phone, "You charge that for just one of your motivational speeches?" Yes, I do. I asked him to seriously consider it, that if he thought the product was worth it, could he afford to pay the fee? In the end he admitted that it fit in their budget. For a motivational speaker, getting paid is all about perceived value. How can we be professional speakers if we value our services at nothing?
90% of my motivational speeches are at full fee. I have found that most people can afford to pay. If you are truly a motivational inspirational speaker, charge people what you are worth. If not, stick to toastmasters and speak for free.
Trying to hire a motivational speaker? Read our blog post, Pitfalls to the Motivational Speaker Video?