There are basically two ways to figure out how much to charge as a speaker:
- Find out what other, similar speakers are charging.
- The “Guess and Yes” Approach
What are other, similar speakers charging?
Reach out to other influencers and speakers in your space. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they charged when they first started out. When my first book came out and I was starting to book speaking gigs, I had no idea what to ask for a stipend. I reached out to the foreword writer for my book and he was very forthcoming with advice. He gave me a number and I stuck with it for the year, then increased the rate as I became more in demand and it became tougher to get away from the family.
You can also reach out to the event organizers for information about what they have paid in the past. I wouldn’t do this for the people inviting you to speak (at that point you are in a negotiation), but you can find similar events and reach out to the organizers for numbers. You can also ask event organizers after you speak for their typical stipends to see how you compare.
The “Guess and Yes” Approach
The reality is, though, that you have no idea what people will pay for you to speak. You may be under-quoting or stuck at a rate that is too low.
I like the way Gary Vaynerchuk explained it on The Chase Jarvis Live Show.
He quoted people at $50,000 and got turned down ten times. He figured he must be at the $40,000 instead, which was a lot better than the $5,000 he would have been happy to get.
This advice came after Vaynerchuk and Jarvis suggested to a photographer that he 10x his rates. That same suggestion could apply for speakers, too.
Take a guess. Aim high. When you stretch people too far, bring it down to a lower level.