A question I’m often asked by speakers is whether or not to charge a fee to promoters who are booking them to speak at their events.
At this point I should point out that some of the bigger event promoters will NEVER pay a speakers fee… and in some cases will be negotiating a proportion of your sales revenue too.
You’ll also need time to customise (or create) your presentation, prepare handouts and order forms, tailor your marketing message and bio towards their audience… plus any other work you need to do to prepare for the gig.
Let’s say all the prep work takes 8 hours… that’s now 4 days of your time so the daily rate decreases to $1,500
Do you have staff or need to pay your VA to help out at the gig? Will you need to stay over in a hotel? What about travel costs? That’s without adding in your fixed expenses… 4 days of contribution towards rent, heat and light, internet and telephone costs!
And… you intend to sell $4,000 of products from stage… what are the costs of fulfilling those sales? How much staff time to process all the orders and handle enquiries or support issues?
And now you’re not making very much at all… it’s better than nothing of course, but you could earn a similar daily rate as an employee without having all the responsibilities of running your own business.
Now, if you hadn’t charged the $2,000 speaker fee you’d barely have turned a profit.
What if you didn’t sell the $4,000 of products you predicted?
Can you see why I am driving home the point about why it’s essential you know your numbers? Of course… once you have clarity around your numbers and the lifestyle you wish to maintain, you are likely to be turning down a few gigs because their financial model isn’t a good fit for you.
But, that’s ok because the alternative is that you’ll run out of money or time to enjoy your life. Look to the longer term and make the choices that you won’t regret 3 or 4 years down the line.
But of course… if the gig on offer is for a charity you support and there is no budget for fees, you might choose to take it anyway. The idea is that you have the tools to make an informed decision over which gigs to accept and can recognise those that aren’t right for you.