Monday, September 29, 2014

An Invaluable Resource

Instead of diving into a new topic today, I want to point you to a resource that’s been tremendously helpful to me. I’ve highlighted it here before, but for those of you who may not have registered or for newcomers, I wanted to talk about it again.

Preaching Rocket is a subscription service for pastors, but they also produce lots of very valuable free resources.


During the last week, I’ve been getting their emails with the 10 Commandments of Preaching. Great stuff! Don’t be intimidated by the word “preaching”. I definitely don’t consider myself a preacher, although some of you may fill that role. The information I’m receiving is excellent for anyone who is a communicator.

Click here to listen to “How to Create Sticky Statements” and get a taste of the amazing content. Click here to link to their freebies page.

I highly recommend registering to be on their email list. Although some of the emails don’t pertain to me, those are easy enough to delete. The value of the other information makes it well worth it! (I love them so much that I’m doing this “promo” for no commission. :) In case you were wondering…)



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Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting Some Help

This is the last post in my series about speaker fees. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that it’s been helpful. If you have any remaining questions, I’d love to answer them next week. Just leave your question in the comments, and I’ll cover it the best I can. :) If you’ve missed any of the posts, you can click on the list below to read:

Patience & the P.I.T.

When & Why It’s Time to Have a Fee

Determining Your Speaker Level & Fee

I have to confess. Dealing with money in ministry is my least favorite part. It’s excruciating for me to talk with event planners about my fee, so I’m far too quick to offer to cut my fee… or speak for free… or give them my kitchen sink.

Several years ago, after a disastrous conversation with an event planner who I felt took advantage of my wimpiness, I was whining to my friend Luann Prater. Luann asked, “Why are you talking to an event planner about your fee? I NEVER talk to event planners about money. I want to be free to focus on ministry.”

You may wonder how that’s possible.

Our Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team has a wonderful gift named Karen Christian in our office. She is the first contact for all the event planners who want to book a P31 speaker, and she does all the steps up to contract completion. WE LOVE HER DEARLY!

My problem was that I was still discussing fees with planners who contacted me directly, and I’m terrible at it. After my conversation with Luann, I will discuss topics and dates, but when fees come up, I say, “Karen Christian, our wonderful event administrator, takes care of our scheduling, contracts and fees. Let me send you her contact information so that the two of you can discuss your budget and  finalize the details.”

Guess what? You can have that wonderful gift too! How? Start your own “staff”.

Hiring an event administrator is a freeing next step.

Here’s my advice about how to take the plunge:

  • Hire a special person with specific skills. She should have a heart for ministry and believe you’re worth every penny of your fee. She should have sales experience without being “sales-y”. She should be warm, personable and professional. She should be able to listen attentively to an event planner’s dreams and then communicate the value you can bring to the event. She should be organized and communicate well with you.


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  • Hire an event administrator by giving her a percentage of your fee for completed contracts. From my understanding, the standard percentage is 15%-20% of your fee.
  • Make her the first contact for people interested in your speaking. Set up an email for her that’s included on your website & biosheet.
  • Once your event administrator has finalized the details and contract, you will take over communication with the event planner.

What do you think? Are you willing to take the step of hiring an event administrator?

This is the end of the series on fees, but you may still feel you need some help. The Speaker Organization Service was developed just for you! In addition to discussing fees, you will receive a contract, invoice, speaker planner and guidelines for communicating with event planners.

To read a detailed description of this service and others, please visit our Menu of Services page.

If you have questions about the services or would like to register for a service, simply fill out the Request Information form. I will contact you to schedule a FREE consultation call.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Determining Your Speaking Level and Fees

Thank you for all the positive feedback you’ve been sending about this series! I’m so happy it’s useful information.

One of the most difficult things to assess is our own speaking level, so it’s also hard to set fees. The fee structure below is information my friend Leah DiPascal collected for a session at She Speaks. She gave me permission to use it for Next Step, and I’m excited to share it with you.

When you are trying to determine where you fall within these guidelines, remember that you may meet most but not all the requirements for a certain level. However, I love that it’s so thorough, and it will also give you some goals to work toward as you continue to grow, because growing speakers have growing qualifications.

Just Beginning

• Going through the P.I.T. (Put In Time).
• Speaking at a lot of events for free or charging a really small fee just to get the experience.
• Payment via plant, picture frame, Starbucks gift card
• Gain Experience – Build Confidence – Get Exposure

Level 1

• Speaking 3-5 times a year.
• Basic bio sheet.
• If you don’t have a bio sheet – Examples of them on P31 website

$150 – $450 plus travel and accommodations
1 session $ 150
2-3 sessions (one night stay)* $ 300
3-4 sessions (one or two night stay)** $ 450

* An event is classified as 2-3 sessions (one night stay) when the last session ends in time for the speaker to travel home the afternoon of the second day. If the last session ends late, requiring an additional overnight stay, that would be classified as a 3-4 sessions event with two nights stay.

** Additional sessions can be added. The cost for each additional session is based on the 1 session fee for that speaker.

Love Offerings – Recommendation: Level 1 & 2 is okay. Once you’re level 3 & up, we don’t recommend this on a regular basis. It’s too nebulous as you move up into the higher levels.

Level 2

• Speaking at least 7 times a year
• Doing events with a small budget
• Usually are breakout speakers for events – not the keynote speaker
• Mostly events within driving distance
• Designed bio sheet with 1 sample message on CD

$300 – $900 plus travel and accommodations
1 session $ 300
2-3 sessions (one night stay)* $ 600
3-4 sessions (one or two night stay)** $ 900

Level 3

• Speaking around 8-12 events a year
• Garnering larger speaking fees
• Sometimes you are the main speaker and sometimes the breakout speaker but doing larger events
• Writing articles published in recognized magazines
• Doing more out of state events and flying to those
• Professionally designed and printed bio sheet with 2 messages on CD or DVD

$500 – $1600 plus travel and accommodations
1 session $ 500-$800
2-3 sessions (one night stay)* $ 1,000-$1300
3-4 sessions (one or two night stay)** $ 1,300-$1600

Level 4

• Speaking more than 12 times a year
• Larger events with larger budgets
• At most events you are the keynote speaker
• At least 1 published book or other unique exposure as a voice in the Christian world
• Doing mostly out of state events that require flying
• Professionally designed and printed bio sheet with 2 messages on CD and DVD clips you can provide the church for promo purposes

$850 – $2000 plus travel and accommodations
1 session $ 850-$1100
2-3 sessions (one night stay)* $ 1,700-$2,000
3-4 sessions (one or two night stay)** $ 2,000-$2,500

Level 5

• Speaking more than 20 times a year
• Larger events with larger budget
• Keynote speaker
• Has multiple published books
• Flying to all events with an assistant – only driving to events within 4 hours from home

$1000 – $4500 plus travel and accommodations
1 session, depending on travel $1,000 to $ 2,500
2-3 sessions (one night stay)* $ 2,500 to $4,000
3-4 sessions (one or two night stay)** $ 3,000 to $4,500

I want to add a caveat. From talking to other speakers, I think this fee structure works in most parts of the country but not all. The churches in your particular area may not be able to support these fees.

Next week I’ll write about how to talk about your fees and how to decide about requests to cut or reduce your fees. If you have any questions about this structure or feedback, I’d love to hear!



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Monday, September 8, 2014

When and Why It’s Time to Have a Fee

Last week I focused on the time period before you have formal fees. My personal progression went a little like this:

  • Step 1: I insisted on not being paid at all. I was very new and very inexperienced. This is actually a blessed time because usually event planners are appreciative, and the expectations are low. When you exceed them–bonus!
  • Step 2: I simply told planners that I would accept an honorarium. I asked them to base it on prayer and their budget.
  • Step 3: I adopted a formal fee schedule.

One of the hardest decisions is when you should move from an honorarium to a set fee. First, I want to establish why it’s good to have a standard set of fees at some point.

  • It establishes you as a professional. My first speaking event outside my own church was for a church’s women’s beach retreat. The first year I refused payment, and the leaders gave me a beautiful gift that I still use and treasure. I was invited back the next year, and the planner handed me an envelope at the end and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’m paying you, because this is what you DO.” That check was a blessing to me on so many levels. Her comment backed up with the check gave me confidence that I had stepped into the ranks of vocational ministry. I cried a good percentage of the way home. Not only that, but I had been praying for God’s provision to attend She Speaks. Guess what? That check covered my registration! It felt like confirmation straight from God, and it helped pay for an investment in the growth of my ministry.
  • Event planners actually seem more comfortable with a fee structure. There have been a few exceptions along the way, but I believe in general event planners want to bless you with the fee. When they’re unsure what you would consider appropriate, it’s an uncomfortable dilemma for them. Having your fees allows them to consider their budget but also to feel confident of the amount they’re paying you.

How do you know when it’s time? Here are some of the indicators:


  • You’re being asked back. This doesn’t happen lots just because planners often bring in new speakers each year, but you should see it happen some.
  • You feel mostly consistent. I don’t think we can ever count on 100% consistency, but you should feel fairly confident in your ability to create a strong message that connects with your audience and your delivery. The value of a speaker’s message should exceed her fee.
  • You are getting feedback after events that indicate life transformation. Attendees are saying things like, “When you said ____________, I thought about what’s happening in my life…”
  • Event planners are asking for your fee. If they’ve come to you via word of mouth and assume you have a fee, you probably need a fee.

Next week I’ll share a fee structure with concrete measurements to let you know where you should be.

How about you? Do you have a fee schedule/structure? How did you know it was time?


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