How to Set Speaking and Consulting Fees Is Free a Good Fee

To help grow yourself as a person and to grow your business too you can choose to offer consulting services and seminars. If you do you will have to decide on what are your fees and this is not always an easy decision.

Eleven years ago when I hosted my first seminars on my own I looked for advice from other professionals on the subject of fee setting and I was often told ‘Just give your workshops for Free and then when people see how good you are you can charge the right price for your work.’ I also heard this when I asked how to price consulting and coaching fees.

Did this idea work?

Honestly, no, even though I only offered free seminars for a while I started to get a reputation for quality seminars that would be given for free. This was not my intention. Of course, when people heard about my work they wanted the same deal – a seminar for free. Even when I said I now I have a fee I got requests for just one more workshop at no charge. So what did I do?

I developed a new response.

I reflected and I practiced in my mind again and again a new response. So the next time someone asked me to work for free I said ‘Unfortunately, just like you I can no longer afford to work for free I have bills to pay too’.

Then I went on to say ‘but each year I offer some seminars at a discounted price depending on the needs and the budget of the hiring organization, maybe you can qualify one time for one of these events. Please let me know about your organization and what your budget is.’

This phrase was something I created and practiced over and over and it covered a number of important things:


It shared with the person I was talking with that I was like them I have expenses to pay.


It offered them the chance of getting a special price that they knew upfront would be a discount off my regular fee. So they knew they were getting special value if they qualified for the discounted rate.


If they chose to book me they knew that after this event if they wanted to hire me again they would have to pay more for future events.


It helped remove my reputation in people’s minds of me giving quality work for free and changed it to people getting quality work at a special price, when possible.

Then I started increasing my fee over time but that is another story.

The same approach (with re-wording, of course) can help you get paid for your consulting and coaching sessions. I believe you deserve to be paid when you do valuable work.

One final note:

I cannot recommend a book or other tool I know of that can help you set your fees but if you want to learn more about how to become a professional speaker or seminar leader you can check out the timeless classic Speak and Grow Rich or a newer book called The Wealthy Speaker. My preference is the late Dottie Walter’s book Speak and Grow Rich.

Best of Success to you,