How much do I get paid to speak at events?

The short answer is quite a lot.

Chris Lemar messaged me in the early part of 2022 saying, “Hey, we’re running this event, Cabo Press. We’d love it if you came out. It’s in Mexico.” And “

At first, I was actually a little bit hesitant. I was like, “Maybe.”

He said, “No, no, no. To talk.”

I thought, “Okay, maybe.”

The reason why, and it’s not because of Chris or anything, obviously, it’s because I speak at a lot of events, I didn’t really know anything about Cabo Press.

Chris explained to me how the event works. It’s not an event hall, it’s not structured.

I also didn’t know a huge amount of the people here, which means that maybe I’m a bit of a homes buddy.

In 2019, we spent something like 51 out of 52 weekends away and I just didn’t know if I wanted to get back into that. So after Chris convinced me and told me about the event and the type of speakers that would also be there, as well as how the setup is, I was a bit more open to it.

So, if you’re anything like me when dickhead internet marketers and influencers show themselves speaking at events and they have photos on stage at these stunning locations, and then they show backdrops of oceans and pools and palm trees and beaches, you might think two things.

First of all, I hate them. Second of all, how do I do that?

The deal was, Olivia and I both get tickets. We both get our flights paid for our accommodation, any expenses, and everything in between.

Very, basically, I wanted to be in profit by the time we got home from essentially spending a week in America and a week in Mexico.

But you see now, I have a massive, massive problem because I haven’t spoken at an event since 2019. I feel a little bit rusty. I feel a little bit out of practice, and I’m afraid now that my talk won’t be worth the price of admission of a ticket because tickets here are expensive, it’s invite-only and it won’t be worth what Chris has paid me.

So, I’ve become a little bit paranoid. I don’t necessarily have a problem with public speaking. I certainly don’t have a problem with attendees. I love attendees. What I do have a problem with at events usually is frankly, the other speakers. I’m filming this before we’ve done any of the interviews or whatever.

I’m sure they’re going to be lovely. I know they will be. I know they’ll be great. But yeah, I’m a little bit anxious, to be honest. I’m kind of nervous about how my talk is going to go.

So, now, I’m obviously back home away from the beach, away from Cabo Press. It’s been a few weeks now, and I’ve been able to kind of decompress and think through a couple of things.

First of all, how much you can get paid to travel and speak, and the second piece is how could you do this.

How much you can get paid to travel and speak

The first piece I want to cover is if we include flights, accommodation, reimbursement, and all that kind of stuff. On average, I cost about $10,000 to $15,000 to speak at an event.

Sometimes I’m given that in cash upfront. Sometimes it’s taken out of the cost of the hotel and all this other stuff. Sometimes it’s reimbursed. It can get a little bit complicated depending on where you are speaking and where you live and where you’re based, but that’s pretty standard.

However, what I have noticed is that personally, I’m not a huge fan of public speaking. In fact, I’m recording this before we have two more speaking events come up, and I’ve already decided that I’m probably not going to do speaking events after this last one in November.

How could you do this?

With that, I did want to give away three pieces of information and advice about what I did in order to get these kinds of paid speaking gigs, because I have been paid to go to the States multiple times, Mexico, all over the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, pretty much around the world. I haven’t done it anywhere in Asia.

I want to talk about how I managed to get there, and it comes down to three things. Build a network, talk about something specific, and be a safe bet.

I’m happy to say that since I gave the talk, things went a lot better. Apparently, people liked it. I certainly liked doing it, so I didn’t really have anything to be nervous about.

But I have noticed that a big part of that comes down to being specific about what I talk about. So those three things, build a network, be specific and be a safe bet.

Talk about something specific

The second one, to be specific means making sure you get known for talking about something. The biggest mistake I see anyone make when they want to get paid speaking gigs or just speak in general, is they try to apply to loads of different events talking about loads of different topics, and I made that mistake when I first started, but what you actually need to do is hone in and narrow down on something that’s hyper-specific.

Something I saw all of the speakers do is have something really specific that they could talk about, and chances are they’ve either spoken about it before they had a product or service related to that very specific topic, or they were already working in that particular niche.

Something else that I noticed as well was that people spoke about their life experiences. It’s much easier to talk about something that you have done or you are doing than try to pass off secondhand advice about what you would do given the chance.

Now, I know that might sound obvious, but the next time you go to an event, I want you to watch the screen and watch the speakers and see how many of them are talking about something from their own personal experience or how many of them are talking about.

Building a network

What they’ve seen other people do and what you could be doing. Coming back to the first point, building a network. This takes a long time and I think the reason most people don’t get paid speaking work is that they don’t have the sticktoitiveness or the grit to create relationships over months and years.

The speaking opportunities that I get now and that frankly, I’m turning down even though they’re paid are because I have spent a lot of time investing in those relationships. I’ve known that these are people who have got large audiences and I have just taken the time to regularly be in contact with them, be visible, and turn up inside their groups, inside their forums.

I’ve bought their programs, and I’ve bought their training products. I’m in there, I’m known, that’s hard work, and I think a lot of people can’t be bothered to do that. There’s no trick or secret to it.

Turn up and talk about the same things repeatedly and that again leads into point number two of having a topic that you talk about over and over and over again that will do you and serve you really, really well.

If you become known as the person who talks about TikTok ads or the person who talks about running a three-person business in a multimillion-dollar business.

Be a safe bet

The third thing is to be a safe bet. Something again that I noticed why I get speaking events I think is because I have a lot of video content out. People know what they’re getting. If they hire me, I’m probably going to swear I’m probably going to be a little bit abrasive, but I’ll do my absolute best to tell a great story and help people break through some of their limiting beliefs.

Having asked a lot of the event organizers, “Why me?” It’s because they have said, you are constantly showing up. You’re constantly telling us who you are, and we know what we’re going to get.

One of the reasons you’re probably not getting speaking events is that you aren’t seen as a safe bet. You aren’t seen as someone who they can put on stage and go, I know they’re not gonna mess this up.

I’ve been to events where the speaker has fluffed their lines and forgotten their slides, and it happens to everyone. It’s happened to me. But if you want to get more consistent speaking work or even land your first speaking job, you have to be a safe bet.

They have to know, “I know that Mike is going to be okay on stage and he’s going to tell pretty much the same story about the same things he’s talked about for a long time. I know because he already interacts with me a lot and we’ve built up a network, I’ve got a pretty good idea of who he is.”

It’s worth noting at this point that I do talks with no slides. I don’t have tools and I don’t have props. I don’t have cards. I know some people like notes and some people like slides. That’s fine. I don’t have any of that.

I might at most have a whiteboard that I draw a model on, but in my experience, the world’s best speakers talks without any of that. So all of my talks from now on have no slides, which a lot of people use as a crutch.

That’s not going to help you get speaking work, but I want you to know that having a great slide deck is not the reason that you are not getting speaking events.

My goal for you, having read this, is to book your first speaking event, It doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s paid. The first 30 events that I did weren’t paid, but I would love it if you had watched this and implemented my advice, and even years later commenting down below saying, “Yeah, I booked my first paying speaking gig using this video.”

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Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.