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We just opened up registration for seanwes conference 2016. seanwes conference is an event focused on growing your business—to include all aspects of professionalism, client work, products, teaching, consulting, pricing, writing, and content and email marketing.

We have some incredible speakers lined up, but honestly, the main reason to come is to get around the people there. If you’ve been to any of the seanwes meetups, you know the kind of amazing experience it is just to spend time with people who have the right mindset.

These people will help you think bigger. They will help you understand your worth. You will get insights that will take your business to the next level.

Whether you’re working with clients, launching products, or teaching, this is where people are thinking bigger. If you want to see greater results, you need to get around people who think at a level 10 times where you’re at.

I talk a lot on the seanwes podcast about establishing a reputation for yourself. That reputation enables you to do things like sell courses or consulting. A great way to build your reputation and establish your expertise is to speak at conferences.

Now I’m a speaker, so as someone who is also an organizer with seanwes conference, I have the opportunity to set a precedent for how speakers are treated. How I treat speakers will be how I want to be treated as a speaker.

A Speaker’s Time is Valuable

The first thing to note is that covering expenses related to traveling and hotels should be the responsibility of the conference, not the speaker.

The speaker’s time is valuable. Covering their expenses should be a given. They should not have to spend their own money to fly somewhere or stay in a hotel. It’s also not cool to only pay for one night of hotel rooms.

Take care of your speakers. Allow them to be present and encourage their participation at your event. Paying only for one night of hotels does not incentivize participation and engagement. The speaker’s accommodations should be completely taken care of and practically invisible.

Covering expenses is the baseline. It’s the bare minimum. It’s literally just so that they’re not losing money. Now you need to actually compensate them for their time.

Make Payments, Not Honorarium

There’s this word that’s commonly used in the speaking world that I’m not really fond of. That word is “honorarium”. Here’s what the word means:


Now, that may not seem like such a big deal at first. It’s just a word, right? But words mean things, and personally I think it’s insulting to consider speaking a professional service that should be rendered without charge.

Calling something an honorarium is saying, “I’m giving you some compensation, but really it’s not needed and I’m sort of going above and beyond since we’re giving you this great opportunity for exposure.”

That’s disrespectful to the speaker. No one should only be paid in exposure. The speaker’s time is valuable. We covered their expenses, but that’s just ensuring they don’t lose money coming out. What about the hours they spend preparing their talk, and traveling, and spending time away from their family and their work? That time is valuable and should be compensated.

This is why in addition to paying for flights and hotel rooms, I also give them an additional speaking payment. That’s what I call it too: a “Speaking Payment”. It’s compensation for their time and efforts and it is a 4-figure amount.

When I invited the speakers, one whom I respect very much said, “I’m really glad you’re paying speakers.” This gave me pause and is the reason I started writing about this topic. Of course I’m paying speakers! How insulting is it to not pay your speakers? What you’re doing is essentially charging them to speak because you’re either incurring expenses for them, or you’re simply causing them to lose money by not working on other paying projects.

seanwes conference

Value Your Speakers

As a speaker myself, I want to make a point to compensate seanwes conference speakers well. I don’t tell them they get a free ticket to the conference. I also find that insulting. That’s like saying we’ll give you water. Of course they should get a ticket!

Covering expenses and giving a pass for the conference is not compensation for speaking.

The speakers are creating value for your conference and your attendees. They are the pillars of your event. Yes, there is a lot of value in the conversations that happen between people at the conference, but the speakers bring everyone together around a common topic. That’s crucial and you should treat them with respect.

seanwes conference is happening October 27th–29th, 2016 in Austin, TX. If you’re interested in getting actionable advice on growing your business, and want to get around people who think bigger, we’d love to have you. Whether you’re looking to grow your business to 5-figures a month or 6-figures a month and beyond, you’ll join people who have an infectious mindset that’s going to rub off on you. These people have a passion for quality and an enthusiasm for thinking big and taking action. I guarantee it will be the best investment you make in your life and career this entire year.