To Be Paid or Not to Be Paid…

Kozzi-vector_image_of_a_business_woman_climbing_ladder_by_dollar_sign-370x350-300x282That is the question isn’t it? At what point if ever, do we start charging for a talent or service we frequently give to others?

Women often uniquely struggle with the idea of putting a dollar value on their skills. Shouldn’t I be generous and giving? Why not lend to all and just trust God or the goodwill of others to compensate me appropriately?

I still recall the season when I started asking for funding for speaking events outside of my day job. It felt awkward, and even selfish, but after gathering wise counsel and input from other speakers I trusted, the time had come so I began.

In the early years my pricing was typically lower than market rates for comparable services, since getting the experience was not only essential, but valuable beyond the pay.

As years went on I continued to evaluate comparable speakers, and always (as I still do) took into account the organization itself. Were they a large corporation with significant budget, or a smaller church or non-profit with less ability to pay?

One event at a time, my experience and pricing grew, so did abilities and confidence. While something inside my heart still wishes I could speak everywhere for free, and many times I do, this IS my vocation worth a fair price comparable to value exchange.

So how can you know if it is your turn to get paid, and if so, how do you pull together all the specifics?

First, do your research online for comparable services and pricing. You’ll be amazed how much information is out there when you do a little digging.

Then talk to others who charge for, and those who hire for similar services, to get a sense of what the market is commanding.

Finally, put a stake in the ground and just GO! Act confident before you feel confident, and don’t apologize for charging for your talent, time, and services.

You may still feel a bit reluctant or awkward, but you’ll also feel GREAT knowing you delivered value and received value, all the way to the bank.





  • Tricia R

    Great article, Lynette. And very timely for me. I have self published a children’s book, but the topic (the history of the Pledge of Allegiance) is both interesting to a wide population AND (unfortunately) politically incorrect. So …. even when I am asked if I charge a fee to speak, I answer “no” and say that I would like the opportunity to sell my book after I speak. I get a 50% penetration (I typically sell books that are half the number of people in the audience). So, I also say that I like to speak to audiences of at least 40. I know this is very small thinking, but I’ve been doing this for years. I’d really like to get to the next step – larger audiences, more invitations to speak, a fee to speak PLUS book sales – but I have no idea how to get there.

  • Katherine

    If you can afford it Tricia, hire a publicist. It is the best way to go.

  • Thank you for sharing your practical advice!

  • @dsalciccioli

    Lynette– I have truly had to work through this dilemma! I want to love on and support wonderful pastors wives and female leader who, frankly, may not hold the power of the check book. Many times I have minimized my 17 years as a trained coach because I wanted so much to live and serve as a Christian. I had some wise council, as you have, that my services bring value and therefore I should charge the going rate for someone with the amount of years in the coaching seat that I have. I still struggle with it –and make accomodations where I feel I can. Nevertheless, Payment and respected value often go hand in hand. Thanks for bringing this challenge to light! 🙂

  • Lilly Ferrick

    Great topic Lynette and one I’m passionate about. Profit is a biblical principal and speaks to good stewardship of a business and everyone’s talents that work there. If people, Christian or not, consistently shy away from charging what your market is willing to pay, you will never have the opportunity to hire great people and maybe never grow a business past a hobby. There are times it’s ok to “give it away” but those are moments you’ve made a conscious decision to do so because it’s in your heart and you feel it’s right in this situation. Other than that, never apologize for the actions and steps one must take to build a profitable, healthy business.