For most all of my speaking, consulting, and advisory work, yes: I do charge a fee, plus expenses. And, candidly, I charge kind of a lot.
Being compensated for my speaking, consulting, and professional writing work is how I’m able to feed and clothe my family as well as fund my lavish, meth-driven, West Coast lifestyle of fast cars, fancy English butlers, and the jet packs that will not be available to normal people like you for years.
It’s also how I’m able to give away almost everything I’ve ever written or said for free. Hundreds of thousands of words and dozens of days of audio and video can only be treated that liberally if there are other ways that the freight gets paid. I don’t apologize or defend this; I just realize it’s not as obvious to everyone as it is to me.
As for how I decide what to charge and to whom or for what? It’s not particularly complicated. I charge a lot to do things I’m great at for people who know it’s a bargain. And, that’s it. Only way to fly. I don’t “dicker” and I never “sell.”
I learned a long time ago to only work for or with people with whom you have mutual admiration and respect—and who already think you’re valuable and great at what you do. In my experience, the folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients. They may be good negotiators and nice people, but working for them is a gut-wrenching travesty. And I don’t do travesties.
With all that said, I do a fair amount of (private, unpublicized, non-ribbon-based) work with non-profits and other deserving groups. And, no, I normally do not charge for this work. So, If you’re working for a good cause or represent an organization that’s trying to do something you know I care a lot about, please ask me. No promises, but I’ll do what I can with what I have.
So, yep. “Expensive” or “Free.” It’s a fee schedule that works.