7in7 Blog | Our Single Biggest Expense: Why We Pay Our Speakers

7in7 Blog

Our Single Biggest Expense: Why We Pay Our Speakers

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Most 7in7ers know that this event is run entirely by volunteers, from the founders to the person handing you your badge at the events.

But that doesn’t mean that no one at 7in7 gets paid.

Because while everyone who works on the 7in7 team believes so strongly in the mission that they’ll work hundreds (or in some cases, thousands) of hours for free, we still believe in paying people for their work. And even including venues, food, A/V, parties, videography, security, and swag, the single biggest expense for us every year is paying our speakers.

7in7 Digital Nomad Conference Speakers

We’ve had people tell us we’re insane. That plenty of conferences don’t pay their speakers, so we shouldn’t either.

And to that I say: bs.

When we founded 7in7, we set out to create a conference that we ourselves would love to attend. Whether you’re a volunteer, attendee, speaker, workshop facilitator, or a panelist, the 7in7 team lives by one golden rule: treat others as we would want to be treated. Sometimes we’ve failed at that (our poor volunteers have struggled through some particularly late nights setting up venues), but every year we vow to do better.

And that includes always paying our speakers. Because if we were flying across the globe to speak at an event, that’s what we would want another group to do for us.

7in7 Digital Nomad Conference Speakers

As I’ve said before, this is a family. And because of that, we’ve had some speakers decline payment because they want the money to go towards faster wifi or better coffee for the attendees. Or just to give the 7in7 founders slightly less stress about the amount of debt we carry on our credit cards to support this conference.

But no matter what, we always want this to be an event we can be proud of. When our 7 years are over, we want people to look back and say “Damn, that was awesome.”

7in7 Digital Nomad Family Conference

Even more crucially, we make sure every speaker gets paid equally for their time. Whether you have 10 million Instagram followers or have been quietly changing the world without anyone noticing, you get paid the same. And everyone can always see exactly how much we’re paying each speaker because it’s right there on our application page.



The Golden Rule.

These are the values 7in7 lives by. And we encourage others to do the same.

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Kit Kit has been a digital nomad since 2009 and loves every bit of the location independent lifestyle, except that she can't have a cat. In addition to co-founding 7in7, she runs a social media consulting business and co-hosts the Nomad + Spice podcast.