Paid public speaking – or professional speaking – is very competitive; there are literally tens of thousands of speakers who want to make a living, or some on-the-side income, by presenting at conferences, association events, college and high school events, company training, or wherever they pay a speaker to deliver their message.
The attraction to paid speaking is understandable. An average speaker gets paid anywhere from $25oo to $5ooo per speech – be that 2o minutes or a 2-day workshop. Just multiply that by 3 or 4 per week… or by 12 or 15 per month – that is, the number of times an “average” speaker speaks at different events. That’s an income that will attract lots of flies – oups, I meant people 🙂
So, is there such a thing as “Fail Proofing” your speaking career?
I’ll share a secret with you. I’ve seen many better speakers out there then I am. Yes, I’m funny and deliver decent content, but I’m not as professional as I’ve seen many other speakers – some of which, by the way, speak for free… yet, I get more speaking gigs than many of these great speakers, due to my positioning as an expert and because of my consistent marketing TO THE RIGHT NICHE.
Here are a few tips that will Fail Proof your paid speaking career:
- Find a niche where you have some expertise… or at least some real passion and lots of knowledge
- Position yourself as an expert, through articles, a very niched blog, video posts, write a book or two [they don’t have to be long – but must solve your niches fears, pain, challenges, problems, etc], and occasionally volunteer to speak at your niche related events
- Market, market, market… Promote, promote, promote… Spend at least 8O% of your time on marketing your speaking. There’s a simple truth: the more you market yourself, the more speaking engagements you’ll get. The key is to market yourself to entities that can afford your fees [exception when you market locally, you can work within their budget for a reduced fee]
- Develop a demo video and work with speakers bureaus. You’ll pay 2o to 3o% fee, but those are gigs that you didn’t have to move a finger to get
- Treat your business like a REAL business. Imagine you are the CEO of “YOU Inc.” and bring decisions accordingly, behave accordingly, and implement accordingly.
Make sure that Your Actions are in Line with Your Goals & Vision!
- Provide topics that are mandatory or highly desired, such as Diversity programs, How to Avoid Sexual Harassment Charges and Other Litigation, Improving Customer Service, Improving Team Performance, Improving Managers’ Performance, Dealing with Difficult Customers/People/Coworkers/etc.
Talk to employees – if you have a chance – and find out what type of training did they have to go through every year. Do some research of your own on each company to find out what do they pay for year after year…. and if you have expertise or knowledge in that area, offer your services
- Have a great program, so once you speak, you can easily get referrals
Now I do realize that some of the above points are repetitions from some previous points, but I believe in the old mantra “Repetition is the mother of learning” – we often hear something once or twice and it flies right by our ears; but when we hear it the 3d or 1oth time, we finally get it and implement it.
One thing is sure: if you apply the above 7 points, you’ll be a busy speaker with a healthy income. The key is to be consistent and keep “sharpening the saw” – keep improving by speaking as often as you can.
Let me know what you think? Do you have any questions or comments on the above points, write in the comment section and I’ll reply to each of your questions…
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