Not everyone dreams of becoming a paid presenter; however, as we labor over a speech we have all had that thought that started something like “I am NOT being paid enough for all that I do”. Considering how many people are terrified of public speaking, if you can do it and do it well, why not give some thought to “turning pro”?
One note of caution before we start this discussion: it’s been said that in the world of professional speakers, 1% of the speakers make 99% of the money. What that really means is that it’s not just enough to be able to speak in public, but rather you also need to have good business sense.
Jane Atkinson has spent two decades working in the professional speaking business and she knows a thing or two about what it takes to be successful as a pro. Here’s are a few suggestions that she has for those who are considering trying to make some cash from this speaking thing:
- Where Will The Money Come From? If you want to speak professionally, you are going to need to get paid. The key here is to find out who will be willing to pay you for your speech. You need to have unique information or a unique style that is going to help someone solve a problem. Once you know what problem you can solve, you need to find out who has that problem.
- Move From Free To Fee: Everyone would like to get paid for every speech that they give from day 1, but life doesn’t work that way. Instead, what you need to do is to start your professional speaking career by giving free speeches and then the paid gigs will follow.
- I.T.S.S.: It’s the speech, stupid! At the end of the day, it’s your speech that people will be paying to hear. It’s got to be the very best speech that you can give. What this means is that you’ve got to create the speech and then refine, refine, and refine it again.
- Well, Aren’t You Special: If you expect people to pay to hear you speak, then you had better come up with a bio that paints you as being a special person. Your bio should clearly state why anyone would want to hire you.
- Learn From The Pros: If you want to be a professional speaker, then you need to start spending time hanging out with other professional speakers. You will learn the most from those who are currently making a living speaking professionally.
- Mind Your Business: Although the speaking part is what people are buying, it’s really a small business that you are running. This means that you need to be taking care of sales, marketing, accounting, etc. Lots of speakers are great speakers but end up failing because they forget to run the business.
Have you ever thought about speaking professionally? Do you know what topic you would speak on? Do you spend time with professional speakers? What have they taught you about the business? What do you think I left off of my list? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.