How does someone become a paid professional speaker? Some people see it as a glamorous profession offering travel, fame and fortune. Others believe they have something important to share. All of them have one thing in common. They have no
idea where to go, what to do or how to get started.
This booklet is not intended to be the ultimate training guide for speakers. It will, however, address some of the questions I’ve been asked over the years and outline some of the things to think about as you develop a business plan and set your goals. I have shared some of the basic information that I have learned – from great mentors, from my own mistakes, from observing other successful speakers, by joining speaker organizations and by reading articles, books and blogs from coaches, speakers and business leaders.
The successful professional speaker must think of him or herself as a business person. Your speaking career is a business and should be treated as one. Yes, you are an educator and an entertainer as well, but most of all, you must be a smart business person.
Many speakers feel successful if they are able to fill their calendars each year with the same number of appearances as they did the year before. If they are able to add more appearances than the previous year, they believe their careers to be growing and thriving. They might possibly be earning a good living doing it that way. My business philosophy is a bit different. My recommendation is to think in terms of both speaking AND residual income. While a speaker may increase his/her income by doing more or better paid bookings each year, the fact remains that it is the speaker who must personally fulfill the engagement in order to create the income.
It is my hope that by having this information early in your speaking career, it will make your climb to success a little easier.