You might be one of the best speakers out there but if you don’t know how to make money, you will still be a starving speaker.
Do you have dreams of becoming a paid speaker? I did.
I used to be a hip hop street performer in Boston but whenever I saw speakers speak on stage, I was thinking “How the heck did they get booked & paid to speak?” Back then I didn’t know how to get started nor did I know what questions to ask. If you are in this position, I want to help you get over this hurdle by telling you about five different ways you can earn income from professional speaking. And, I have great news for you — you don’t have to choose just one!
Whether you are a coach, author, expert, influencer (whatever you want to call yourself), you can get paid as a speaker.
You need to understand how to develop several revenue streams that allow you to pursue a career you enjoy and still pay the bills.
So where does the money come from?
Here’s my list of five ways you can generate income as a professional speaker:
1. Keynotes, conference presentations, and personal platforms.
This is probably the job most people envision when they think of a paid speaker. Speakers in these fields are paid based on their expertise and ability to draw attendees to an event. If you are a keynote or conference presenter, you’ll be paid a fee for your time.
If you are a personal platform speaker like Tony Robbins, you are the event. Attendees pay to see you on stage and hear what you have to say. Headlining and hosting your own event represents the pinnacle of success for many professional speakers. Not only are you the star of the show, but you can also sell merchandise and other services to your audience.
So, what does this mean? You need learn to position yourself as the go-to expert in your field. Start by hosting workshops in your local community. Be creative. Go to a cafe and ask them if you can host an event, go to a co-working space and say “I got the best workshop for your members!” or go to a Yoga studio and offer a workshop on work life balance.
2. Speaking as a day job.
Some organizations employ professional speakers as brand advocates or ambassadors instead of just drawing names out of a hat when they need to send a representative to make a presentation. I’m just kidding, some of my good friends are called upon to speak on behalf of their organizations and do a great job.
But, often a non-profit or large organization wants a dedicated staffer to serve as the their primary storyteller. For example, Miri Rodriguez serves in this role at Microsoft.
3. The leader of the class. Be a trainer.
Some speakers present full instructional seminars either alone or with a group of other speakers. This role is similar to that of a keynote speaker but usually takes more time and requires a more detailed presentation. It is a lot like hosting your own event, except someone else is paying to rent the space.
This is a great gig if you enjoy sharing information and teaching but not managing the logistics of organizing an event.
For example, in one of my previous jobs, they brought in the Disney Leadership Training Crew (Yes, Disney is dominating everything) and there were two leadership trainers that facilitated a 2-day leadership workshop for us. What’s the difference between a keynote speaker and a trainer? Keynote speakers often offer the big ideas which makes you go “Woh, I’m going to tweet that.”, while trainers offer nitty-gritty details that helps you understand the process.
4. Packaging your knowledge and expertise.
Many speakers are able to develop multiple revenue streams by creating different forms of content based on their knowledge and expertise. For example, if you know a lot about creating great user experiences, you might be asked to speak about UX at a digital marketing conference. But, then you’ve only shared your knowledge with the conference attendees.
If you expand on that information to create an ebook, webinar, course, book, podcast, then you can share your knowledge with more individuals and earn ongoing income from your product sales.
5. Share your knowledge live and in-person. Your services.
Not every professional speaking gig has to be before a large audience. Personal coaching, consulting, and other smaller knowledge sharing venues are a good way to stay busy and continue to earn income between bigger speaking gigs.
I love speaking before a crowd, but it is also very satisfying to help a single individual reach his or her goals by providing coaching and other services. Being able to take some time off the speaking circuit and meet with clients one-on-one lets me enjoy the best of both worlds — and you can too.
You Do You
These are just a few of the ways that you can generate income. But they aren’t the only ways. It seems like there are new innovations and opportunities popping up every day. So don’t be afraid to try something new. Who knows? You might have the next great idea! Be yourself, value yourself, and enjoy the rewards.
Kit Pang is a Communication Expert, TEDx, Inbound and Keynote speaker, and the Founder of BostonSpeaks. He is on a mission to help individuals become exceptional speakers and communicators. Kit’s seminars and talks have been credited as super fun, engaging, soul-searching and insightful. www.bostonspeaks.com | @KitPangx, @Boston_Speaks