As a business owner, you have a wealth of experience and knowledge at your fingertips. So, why not get paid to share that knowledge with others? A speaking career is a great way to help others grow their businesses while also improving your own career. Seasoned public speakers are well paid, but it takes time to reach that level. If you’re interested in expanding your business to become known as a paid public speaker, below are some steps to get you there.
Speak For Free At First
Any professional speaker will tell you that they did numerous free speaking gigs before they were hired for their first paid speaking gig. The hard part is just getting your foot in the door. When I started speaking, even the public library that I went to all the time turned me down, saying they already had a personal finance expert who came to talk regularly. I couldn’t even get other public libraries to call me back. (It really is amazing how no one returns calls these days!) However, the more I reached out to people, including other business owners, I learned that there are many opportunities to speak including at Chamber of Commerce meetings, events for entrepreneurs at co-working spaces, and more. A few friends of mine even allowed me to speak at events they were holding. All of this allowed me to get a professional speaking demo reel on my website, which is integral if you want to get hired to speak.
The great thing about getting a speaking gig – any speaking gig – is that you never know who is in the audience. Many professional speakers have told me that their gigs often come from people in the audience at their events. So, even if you are speaking for free somewhere, it could lead to a paying gig down the road.
Relentlessly Pitch Your Services
You might have a great website and even a great speaker demo video, but it won’t do you any good if no one ever sees it. If you want to get paid to speak about your business knowledge you need to do your research. Spend some time online looking at other speakers who talk about what you want to talk about. Look at the conferences they’ve been to, the clients they’ve had in the past, and the titles of the talks they give. Gather together a list of conferences and organizations that hire speakers and then start pitching. It’s important to note that booking speaking gigs takes quite a long time. Typically, event planners book speakers months in advance, so it might be a while before you see your paycheck.
Try, Try, and Try Again
Much like running a business, branching off to become a paid speaker on all business topics will be a bumpy road. There will be highs and lows as well as a lot of rejection. However, if you have a passion for sharing your business knowledge and you want to pursue the route of being a paid speaker, it’s absolutely possible if you’re willing to put in the work, pitch potential clients, and continue to try, try, and try again.