As the #1 best-selling author of 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking, this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get. And of course, there are at least 21 answers. 😉
But before you can make any money as a speaker you have to do something first. Multiple choice question — What’s your pick for what to do FIRST:
- A: Good marketing? (Yes, but that’s not it.)
- B: Get training in good delivery skills? (Yes, but that’s not it either.)
- C: Develop a fabulous speech? (Getting warmer, but you don’t start there…)
You have to start with doing SOMETHING in your life or professional career that people want to know more about.
Look at the most highly paid speakers in the world today. Here is a partial list with their speaker fees:
- Rush Limbaugh: In 2013, the National Conference of American Proctologists paid Limbaugh $3.8 million for one speech.
- Donald Trump: Reportedly Trump received $1.5 million for The Learning Annex where he delivered 17 one-hour speeches in a 2-year period at real estate conferences and was paid that full amount FOR EACH SPEECH.
- Bill Clinton: Averages $195,000 per speech; with a high of $700,000 received twice for a local newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Tony Blair: Highest earning was $616,000 for 2 30-minute speeches in 2009 in the Philippines.
- Nicole Kidman: Was paid $435,ooo for a 25-minute speech to a group of Forbes Global CEO comference in Sydney, Australia.
- Alan Greenspan: Earned $250,000 speaking at a Lehman Brothers meeting after he retired as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
- Peyton Manning, Richard Branson, Sarah Palin, Lance Armstrong, Al Gore, and more all make $100,000 for a speech.
So what do all those folks have in common? Clearly it’s not their politics. And it’s not what they do for a living. What they have in common is that they have become well-known for what they do in the world. They are athletes, politicians, entertainers, and business professionals who have accomplished something in their careers and people want to know more about that.
Of course, those people are also celebrities in their own right, which is another thing they have in common. If you’re not a celebrity does that mean you can’t be a well-paid speaker? Absolutely not! In fact, many working speakers make a living with their speaking (or use it as a major source of income). To be successful in speaking, you must have done something, studied something, accomplished something in your life that others want to know more about. It’s that simple. And it’s that challenging at the same time.
If you’ve long thought that you are born to be a speaker; that you have a message that’s inside you that you know will serve the world, start by taking a good look as your life and your accomplishments from the standpoint of a meeting planner. Why would someone put you in front of their audience? What do you have to share or offer that could impact people for the better? It’s your unique stories, knowledge, and experiences which will make you stand out, get booked, and be successful in the world of talented speakers.
Start by sharing those stories, knowledge and experiences in any way you can so meeting planners can get a feel for who you are and what you’re about. Here are a few ways to begin:
- Start a blog and on it tell your stories along with a lesson that anyone could learn from reading your story.
- Record a series of how-to videos or FAQ videos that showcase your knowledge using screen capture technology like Camtasia or simply PowerPoint (learn all about that in this free webinar).
- Turn the camera on and look right into the lens and tell one of your stories. Similarly to what you’d do in a blog post, this will share what happened, what you learned, and what others can take away from your story. Think of it as practice before getting on stage. Post the video on your speaker website, on your YouTube channel and on social media so people see it and share it themselves.
If you feel like you haven’t yet accomplished anything or have something of value to share with an audience, don’t be so sure. If God put the feeling on your heart that you have a message to share, then you do. It might take some serious reflection and journaling time, a little digging to get there, a bit of refinement of the story and the message, but you likely have SOMETHING inside you that needs help getting out. If you’re not sure what your unique genius is yet, it’s time to find out (and I have a free webinar which talks all about your genius factor that you can watch starting right this minute!).
What’s your story? What’s your message? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!