How to make money as a public speaker
If you want to make money as a public speaker, you need to forget about social media and quick-fixes. It takes disciplined work, but if you take a small step every day, you can get there faster than you think.
Talking in front of large crowds of people is how you make money as a public speaker. Logically, the next question is how to get on stage. For most, the road to that spot can be very long. This is not simply a matter of talent, also speaking is just not fair. The jobs, as well as the income, is very unequally distributed between people. In other words, some people book all the gigs, the rest fight for the leftovers. Understanding this dynamic is how you make money as a public speaker.
Our data (and we have a lot of that) speaks this truth like a bold neon sign in sub-zero night air: Very few speakers get the majority of requests. If you are already a popular speaker, it is easy to run a speaking business. If not, you still have work to do. You will get there and you will make money as a public speaker.
Bureaus cannot do all the work
What is interesting is that the distribution pattern shows how bureaus or agencies are mostly victims of client demand, and unable to impact the distribution of jobs significantly. That is, they cannot distribute gigs more equally between speakers. Typically clients already approach bureau with a speaker in mind. That is hardly surprising if you think about it: how often do you go shopping without having a pretty good idea of what you need?
It sounds fundamental. It is. It is also an essential insight for anyone trying to break into speaking. Do not put all your efforts into getting an agency as the first thing. It will consume energy and time, that will give a more significant return elsewhere. As a secondary thing, it shows that you can't afford to sit around and wait for that call. It probably won't ever come.
(In our free journal we look at this in relation to speaker directories - read more on that here)
Make money as a public speaker
Get to work. List small wins that will someday equal up to having a great speaker career. You need to get on stage to make money as a public speaker. That means you need someone to know about your work. But since the internet is full of ten-cents-prophets you can't simply participate in the internet shouting factory.
Spend some energy getting free gigs, or making a showreel showing you on stage. You can also go to Squarespace or WordPress and build a simple website. Go to events and say hi to people. Strike up a conversation at trade fairs. Make a long list in a notebook of everyone who could be potential customers in a year. Find the contact information and reach out. Be prepared to learn how they see the world. Perfect your pitch and websites accordingly. This is what you need to do to make money as a public speaker. For more tips on this, visit out LinkedIn Group
Doing these things will be a better way to spend your time than trying to kick in the doors of agencies and bureaus. And much, much better than trying to win customers by going through social media channels. We have more on that in our reports.