Finding ways to leverage your knowledge into professional opportunities is common. It is the basis for salary negotiations and is a fundamental part of working as an educator. However, you don’t have to hold a traditional job or work for an educational institution to share your knowledge for pay.
Many professionals find great success as public speakers. But, it isn’t the easiest profession to break into. If you are interested in turning your knowledge into an event that people are willing to pay for the privilege of attending, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Understanding Speaker Fees
Speaker fees include all of the revenue a speaker receives for a speaking engagement. This fee is negotiated before the event, often with the event’s sponsor, and can be based on per hour, per speech, per day, or per event fee structure. At times, additional items such as hotel stays and required flights are also included in the discussion.
The amount of money a speaker can command is often based on their level of expertise and how popular they are within the public speaking sector. Top-billed motivational speakers can often require fees at $5,000 per engagement or higher. Celebrities and former politicians have earned fees upwards of $200,000 for a single appearance.
2. Marketing your Talents
A big part of a speaker’s success is based on their marketing techniques. Just as a resume helps you secure a job, your marketing material is what attracts potential sponsors to your offerings. In many cases, successful speakers also operate websites and blogs that showcase their talents and abilities; these sites often include free content to help attract potential sponsors based on their web searches on the topic.
Professional networking within your niche can also be helpful and may be fairly simple if you currently work in the field that you wish to cover. Attend local events and conferences, and take the time to mingle with those who may be interested in your services.
In some cases, the easiest way to market your skills is to give them away for free. You can let potential sponsors see what you have to offer by taking positions at events dedicated to your preferred topic which can lead to paid offers in the future. This can also be ideal if your subject works well in the non-profit center, as it can help you create positive associations to your personal brand.
3. Speaker Associations and Speakers Bureaus
Many speakers find success while working with a Speakers Association, such as the National Speakers Association. Often, the associations and bureaus help members find speaking engagements, negotiate speaker fees, as well as marketing the member’s availability. They also provide a built-in network of other professionals who may have an interest in your topic of choice.
While membership in such organizations is not required, as you can choose to work independently, it can be helpful to those first entering the public speaking realm. Additionally, you can often belong to an association or bureau while seeking opportunities on your own. This allows you to expand your efforts beyond what you may be able to handle on your own.
4. Courses and Guides
Some noted professionals, such as Jason Hartman, offer insight to those looking to break into the public speaking business. Information is provided on how to find an audience, topic development, event structures, and material delivery. You can also locate information about successful marketing strategies.
Courses, podcasts, and blogs may be available at no cost, while others will charge a fee to access the material. Depending on the material provided, even content for which you had to pay can result in enough professional engagements to justify the expense. Just as you pay for a college education, much of this is no different. Think of it as an investment in your future, and see where it takes you.
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