So You Wanna Get Paid to Speak

By Jane Atkinson

You’ve arrived here at the doorstep of The Wealthy Speaker community, and I’m guessing you’d like to know some secrets on how to get paid to speak (or how to get paid more to speak). Am I right? Well, you’re in luck! Sharing how you can build and grow a speaking business so you can book more gigs at higher fees is what we do!

Let’s start by exploring the 3 Ds to getting paid to speak, which will be the framework of my next book, “So You Wanna Get Paid to Speak” (working title).

The 3 Ds to Getting Paid to Speak

Some of you have been speaking at industry conferences for years.  Perhaps getting paid, or perhaps not. Some of you may be getting ready to exit your full-time jobs and are using speaking as a side hustle.

Regardless of your situation, the good news for those of you who are willing to put in the hard work is that if you follow the right steps, you can have a lucrative career as a professional speaker.

Let’s start by looking at what I call the 3 Ds: Decide, Dream, Deliver.

STEP 1: DECIDE

A big part of moving towards a dream of any kind is deciding just to do it. Move forward.  Take action. Rip the band-aid off.

get paid to speak - decide

For those of you who currently have a full-time job that is paying your bills, leaving to start a speaking career is a scary notion. I get it.  For the most part, there’s security in a job and jumping from that to the unknown can cause a bit of reluctance and anxiety.

If this is your situation, the ideal scenario, in my mind, is to run your speaking as a side hustle until your financially confident to leave. This buys you some time to explore and learn more about the business of speaking. And that’s a big point: Speaking is a Business. If you are able to get familiar with becoming an entrepreneur while you still have a paycheck, that will pay off in the long term.

Another big part of the decision phase is mapping out your expertise.

get paid to speak - mapping out your business

Here at The Wealthy Speaker, we call it picking a lane. You’ll want to choose a topic area that you:

  1. are passionate about
  2. you can get paid for

Do you have clarity on that?  If not and you need help, reach out to us as we have programs designed to help you gain more clarity on your expertise and build your platform.

STEP 2: DREAM

When you start to map out your speaking business, think about it based on what is perfect for you. You are creating your dream business.

get paid to speak - dream

For instance, if you have small children, you might say, “I’m going to speak Monday through Friday and be home for the kids on the weekend.” While that might not be how you start in your business, it could be the ‘dream’ goal. The idea behind “the dream” is to make it perfect for you and don’t worry about how it’s going to happen just yet. The “how” can come later.

Imagine yourself getting handed a paycheck that makes you squeal like a little kid inside. Imagine there’s a limo waiting when you leave your speaking engagement. How cool would this feel? These things may not be a part of your reality just yet, but they’ll be coming.

STEP 3: DELIVER

When mapping out your initial presentation, ask yourself “what do I know a lot about,” and then start auditioning your material to see what makes it into the speech. Not every idea needs to be included.  Often, the first mistake when getting out there to speak is offering too much information.

As soon as you have your content down, you’ll want to practice delivering that material in front of live audiences. This may feel scary, but it’s the first step to getting your business off the ground and needs to be taken.

get paid to speak - deliver

Unless you have some notoriety, or you’ve already been speaking for free, you may need to take your offerings out to the “rubber chicken circuit.” That’s an old term for speeches where you get some exposure to an audience in exchange for a lovely lunch or dinner of hotel chicken. (Back in the day it used to be rubbery, but lucky for you hotel meals have come a long way since then!).

get paid to speak - rubber chicken

The important thing is, testing your material and getting the experience of delivering it in front of an audience.

The good news is that people are deciding to step into the speaking business every day, mapping out their dreams, and delivering awesome content for sometimes very high paychecks. It can be done. You’ll just want to take the right steps from the beginning that are proven to help you get paid to speak.

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