The ability to sway an audience with the power of words is a gift that some possess and many would like to have. If you’re one of the lucky ones that can do just that without losing your cool, a public speaking business might be the best way to harness that natural or hard-earned talent. Making a living as a public speaker or public speaking consultant can be quite lucrative and enjoyable at the same time. If that sounds like the job for you, keep reading.
Define Your Wheelhouse
Starting a public speaking business is a bit unorthodox for most, so you’ll need to decide on a focus before you get started. Before you begin, come up with a list of professional skills and personal interests that you can center your business around. Taking your career and extending it to speaking is a natural move. Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, electrician or dairy farmer, you’ve no doubt got plenty of experience to draw from and use.
Square Away the Red Tape
Before you start to give public speeches or coach others on how to do so, you’ll of course have to deal with all the freelance details first. On the funding front, it doesn’t usually take much to start a public speaking business. If you do need advice on funding or any other aspect of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, the Small Business Administration is a great resource. Of course, a business license good for your city or state is a must. Founding an LLC or S Corporation may also be a good idea.
To start, it’s important that you remember that public speaking isn’t always the easiest market to break into. Speaker fees for seasoned professionals can begin at $2,000 or more minus expenses such as travel. Getting those first few jobs is tough, so be sure to polish your act and create demo tapes to distribute to potential clients. Money-back guarantees go a long way in securing your first paying jobs. Join a group like Toastmasters International or similar guilds to receive guidance.
Marketing & Networking
During the first few months, it’ll be important to make as many connections as you can. Of course, social business sites like LinkedIn and Google+ are key. Besides digital marketing, you can raise your profile by reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce as well as organizations like Rotary International and so forth to get leads. Speakers’ bureaus are another way to play it. Speakers’ bureaus maintain a roster of speakers for businesses and organizations seeking speaking talent for their events. They’ll charge you up to 20% of your fee but can get you plenty of jobs.
Build Out Your Business
Especially when it comes to public speaking, the market can be fickle. Even when you’ve managed to hit on the right formula for your own public speaking business, you must never rest on your laurels. Instead of speaking on your own, work on creating your own seminars and workshops where you can grab more of the box office draw. Work with other public speakers to build synergy and create a billing that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Lifelong Profits Await
Overcoming the fear that most associate with public speaking is the hardest part of making a living at this business. If you can do that, you’ve unlocked the door to lifelong profits that aren’t dependent on mercurial economic trends. As your business grows and evolves, you’ll no doubt find that your specific focus will necessarily have to change as the years go by. With the right mix of bravado and determination, however, one can carve out a niche as an accomplished public speaker.