How to Make Money from Public Speaking

Now is a great time to learn how to make money from public speaking. Speakers’ fees have increased with demand, and median income for public speakers stands at nearly double the national average. Expertise, a personal brand and strong speaking skills pay. So how do you get started in a public speaking career?

First, your big leap forward might require a step back. Even if your public speaking experience has won over audiences, turning it into a career requires sober reassessment. Here are some tips from the Success Speakers Bureau to help you get started making money as a public speaking professional:

Define yourself, your niche and your brand.

When seeking financial backing for a new product or service, the first questions investors often ask you include:

  • How is it useful?
  • What outcomes do buyers gain from your product?
  • How is it different from others like it on the market?

To make money as a public speaker, the questions are nearly the same. The difference is, the product is you.

To make money as a public speaker, think of yourself as a full package. You are the product, the brand, the packaging and even the company history. It’s not enough to have excelled in business or to be a guru in sales, communications or well-being. You need to develop your niche, too. What is your angle? How does your path to success differ from others? Did you face unusual obstacles along the way, and how did you overcome them? Relatable, funny and relevant anecdotes come in handy for any public speaker by helping to define and set you apart as unique and engaging.

Have the logistics ready to earn money as a public speaker.

As with any venture, starting out can take time. But when you finally gain traction, your vehicle may seem to leap miles ahead all at once. Be ready for it!

Don’t wait until your first event before building out your social media, website and other digital channels. Put everything out there that you can, and keep it aligned with your vision and brand. Not only will it help you develop your brand, but you’ll also learn what audiences respond to most. Starting out, you may consider taking time- and cost-saving shortcuts. Resist that temptation whenever possible. Presentation doesn’t just matter onstage, but on your website and social media, too. 

Additionally, be ready with a trusted agency to handle your booking and logistics. Handling these yourself takes time away from money-earning work.

Take every opportunity to hone your craft as a professional speaker.

The role of a paid, professional speaker in some ways resembles that of a comedian. You will write, edit and rehearse your material. You will spend time on the road, too. But most importantly, you will work out your presentations in front of live audiences. Even the most famous celebrity comedians play small clubs. It’s not because they need the money. They are honing their craft—getting it just right—before the next HBO or Netflix special.

Likewise, a novice professional speaker-for-hire needs to work out the kinks of their presentations. No opportunity is too small to better understand what audiences respond to and what falls flat. Appearances on podcasts and local radio or at graduations, club dinners and brunches each provide an opportunity to hone your craft. Even voice-overs for radio and animated digital ads help you develop your pacing, cadence and confidence as a professional speaker.

What can you earn as a paid public speaker?

Income for paid public speakers seems limitless. Top speakers can earn tens of thousands of dollars from a single booking. But that’s not where they started. Experience builds on itself, and you need to constantly aim higher and improve. Greater demand for your services equals not only more speaking opportunities, but higher rates, too. Growing your demand may include starting your own podcast, developing downloadable eBooks, blogging and accepting guest appearances that fit your niche. It may even mean writing your own book. Each of these can help build on demand and increase revenue.

A novice speaker may earn $1,500 to $5,000 per event while celebrity speakers can charge $25,000 to $100,000 per event. From there, earnings largely depend upon your time, drive and ambition. If you are truly passionate about starting a career as a public speaker, now is a great time to get started as demand strengthens across the industry.

Get started on your public speaking career.

As with any venture, a career as a public speaker requires keeping the consumer in mind. Yes, the booking process should be simple for you. But it also needs to be simple for those seeking to hire you. That’s where the Success Speakers Bureau makes starting your career as a speaker easy. We are more than a trusted resource for top business professionals—we are also a full-service bureau for event professionals with a vast relationship network. Our engagement process handles the booking logistics for you and for your clients. That way, you can focus on what you do best knowing that your clients receive equal care and ease of booking. Join in-demand speakers such as Anne Grady, Erin King, Jay Shetty and dozens more of our top corporate speakers.

See be a Success Speaker to get started on your next and best career!

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