Successful solopreneurs mostly have several strategies in place that provide multiple streams of income and/or passive income. One well-recognized way to add revenue is through paid public speaking gigs. It may not work for entrepreneur, and you may think it can’t work for you; but for those who can overcome their fear, it’s a revenue stream that can add dollars to your bottom line.
Before you discount paid public speaking opportunities completely, think about this: as an entrepreneur, you have knowledge, skills, and expertise that conference attendees would pay to learn. What you do every day in your business is what you could speak about on stages all over the globe. The fear of public speaking is real for most people. But don’t entrepreneurs tend to do the things that are well outside our comfort zone? And, make them work for us?
Settle in and read this entire article before you discard the idea of paid public speaking. Give it a study, and then give it a try. You may be surprised where it can lead you!
Realize and Promote Your Foundational Expertise
Conference organizers book experts. They are looking for credentials that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise on a topic. You possess marketable knowledge and skills – how else have you succeeded as an entrepreneur? Establish just what is your foundational expertise. What do you do regularly and well to succeed at your particular business? If you know how to do it well enough to earn a comfortable living, then you know something others want to learn.
After determining your foundational expertise, you have to begin promoting that expertise. You need to demonstrate to the world that you are an expert, currently operating a business successfully, and are available to share your hard-earned wisdom with others – for a price. That means making available some solid content that demonstrates your expertise. There are several good platforms through which you can do this.
You doubtless have a website in place for your business. Just add a page about your speaking availability and credentials. What credentials do you possess? How about your book (see below), published articles (keep reading), and the fact that you have operated a successful business for (fill in the blank) years? Tout your stuff and include a professional photo of yourself. A candid (but sharp) photo of you in a public speaking venue is also a plus.
There are certainly distinct advantages to writing a book to promote your business and industry credibility. Books add a high level of credibility to your professional profile. A helpful tome (or several) on your area of expertise gives those seeking speakers tangible proof of your knowledge. Plus, the word “author” on your LinkedIn profile and website can change the way you are perceived. You’ve written a book; you must be an expert.
Published articles about topics relating to your industry or business also help establish your credibility. Publishing articles in online publications on platforms like Medium can also help you gather an audience for your writing and build a mailing list, also important for promoting your business and speaking availability. Plus, with Medium, you can earn additional revenue by writing and posting quality material that others find helpful. There is another stream of income to explore!
Videos & Podcasts
Videos and podcasts have a huge popularity and many people get their content fix through these mediums. Don’t neglect them, especially as you hone your public speaking skills. These not only give you additional platforms to share your expertise, but they showcase your speaking skills as well.
Hone Your Public Speaking Skills
While you’re working to establish your public credibility, you should also be working on your speaking skills. You can watch or listen to great speakers and model what you see working for them. You can hire a speaking coach or take an online course about public speaking.
You can also build your skills while getting social media and credentials as a speaker. You can speak at local Meetup events about almost any topic. These won’t be paid, but it’s a great way to get practice and video of yourself speaking that you can put on your website.
Here are some public speaking tips:
Nervousness Is Normal. Practice and Prepare!
The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Take the time to go over your notes several times. Once you have become comfortable with the material, practice—a lot. Videotape yourself, or get a friend to critique your performance.
Know Your Audience.
Before you begin to craft your message, consider who the message is intended for. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.
Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It.
Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.
Let Your Personality Come Through.
Be yourself, don’t become a talking head—in any type of communication. You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through, and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.
Use Humor, Tell Stories, and Use Effective Language.
Inject a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention. Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech. A story can provide that.
Don’t Read Unless You Have to. Work from an Outline.
Reading from a script or slide fractures the interpersonal connection. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you keep the focus on yourself and your message. A brief outline can serve to jog your memory and keep you on task.
Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively.
Nonverbal communication carries most of the message. Good delivery does not call attention to itself, but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction.
Grab Attention at the Beginning, and Close with a Dynamic End.
Use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or concise quotation. Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.
Use Audiovisual Aids Wisely.
Too many can break the direct connection to the audience, so use them sparingly. They should enhance or clarify your content, or capture and maintain your audience’s attention.
Go Hunting for Opportunities
Now that you’re prepared, don’t wait for the world to find you. Go hunting for speaking opportunities and share the evidence of your credibility. Put together a professional Speaker’s Sheet and have plenty of them available for distribution. Make it available on your website speaker’s page and share the digital link in all your communications.
Conference Directory Websites
You can also target conference directory websites to find events happening all over the world and pitch the organizer. There is no shortage of conferences happening daily.
Industry Training Websites
A great place to book your first gig is by targeting industry associations and their events. There are a ton of different types of industry association events covering every topic. You can find one that fits what your business teaches.
Another great route is to speak at Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Clubs. These are business organizations. You can get video and testimonials, and you can walk away with business when you do a good job. It’s a great way to build skill, get exposure, and start adding some revenue.
It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. Take your skills and knowledge to stages all over the world and add another revenue stream to your business. There will also be opportunities to pitch your goods and services from the stage, or at the back of the room after your presentation.
Are you ready to use this opportunity to expand your business? Our readers would love to hear about your speaking experiences, of if you have suggestions for landing speaking gigs. Share your ideas and comments below.