How to Make Money Public Speaking: 9 Steps To Earn $10,000+
Making money public speaking sounds like a dream. After all, earning $10,000+ per speaking gig can get you places you never imagined possible. But many of us often wonder if this is attainable. You could probably count the number of professional speakers you know personally on one finger. But, what if we told you the path to paid speaking is more feasible than you think?
What if we told you the path to paid speaking is more feasible than you think?
After helping several speakers land $10,000+ paid gigs, we’ve decided to write an article that can help you do just that. Learn the steps you need to take to become a professional speaker. Find available gigs, negotiate a speaking fee and start your speaking career today.
How to Get Paid for Public Speaking
Maybe you’ve tried to get paid to speak before but ran into the common roadblocks we see often. We get it. Most members of our team and clients we’ve worked with have been in your shoes. However, we wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t think you could overcome those challenges.
Below we identify several steps you can take to get paid for public speaking. Regardless of whether you’re new to the speaking game or you’re a seasoned professional, these steps can help you establish your credibility and land more significant deals.
1. Determine What Speaking Phase You’re In
We often come across aspiring professional speakers who ask us how they can make $10,000 per speaking gig. While we want you to dream big, you must first evaluate where you’re at. So, before you dive headfirst into a sea of money-making tips, and buy a bunch of courses on paid public speaking, take a step back and assess the speaking phase you’re actually in.
Potential Speaking Phases:
1. I’m writing an epic speech, but I haven’t given it yet.
2. I’m practicing my speech on any human who will listen to me.
3. If someone pays my Uber, I’ll speak at their event.
4. I’ve given this talk to a well-known audience before, so I want $10k now, or I’m staying in bed for eternity.
5. I am so tired of speaking that I’m just going to lay here on my massive pile of bills like Thought-Leader client Kevin Breel.
When you know what speaking phase you’re in, you can leverage every opportunity that comes your way. For example, if you’re in the phase of practicing, you’ll want to take every free or paid gig that’s available. Meanwhile, if you’re a professional speaker with an established talk, ask for money before giving a gig.
It’s good to note that these phases apply more to the talks themselves than to the speaker’s experience. Even if you’re a professional speaker, you need to repeat steps 2-4 below to give a new speech. The reason for this is because when you’re giving a new talk, you need to take any gig you can get your hands on until your speech becomes recognizable enough others will pay money for it.
2. Solidify Your Message
We’ve found that many people struggle with differentiating between their life story and their speech message. Often individuals get attached to a story. Because of this attachment, they don’t always understand the purpose of their speech. It’s helpful first to identify your target audience, then the problem your speech is trying to solve, and then think about the unique solution your story offers.
Solidifying your message has everything to do with the purpose of your talk and what you’re trying to get the audience to understand by listening to it. Consider how you can get that message across in as few words as possible.
Determine the problem you’re trying to solve for your audience.
Identify a unique solution to your problem.
Envision the boldest impact your idea could have on society.
Remind yourself you are capable of doing more than one talk. You don’t have to shove a lifetime of experience and expertise into one idea.
Determine a clear call to action for the audience.
3. Map Out The Audience’s Emotional Journey
Now that you’ve solidified your message, it’s time to take it a step further by creating an impact with your speech. First, think about the emotions you want your audience to feel during your talk. Then, map out your message based on those emotions. Mapping out your message will help you later when it comes time to practice your talk because you’ll know when to pause for laughter or stop for a moment of silence.
Understanding your audience’s emotional journey enables you to connect and resonate with your viewers in a way you may never have before. Consider this famous quote by best-selling author Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
4. Practice Your Speech
We’ve found the difference between most keynote speakers vs aspiring speakers is how they practice their talks. For example, Jamie Fox is the highest-paid comedian on the planet, and there’s a reason for that. He once told an interviewer he practices two years before giving his paid bit to any audience.
While most beginners practice their speeches all the way through, several times, keynote speakers practice their talk in sections based on audience emotion. That’s because individuals with speaking careers often realize that practicing your talk based on emotional sections enables you to serve your audience as much as possible.
As a public speaker, you can take one story or element from your talk and practice until it evokes the emotions you want out of your future audience. For instance, when you’re meeting a friend at the coffee shop or talking with your partner, bring up a section of your talk.
The reality is If you don’t get the reaction you want from one person you’re talking to, you’ll never get it from an audience. So, practicing your talk based on emotional sections enables you to tweak your talk, which has the effect you want. With the proper practice, you can become a world-class speaker in no time.
5. Overcome Self-Doubt
Thought-Leader President, business owner, and multi-time TEDx Talk presenter, Taylor Conroy never thought he’d be in the business of speaking. Before Taylor gave his infamous TEDx talk: How to Build a School in 3 Hours, he was a firefighter, $20,000 in debt, and terrified to speak to more than two people at a time.
For years, thoughts like these held Taylor back from joining the speaking circuit:
I have a fear of public speaking.
I’m not good enough or intelligent enough to impact the world.
Who am I to be on stage? I am not an expert on the subject matter.
But once Taylor realized the impact he could have on others by overcoming self-doubt, things started to change. Taylor landed his first TEDx talk and raised enough money to build 300+ schools in India, Kenya, Nicaragua, and China.
Even though Taylor has now spoken at Cornell University, NYU, and Disney, he still gets nervous before each gig. However, the difference is that he now understands his purpose.
Each time Taylor Conroy’s inner critic rises, he reminds himself that he has something unique to offer the world. Overcoming self-doubt and ignoring negative inner thoughts gave Taylor the financial freedom to get out of debt, help others, and make $10,000-$20,000 per speaking gig.
6. Give A TEDx Talk
Regardless of the tips, tricks, and practicing to become a paid speaker, if you don’t have one good talk, the rest doesn’t matter. Most people think you need thousands of social media followers or years of expertise to become a paid speaker. However, the truth is if you want to get in front of the right people, all you need is one high-quality filmed talk.
TEDx talks are a great way to get in front of the right audience and leverage yourself into the spotlight. For example, our client, Eli Nash, got paid speaking gigs, celebrity collaborations, local press, major press, and credibility from giving one TEDx talk online.
Likewise, our client Mike Iskandar made $8,400 within one day of his TEDx talk going live. Mike doesn’t have thousands of followers or millions of views. Mike’s TEDx talk currently has 4,000 YouTube views. However, Mike has already received several speaker bookings and consulting gigs due to his talk going live
7. Be Open-Minded To Various Speaking Engagements
Odds are 99% of the gigs you speak at you’ll never have heard of before. However, there are gold mines of speaking engagements that one person usually can’t fathom. To reach these gold minds and your paid speaking potential, you’ll want to be open to the opportunities out there.
For example, here are some different types of speaking opportunities you probably didn’t know existed:
There are also dental associations, alcoholics anonymous, conferences, businesses, and hundreds of other opportunities in existence. Aside from this, you have in-person and virtual events to choose from. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the role flexibility plays in helping you meet your goals of becoming a paid speaker.
8. Get Face to Face With Event Organizers
Once you’ve honed in on your message, given a talk, overcome self-doubt, and opened your mind to the possibilities, it’s time to land some paid speaking gigs. To do this, you must build relationships with event organizers. If an organizer reaches out to you about an opportunity, follow up as soon as possible and ask them if you can set up a virtual call with them to learn more about their event.
Before your call, try to learn as much as possible about the event. What’s it about? Who puts it on? Then, when you get face to face with an event organizer, ask them about the event and why they think you fit the experience they are trying to create.
If you align with the event’s purpose and messaging, make that known on your call with the organizer. Offer some examples of work you’ve done, speeches you’ve given, etc., that relate to the conference theme.
9. Learn How to Negotiate A Speaking Fee
Now that you have an event in mind, it’s time to negotiate a speaking fee. But, before you dive into asking budgetary questions, you must understand the number one rule to negotiations: the first person who says a number loses.
The first person who says a number loses
Therefore, when working on a speaker fee, it’s crucial that you first ask the monetary questions. Here are a few to get you started:
- What is your speaker budget?
- How much do you want to pay me?
Once you ask these questions, you can give a budget based on the event planner’s answers. The goal is to multiply what you think you should earn by two or three and give that number to the event planner. The person booking you has a budget that they need to stretch across all speakers. Therefore, the less they pay you, the more they have to pay everyone else. Starting with a substantial number ensures you’re not the speaker paid less than the rest.
It’s good to remember negotiating a speaking fee also depends on what talking phase you’re in. If you’re trying to create a new talk, your goal is to take any gig you can get your hands on. But, if you have an established talk, you can avoid taking gigs less than a set amount you desire.
Final Tip: How to Find Paid Public Speaking Jobs
Now that you know how to make money public speaking, it’s time to start landing gigs. But finding speaking opportunities isn’t always a simple task. If it were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. So, we’ve put together a few tips you can use to find paid public speaking jobs that suit your skillset:
1. Build An Event List
Google top events around your niche
2. Speak On Podcasts
Find top podcasts around your topic and ask to speak on them
3. Work With A Speaker Booker
Speaker bookers look for speakers like you all the time. The more you make yourself known by giving a TEDx talk and getting featured on podcasts, the easier it is for them to find you. Speaker bookers also prefer to make one contract so they can book you for multiple events in a row. One contract and multiple gigs help you avoid research burnout.
4. Find Veins Of Gold
Entrepreneur organizations and other associations like to book one speaker for multiple events. We call these events veins of gold.
If you’ve followed these steps and are still haven’t found speaking gigs, consider attending events like the National Association for Campus Activities. While you might pay $800+ to attend this event, the results will give you back your ROI. Events like these are for colleges and universities looking for speakers. People come, watch you speak, and book you to speak at various events they have.