You can’t wake up one day and say, “Okay, today I’m going to be a speaker and start booking major speaking gigs.” Well, actually you can do that, and I know people who have come to me on that very day in their business. And I’m going to tell you what I’ve told them.
In most cases it doesn’t happen like that. Not unless you’re famous – or infamous, but that’s a tangent for another time.
Back to you and your need to grow your speaking business.
You have most likely been thinking about this business step or change for quite a while. And even if today is the day you woke up and said “Today is the day!”, you still need to go from step A, B and to C in launching and then building a speaking business. When missing crucial steps, speakers inevitably backtrack, or even have to start over completely. This only serves to make them frustrated and feel like giving up. Sadly, some don’t even start again. This always makes me sad, because I believe with all of my heart. that anyone dedicated person can turn their calling and message into a successful speaking business.
It takes a lot of commitment and work, but it can be done.
While it’s not the end of the world if it’s not done right the first time, I can tell you that there are tried and true things a speaker can do to give his business the best chance of success.
Many people ask, “How do I grow as a speaker?”. There’s lots of advice out there – and some of it is truly out there, but there are some good tips, too. Plan. Practice. Engage with your audience. Perfect your body language. Pay attention to your audience’s body language. Cope with your nerves. Never give up. Don’t take no for an answer. The advice is endless and everywhere. While these are all great tips for a speaker, they leave out one crucial piece of wisdom. How to actually grow your speaking business.
For nearly two decades I have been helping speakers with this very challenging but rewarding pursuit – Growing their speaking business, often from scratch (otherwise known as the day they woke up and decided they were going to be a public speaker) into a successful and sustainable business. If you’re reading this, it’s no accident and I think I can help you, too.
My core piece of advice to grow your speaking business has always been built around the idea that you must become known for “that one thing”, then position yourself as the go-to expert on that one thing in that specific market. This is called your niche and I will tell you niching yourself is the bedrock of the speaking business that you woke up from your dreams about.
I can hear you saying to your screen right now, “Yeah, but how do I do that?!”
Breathe. Then stick with me a little longer, because if I know one thing for certain, it is this: When a speaker starts or redirects her business with the idea clear in mind that she is going to become known for the one thing she is most passionate about sharing with others and positions herself as the expert in that field, she’s made it and will draw on that for a lifetime.
Don’t be all over the place. Specialize don’t generalize. Create content (a lot of it), be consistent, because consistency builds trust. It builds authority and increases your visibility within your market. Genuinely seeking to help people not expecting anything in return is like sprinkling magic fairy dust over your entire business. Call it Karma. Blessings. Attraction. Whatever you call it, determining your message and serving others through the devoted delivery of it is your key to the fruitful future you’re envisioning for yourself.
So, my top 7 ways to start positioning yourself are:
Niche yourself. (Of course!) Niche. Niche. Niche. Dig deep, too. Be clear. Be a specialist. Know your “thing” and own it. One audience, even an audience of that one person you’re trying to reach. Keep them in mind and you will see results.
Put yourself out there. People want to connect with humans not brands or brand colors, or logos, they want you. Come out from behind the computer and welcome them into your world because your story, your uniqueness is what attract your audience who are the people you are meant to serve.
Create content on a regular basis. Not just once every 5 months, or even 5 weeks, bi-weekly is a minimum and weekly is better. Create blog posts, podcasts, videos, be a guest on podcasts, speak for free (in your market), be social and genuinely engage to get engagement, create a mailing list with an opt in. Create courses, trainings, free challenges, member sites, get on TV, radio, in publications and build your platform as the expert in your niche.
do. ONE. thing. at. a. time. Complete it and move on. Do not get stuck on a hamster wheel or in chasing the shiny object syndrome because what happens is you become overwhelmed and when we are overwhelmed, we quit. What I have been saying since 2002 in working with speakers is to take baby steps and don’t skip. Remember no business was built over night. This is a journey you are going on, not an overnight adventure.
Resolve for unity in your marketing. Do not confuse potential planners and decision-makers. When you know your “thing”, own it and stamp it on everything. Your marketing material, social media, everything you put out there needs to stay on brand, stay consistent. This builds trust and they start to know what they can expect from you. You begin the KLT (Know. Like. Trust.) factor which is key. But remember, as I said above, it’s you they want to connect to. The unity in your marketing only eases anxiety and clarifies your vision as you share with them.
Gather testimonials and success stories. This is a must. So, if you need to speak for free, or coach for free in the beginning, that is what you do. Testimonials and stories shared by those you’ve helped are a very powerful marketing tool. I can’t think of anything more powerful actually. Set your pride aside and get out there even if there’s no immediate paycheck. You’re building your platform and that’s going to position you for bigger and repeating paydays in your future. The speaker who is humble and generous is his own best PR Manager. Be careful in building relationships with planners and people, because favorable word of mouth is your most precious asset.
Create a process, steps in a program, a success path, that will solve your audience problems and roadblocks and then market the heck out of it. You’ve been working on the steps above and doing well building your online presence and email list of followers. Take the next step and offer them your insights and personal attention through a course or program that lays out the steps to success you’ve researched and know will work for them. You’re here to serve and help people, and this is a great way to reach them, especially during these days of COVID-19 and the downturn we’ve seen in some speaking sectors. But I would be telling you this no matter what is going on, because when you create your online program or course, you start to tap into residual income that actually accumulates while you sleep.
And that’s important, because you need your rest, so you can wake up on that future day, and say, “Okay, today I am going to give back in a major way to make the world a better place.”
Isn’t that why you got into this business in the first place?
If you are ready to learn, share, network, mind-hive, and grow I invite you to join us in our Grow Your Speaking Biz Facebook group today. You will be glad you did.