The FASTEST Way to Become a Paid Professional Speaker

Do you want a career as a professional speaker?


Here’s 5 reasons why association gigs are the fastest way to do it!


First, start with associations.

Associations bring people together who all work for different companies, they exist for having meetings, sharing best practices, networking, and creating a community.

Anytime they have a meeting, they’ll need speakers to provide a learning opportunity.

It’s the best way to incentivize people to come together. They need people who can add value to their program.

Whereas in a company, people come together every day anyway.

They may or may not have a meeting, and if they’re having a rough year, one of the first things they cut are meetings. 

Associations can’t cut meetings, so they’re dependent on speakers.

Associations typically don’t have a lot of money.

This might sound counterintuitive, why would you speak at associations if they don’t have the money?

Well, they do have money, but they don’t always have a lot of it, that’s why it’s less competitive!

They’re nonprofit organizations that typically don’t have oodles of cash flowing around to pay a celebrity to speak so they run on a tighter budget, which means that it’s less competitive.

The world-renowned speakers, best-selling authors, high profile executives,… they’re all competing for higher paying gigs.

As an example, I don’t speak at that many associations, mostly because my fee is outside their range.

I’m getting as many speaking gigs as I desire.

That’s why you’re not going to compete with experienced speakers as much in the association market.

 On the other hand, there are really huge associations that are extremely competitive, such as Apple or Oracle.

Technically, they’re associations, higher end ones that have more competition, that’s why if you’re just getting started, it’s good to go to places where you can get momentum and win!

Speaking at associations, you’re in front of a lot of potential prospects, because every person in the audience is from a different company which means they’re people who could hire you.

 But when you speak at a company, they’re employees. It’s less likely that someone is going to hire you to speak for a different company, because they all work for the same organization.

Also, they’re easy to find!

 Look for associations in any industry, narrow them down, figure out which ones are the best.

In fact, one of the benefits that we provide to our members in our monthly Brand Builders Group community at all levels, is proprietary software that scrapes the web searching for associations.

So if you’re one of our clients, make sure you go and use that tool in our portal because it does a lot of that legwork for you in a split second.

 But in general, associations are easy to find. All you have to do is ask people, “are you a part of any association?”

You can Google it, there’s directories of them, they’re trying to be found. Whereas some companies don’t make it public.


 First, in the beginning, you might have to speak for free, that’s something we believe in when you’re starting out.

Speak for free until you generate enough demand in the marketplace to speak for a fee, but often you don’t have to.

The thing is, even though associations don’t have a lot of money, they have a budget for speakers, because they’re essential to the organization.

So many of them have money and they’re willing to spend it because this is why they exist in the first place.

Secondly, target both horizontals and verticals.

What are horizontals and verticals?

 Horizontals are the divisions within one company, and verticals are different companies within one industry.

Rory Vaden quote

For example, a horizontal is if I get booked to speak at a huge organization.

MassMutual was one of our best speaking clients of all time.

I got booked to speak at this MassMutual organization for a gentleman named Michael.

We spoke for his own team inside MassMutual but that was one team of many in the association.

Big companies have many divisions.

There’s the HR annual conference, customer service, sales conferences, leadership programs, executive meetings, incentive trips, they have lots of meetings across many divisions.

That’s working horizontally, you’ll get traction faster because they all know each other and they’ll recommend you to others.

Now, working vertically.

 If I spoke at MassMutual then Northwestern Mutual, I could go to speak to all insurance companies because now I know that industry very well.

And even though they don’t know other people at other companies, they’ll recognize the companies I spoke at, which gives me some credibility in this industry.

 Those are really tactical, strategic, important and valuable tips that will make an immediate difference in terms of your ability to get your speaking career off the ground.

Another tip is to ask yourself, “What’s the story I’m telling myself?”

I was taught this tip by Kindra Hall on Episode 310 of the Influential Personal Brand Podcast!

Is it that no one’s ever going to hire you?

You don’t have enough credentials?

You don’t have enough experience? You don’t have the charisma?

Ask yourself, is that story serving me?

Your job is to choose better stories you tell yourself.

You know what?

You could easily say that no one will hire you because you’re inexperienced, but you can just as easily say that people will hire you because you’re a fresh face —which is legitimately true.

 Some of us speakers have been around for a while and clients are looking for a fresh perspective.

 So you need to have a different story.

Who do you think should be a speaker or wants to be a speaker?

Share this with them because it’ll help them!

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