How do you get paid as a professional speaker?
Where does the money come from, and how does it work?
Here are seven different ways that you can get paid as a speaker.
1: SPEAKING FEE
You get paid for your time. That may seem obvious, but believe it or not, that is the least common way to get paid for speaking.
Because the other six methods work much better at scale and can generate a lot more revenue.
In this method, speakers are not trying to get paid to speak or trying to sell a book or a course at the end of their speech, they’re speaking to drive leads to their business.
They’re trying to drive people to buy the service that they already have, not creating a new one.
3: SELLING TO CUSTOMERS AT THE BACK OF THE ROOM
This means selling a book or course on site after you’re done speaking. In the beginning, the speaker would present for free, then they would sell a $20 self-published book at the back of the room.
But don’t be fooled, it’s a lot more work to create books that you can only sell for $20 than it is to sell a ticket to a half-day training for $100 or $200.
Once I realized that, we started our first company.
We used to speak for free and sell tickets.
Then we figured out that we could speak for free and we didn’t even have to sell a one day ticket, we could just sell a coaching program.
That was the business model that we used to create a business that generates more than $10 million a year in revenue.
4: GET VIDEO FOOTAGE
There were times early in my career where I would take gigs for free or highly discounted, just because I needed the video footage.
That’s because the number one reason you get hired to speak is because somebody has seen you speak.
But the number two reason is that you have great video footage where people can watch you on stage.
How do I get invited on stages when I don’t have a video of me on stage?
Speak for free to get the video footage and use it to get more paid engagements.
Inside a Brand Builders Group, we have an amazing partner that can get you a half a million dollar stage with full LED lighting, six cameras, and a live audience of a few hundred people and you can actually pay to get 20 minutes on that stage.
Even if you’re not a member of ours, you can check out that partner if you go to brandbuildersgroup.com/brandamplifiers.
I’ll never forget when I asked Joe Callaway, my mentor and a Hall of Fame speaker, “When’s the right time to contact a speakers’ bureau?”
He said, “When you can send them a killer demo video and a stack of 100 testimonial letters.”
So whether it’s working with speakers’ bureaus or not, if a client’s going to hire you to speak, they need testimonials.
Our Personal Brand National Research Study showed that the number one thing clients look at before hiring you is testimonials from other customers.
If you’re going to speak for free, ask for a testimonial letter as your form of compensation.
The better job you do as a speaker, the more likely you are to get referrals. Why is that important?
Because these referrals will either open up business opportunities or give you the chance to speak somewhere else.
Either way, more revenue will be generated.
AJ once bartered two couches, and an entire custom closet for speaking fees.
You can also barter for travel by saying, “Let my wife and kids stay with me at the hotel,” or anything else you want.
It’s not just about getting speaking fees, it’s about, “How do you generate money from speaking?”
A speech is your best marketing asset.
It’s better than a website, social media or a podcast.
If you have a great speech, you have a way for people to hear about, sample, and do business with you.
I hope you take these seven mechanisms and you make the most out of them in your business as part of going out and making a bigger impact in the world.