By Donna L. Johnson
When you take the entrepreneurial route of working from home, you have to explore every possible money-making avenue. Diversifying your income streams is a must, and public speaking is one way to go about it without huge financial risks and overhead expenses.
But, how do you get started? Let's dig a bit deeper into this subject.
Picking a Topic.
If you blog, look at your most read posts to get an idea of what people are interested in reading. Chances are if it's worth them coming to your site to view a few hundred times, it's worth putting together a presentation on the same subject matter. Another way to figure out a topic is by examining the questions you're most frequently asked. Since you've already taken the time to answer (probably more than once), you have the content for your talk.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself in the process:
- What subjects have I studied?
- What fields have I worked in?
- What skills and expertise do people seek me out for?
- Do I have training in a specific niche or industry?
Your list may look something like this when you're finished:
- I hold a degree in _______. I'm a licensed _______.
- I have over 10 years experience as a manager/leader.
- I built a profitable direct sales business within twelve months.
- I've established an online presence and grew my audience with no advertising spend.
Organizations want speakers who have real-life hands-on experience. Just because you've read a book on something or listened to someone else speak on a subject doesn't make you qualified to teach it. It's not enough for you to be the subject matter expert – you have to be passionate about it too.
Unlike a college professor, a public speaker doesn't need a formal education. Having said that, if you have accolades and have received recognition in the areas you're speaking on, be sure to include it in your marketing materials. This might be enough to give you an advantage over the next person.
Contrary to what you may believe, you won't become a master speaker by practicing in front of the bathroom mirror. The only way you'll move from good to great is by doing it. Speaking in front of an audience. Determine what you're good at and then tell folks what they'll get out of hearing you talk about it.
Where does your potential audience hang out? Meet them where they are. Don't wait for them to find you. Tap into your networks and solicit their help with spreading the word. Create a marketing plan and promote your services.
Decide on a Platform
What's the best way to deliver your message? Since you're just starting out, don't make the mistake I did of renting a meeting space and hiring a videographer. I did that back in 2008, and only three people showed up. My suggestion is to start off with a teleseminar. Nothing fancy, just a bridge line and a good phone connection. As your audience grows, you can graduate up to an interactive webinar.
Set Your Rates
As a newbie speaker, you'll be asked to speak at a slew of non-paid gigs. That's okay in the beginning. Remember – you're getting practice. Since we're looking at this as a means of making money, you need to set a cap on the number of free speaking engagements (either live or virtual) you're willing to do. My rule is three free local appearances per calendar year on a first-come-first-served basis. I give priority to events promoting a charitable cause. Create a fee schedule early on, so it's ready when the time comes. Even if an organization reaches out to you and says they don't have a budget for speakers (this is extremely common), state your fee and why you deserve to be paid for your time.
Are you already offering your expertise by speaking? If so, what public speaking tips do you have for those just starting out? Have you thought about adding public speaking to your list of services, but haven't yet? What's the biggest challenge stopping you?
Donna L. Johnson, is The Unemployed Entrepreneur® and has been blogging for The Work at Home Woman since January 2010. Summary of professional experience: 15 jobs by the age of 22. Her written word hustle is a mix of business street smarts, lifestyle, and controversy. She takes a stand on things she’s passionate about without being afraid of backlash. When Donna isn’t writing, speaking, and reading, she visualizes being on the set of her dream job as a TV talk show host. Follow her journey at www.iHiredMe.net and hit her up on Twitter: @iHiredMe.