Want to Become a Professional Speaker?
Almost every week someone like
you asks me
to help them out getting started in the speaking business. I've
created this webpage to direct you to some great resources to help you get started.
Professional Speaking 101
I won't candy coat this. The
speaking business is a tough business. 95% of this business is
selling yourself and marketing yourself to prospective buyers
(meeting planners). Delivering the speech is simply delivering
the product after it's been sold.
If you don't like sales or
cold-calling, or if you can't take rejection, I suggest you do
something else. I'm not trying to scare you away. I'm simply
letting you know how it is.
I'm lucky enough to have a great hook
(Four-time Olympian) and I'm told that I'm a very good speaker.
Even so, I have to work my rear end off to get gigs.
It took me about three years of
consistently and persistently marketing myself (10-12 hours a day) to develop some
good momentum. Along the way I was willing
to try anything; cold-calling meeting planners, internet
marketing, direct mail, anything to get the job done.
The money can be great but you
will work hard for it. There's enough business out there for
anyone that is willing to make the effort. The only competition
I could write a book about how to
build a successful speaking business, but I'd rather spend my
precious time growing my business.
So, rather than rewrite what's already out there, I'll just
refer you to some good sources of information.
Public Speaking Tips from Ruben:
- From a 2006 Interview
conducted by Johnny Blue Star:
Write a Book!
You will need to write a book to make it in this
business. It's a big project but anyone can do it. A book gives you
credibilityand sets you up as the expert because you wrote the book
More information below on how to do it. Self
There's a whole industry of people that prey on beginning
speakers. It's no different than the get rich quick industry. So
be careful before dishing out thousands of dollars on useless
information. Before investing a lot of money make sure the
so-called experts have fruit on the trees. Make sure they have
built successful speaking businesses.
Note: One of the
groups I would stay away from is called International
Speakers Network - www.isnworks.com . Don't give them your
hard earned money.
They called me and wanted me
to pay them $500 for them to represent me like a bureau.
NEVER pay a bureau to represent you. ISN explained the $500
was to pay the cost of putting your information up on their
I asked to speak with the
owner. I told her I do not pay for representation BUT I'd
pay her $500 plus her commission AFTER she booked me. She
didn't go for it!
That told me she didn't
intend to promote me in the first place. After all, with my
Olympic hook, and my testimonials I'm an easy sell.
But she would not go for it.
Why? Because obviously, ISN makes their money by signing up
hundreds of speakers at $500 each!
Another thing to know
about bureaus... when a bureau books you, they keep 25%.
Don't pay them more than that. 30% is highway robbery.
But you will have to
invest money. You need to learn how to market yourself. There
are many techniques. You need to try them to find out what works
Here are some of the best...
Speaker Marketing and Building a
Jane Atkinson helps speakers build their businesses. She has
helped some pretty impressive people.
"The Wealthy Speaker"
Atkinson is a must read.
www.Antion.com Tom Antion is an expert on how to market
yourself through the Internet. He also has some great CDs on
building speaking businesses.
"Electronic Marketing for
Small Business" by Antion is a
"Maximize Web Site Traffic"
by Robin Nobles is a must as well.
can buy tapes and CDs on just about anything having to do with
building a speaker business right out of the website.
You MUST get his speaker books.
"60 Ways to Get Rich in the
"60 Ways to Manage Your Speaking
"How to Write a Book One Page at
Then, for $500, I
recommend his 8 CD set of his speaking Boot Camp. The
information in this 8 hour CD set is an absolute gold mine - as
long as you apply it.
Becoming a Better Speaker
Doug Stevenson will take your speaking to the next level. I
attended his camp and it made a huge difference in my
presentation skills. Get his book, "Never be Boring Again" and
sign up for his newsletter.
"Stand Up Comedy - The Book"
by Judy Collins is another must read. If you are funny, you'll
command a higher fee.
"Million Dollar Speaking"
by Alan Weiss is a great book on coaching and consulting type
www.GreatPublicPpeaking.blogspot.com Tom Antion's blog
on public speaking. Is filled with great tips. Get Tom's book on
Final Tip - The Real
"Secret" to Success...
Don't just read all this stuff.
Take massive action. Your attitude needs to be that done is
better than perfect. Work your rear end off and clean up the
mess later. If you're not willing to do that, don't waste your
time trying to become a professional speaker. Like I said
before, this is a tough business.
But, I believe anybody can do it.
The question is... are You willing to do it?
Services Ruben Uses
I used Front Page
to build my website (It's called Microsoft
Expression now). Dream Weaver is harder to use. Antion
uses Front Page and that's good enough for me. By the way, I'm
getting about 50% of my gigs from people who find me on the
WordPress is the way
to go today. Cheap, easy, and thousands of website templates.
I have worked very hard to get great testimonials and develop
great videos for my website so that once a meeting planner
stumbles across it, they will be impressed. I was not getting
50% of my gigs from the Internet two years ago.
I'm constantly doing
things to improve my website. This business is a work in
Read some good books
on writing good copy. Joe Vitale at
www.MrFire.com is a good
place to start. The
CopyBlogger is good too.
I used to use
Microsoft Publisher because of its simplicity, but not too many
printers use it. I've had to learn Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop is a tough software to learn, but it's the industry
standard. You might want to take a beginners Photoshop class at
your local community college.
Record all your presentations.
Then review them to improve.
I use an Olympus DS-330
digital voice recorder (around $150). To record my presentations
and to create audio products. I use a lapel mike with it
to get a higher quality recording ($25).
Then, I use Sony
Sound Forge to edit my recordings and create CD products.
Today you can use an iPhone
with a lapel microphne.
Voice Recognition Software
Dragon Software is
the state of the art voice recognition software that will allow
you to dictate a book instead of write a book. This will save
you a ton of time.
Shopping Cart, Website
Back End Software
Monthly newsletters are a must
because that's how you create a following of people that
purchase your products and refer you as a speaker.
You're not in the
speaking business, you're in the email collection business.
I use MailChimp
for my newsletters, autoresponders, and
much more. It automates my internet business.
Resources Ruben Heartily Recommends
Freelance Help of all Kinds
www.elance.com is a place where you can get people
bidding to do all kinds of things for you. Writing a book,
editing, virtual helpers, duplication, etc. I know top
speakers who have sent a bunch of notes to eLance people and
$1500 later gotten great books written for them. You're
going to have to write a book in order to increase your
credibility. Mainly your credibility to yourself that you've
actually got something worth people paying you top dollar to
speak about. If you don't believe you have value, it's going
to be pretty hard to convince a meeting planner that you do!
www.oDesk.com is great too.
Video Taping & Editing:
Voice Overs and Audio Production:
Book Editing and Ghostwriting:
Graphic Design for CD Covers, Book Covers
& Package Design:
CD & Video Duplication:
Travel Agents Top Speakers Use:
Printing (from business cards to books):
- Data Reproductions -
- Vaughan Printing -
- Star Printing - John
Stephens - 281-951-5808
Copy Writing (sales and marketing copy):
Bar Codes for Books:
ISBN for Book:
Print on Demand and Distribution for Books:
Cartoons for Books:
Printing (promotional and bonus items):
Media Packaging and Blank Media:
Professional Organizations for Speakers:
I use HootSuite to help me set up my Twitter,
LinkedIn and Facebook messages.
Ruben's Recommended Reading List:
- These books will help to
transform you into the type of person who can accomplish
just about anything:
Ruben's Reading List