Let’s talk Business Models: There are 10 different business models you can use to make money as a speaker [well, there are more . but let’s focus on 10 here]. This article will help you understand a range of opportunities that you may already be familiar with and probably some that you haven’t explored yet.
When going through this list, take notes and really think about where are you right now as a speaker and where you might want to progress. You may currently be speaking for free and, considering your next step. Or you may be a more experienced speaker who wants to get better at converting or attracting prospects to your business. It’s not a complete list – there are hundreds of variations out there when it comes to using public speaking to push your career or grow your business However, this list will give you a solid understanding of the available speaking models out there – whichever stage you’re at.
1. Speaking for Free
Taking on free speaking gigs is the best way to get started and there are loads of different platforms in London. When I started in 2011, the City Business Library was a great resource for me to perfect my speaking skills. They were looking for speakers to run small workshops for their business community and they still do this today.
There are also some great platforms out there that I highly recommend, to help you on your way. Matt Kendall, founder of Interesting Talks, has built the biggest personal development events Meet-up in Europe. He’s awesome when it comes to giving speakers a stage and you can connect with him in our Facebook Group. He’s really picky about his speakers but I am sure you can charm him!
If you’re planning free speaking gigs, make sure that you have a clear agreement with the event organiser so that you can promote your product/service at the end of the talk.
Another platform is Inspire’d Stage. Inspire’d is a community run by Shay Allie, also in the Facebook Group. They meet in Mayfair once a month and the aim is for speakers to give a 10-minute talk, with the focus on inspiring the audience with your story, rather than selling.
If you’re planning free speaking gigs, make sure that you have a clear agreement with the event organiser so that you can promote your product/service at the end of the talk, or do some list building by offering a free information product.
2. Running Events
If you’re a more experienced speaker, who is able to facilitate and are really good at marketing, then putting on your own events is a good way to go. This approach really helps to grow your reach, as people will come specifically to see you and you won’t dilute your impact if you’re sharing the stage with an event organiser, promoter or other speakers. You can use your event to plug your unique products and services, and make your attendees aware that the event is hosted by your brand.
3. Speak at Conferences
There are so many opportunities to speak at conferences. By dedicating some time to online research, you will discover conference speaking opportunities, all over the world, in every industry. The process of becoming a speaker at a conference is generally straightforward; you apply and obviously if you’re really good, you’ll get a “Yes” from the event organizer and then they’ll fill the room for you – you don’t even have to do any marketing – you just show up and speak!
A key part of your agreement is whether your speaking gig is paid or unpaid. If it’s paid, the organisers will pay you to deliver your content or a keynote. If it’s a free gig, make sure you agree terms that will benefit you, such as being able to sell your product, invite people to join your list or make an offer to attendees at the end of your talk.
The process of becoming a speaker at a conference is generally straightforward; you apply and if you’re really good, you’ll get a “Yes” from the event organizer and then they’ll fill the room for you – you don’t even have to do any marketing – you just show up and speak!
4. Be a Keynote Speaker
Keynote speaking is an option for the more experienced speakers among you. Keynote speakers often work through a speaker bureau or employ a speaker agent and can make really good money for delivering keynotes.
For example, if an organiser is planning a really big sales conference, they’ll contact different speaker bureaus and say, “Look, we have a sales conference, who can do a 45-minute keynote on the power of sales?” By getting a keynote speaking gig, you can expect to earn upwards of £500 – that’s the low end. Experienced speakers go in for £10,000 and celebrity speakers like Anna Wintour £100,000 onwards.
5. Speak on Corporate Hot Topics
Trust me, keynote speakers don’t just fall out of the sky. They’ve spent years on really refining their content and their craft. They often speak on one of three key topics which are highly sought after in the corporate arena; resilience, creativity and future trends.
Resilience is a really hot topic, as it’s an essential skill for leaders in challenging corporate environments to develop. Creativity is also a popular topic, as corporations face the constant need to innovate. The topic of future trends contains loads of scope for your speaking expertise, as everything evolves so fast these days, so this topic applies to areas as diverse as the future of technology, the future of sales, or whatever area your audience is concerned with.
To succeed as a keynote speaker, complacency is not an option. You don’t just write a keynote in the year 2000 and then for the next 16 years, deliver that same keynote for a lot of money. Your message will need to constantly evolve with changing times and circumstances. Staying on top of your field will require a constant supply of resilience, creativity and…you guessed it – an informed eye on future trends!
6. Pay to Speak
This option applies in particular to platform selling, multi speaker events where you’ll share the stage with a number of different speakers. Focused mainly in London, these events are often run by promoters who will ask you to pay for the privilege to be on their stage you will however benefit from the fact that they have a massive marketing machine, so they’re able to put hundreds or even thousands of people into the room for you.
Remember that even though you have to pay for such speaking gigs, it’s also an opportunity to sell, so you’ll make your money back on your upfront investment. One platform I really like is called The Best You. It’s run by Bernardo Moya and he’s very ethical, honest, and authentic and I really love the way he puts on his events and his conferences. He’s a great guy to get in touch with.
7. Be a sponsored speaker
Question: What you can do if you’re really good at speaking but, you don’t actually have a subject yourself, don’t have a business, don’t offer any services or have anything that you can sell at the back end after and during your speaking?
Answer: Be a sponsored speaker!
There are a lot of charities out there and a lot of associations who pay speakers to deliver content on their behalf. There are also other opportunities you can find, if you look hard enough a funny example is Pfizer. If you’re really passionate about Viagra, you maybe can approach them because they will pay you shit loads of money for your ability to be a really good speaker and then deliver their content on different pharmaceutical conferences. There’s a lot of money in there as well.
8. Become a Speaker Trainer
A lot of companies like Speaker Express are looking for trainers as well as speakers. I personally prefer trainers to work for a company, as this ensures that the trainer has no personal agenda and can fully focus on what they deliver on behalf of that company. So if any of you readers are keen on this option, we’re always on the lookout for people who have the ability to authentically connect with an audience. We’re keen to hear from you, so if you’re interested, feel free to either comment on this post or connect with me online.
Being a trainer is a really good way l to get yourself out there and really shape your speaking skills through practice. In my opinion, (which also happens to be the driving ethos of the Speaker Express) there is always room for progress – You don’t suddenly think, “Okay, I‘ve been a speaker for four years. I don’t need to invest in any further training.” The sky’s the limit when it comes to being a speaker. If you’re not yet among the 10% of the best speakers in the world, you’ll clearly want to invest in more training.
9. MCing/Hosting Events
MCing or hosting events is very different to being a speaker because as an MC, you really glue and host the entire event together. As an MC/host, you will need to understand flow, audience energy management and also have a very commanding personality because as an MC, you’re really the one raising the energy for all the speakers who speak.
At Speaker Express, one of the modules in our six month speaking accelerator focuses on MC training, which helps you as a speaker but also enables you to step more into your power.
Our Speaker Express monthly club nights give our members the opportunity to MC, so they can gain live experience in front of an audience of people like you.
If you have any questions or additional thoughts on monetising your speaking and all the different business model options, just leave a comment below.
Even better, meet us in person by signing up to one of our upcoming events here.
That’s it from me for now. See you at one of our monthly Club Nights, a Boardroom session or schedule a call about to talk about Business Model Number 10. Over and out.