Do you want to speak and get paid for it?
There are 5 basic ways to make money as a speaker.
The first is to speak for free in exchange for the opportunity to market your consulting or professional services.
You speak at groups whose members are potential clients for what you sell in the hopes that one or more members of the audience will become interested enough in you to hire you.
I have done this many times with great success. The downside is that it is possible no one will want to hire you.
But, if your talk is videotaped and your terms include getting a free copy of the master, then the time is never wasted, because you can use the video in your marketing—on your website, on YouTube, or as a DVD lead magnet.
The second way to make money as a speaker is to get paid a flat fee in exchange for giving a talk, workshop, or class.
This is my favorite business model for speaking, because it guarantees me income. I am a mid-range speaker, not a superstar, and I get $5,500 a day for a corporate presentation, more if I have to travel further than a couple of hours by plane.
So I earn more in a day than the average American makes working an entire month. Not a bad deal.
Corporate clients pay flat fees to speakers who do training classes on site, and associations pay flat fees to speakers at their national conferences.
The most I ever got paid on a flat-fee basis for a day of corporate training was $9,800 to teach copywriting to a software company but I had to go to Milan to do it.
The third way is to speak at events put on by entrepreneurial seminar and conference promoters.
These promoters do not pay speakers a fee. Instead, they let you sell your products from the platform, and you make your money from these sales.
Since I do not sell from the platform, this model does not work for me, and I will not participate in such events.
Amazing to me, these promoters not only expect the speaker to pay his own expenses, but also want a cut of up to 50% of the speaker’s product sales. Insane!
The fourth business model for speaking is to produce your own public seminar or boot camp, either by yourself or with a joint venture (JV) partner.
The risk is that if few or no people attend, you make no money or even lose a lot of money.
The reward is potentially high profits. On such JV deals, I have earned fees ranging from $5,000 a day to over $25,000 a day.
The fifth business model is to do webinars. There are two variations. The first is to charge a fee to attend the webinar.
The second is to allow your prospects to attend for free, and then upsell them on buying an expensive information product or coaching service.
Full disclosure: I do not consider myself primarily a professional speaker. I am a copywriter who also does some speaking. I do not proactively market myself as a speaker. And, because of my full copywriting project schedule, I accept very few speaking engagements per year, though I am asked to do many.
As a result, I am not even close to the top of the speaking pay scale, and many of my readers earn more as a speaker than I do…again, because I do not pursue it.
On the other hand, I have done public speaking for money for 35 years, so I know a little something about it, and on occasion have been paid as much as $55,000 to give a seminar.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.