Monetize Your Business
There are many programs available that claim to help you as an entrepreneur monetize your business with multiple systems and methods. Leisa Reid has a business that helps entrepreneurs use speaking to monetize their business. She emphasizes that she teaches people how to book the engagements for themselves and does not personally book the gigs.
When the training company Leisa worked for asked her to set up workshops, she put together ten workshops, filling them with thirty people each. All participants paid $300 and that was really the start of her speaking career. She found her niche in that she could sell and train.
Here, we will answer some of the questions often asked on not only what it takes to speak, but to monetize your business with speaking. It takes a passion for your subject, the ability to sell engagements and a strong, quality product that delivers.
Be Passionate About Your Subject
I will add a disclaimer here that public speaking and training isn’t for everyone and that’s perfectly okay. But it is a way you may be able to monetize your business, no matter what field and area. The definition of speaking is to convey information or express one’s thoughts with language. This sounds simple in concept but making a message simple enough to communicate with enthusiasm and passion brings a challenge for many, especially for those new to speaking. One of the most common mistakes is to flood your audience with details and information. Today’s audiences have enough information. Simple sells!
Many people are petrified at the thought of standing in front of a group of people and talking. Fear of public speaking is often put in the same category as the fear of dying. However, focusing on what and why you are passionate about a subject can move even the quiet, shy person out of their seat to express their feelings.
Simon Sinek says in his book, you need to Start With Why. Why do you want to speak? In Leisa’s case it was because her company asked her to at the onset of her speaking career. Her why has shifted to her own purpose of helping others overcome their obstacles and book more speaking gigs. For my business, speaking is a vehicle to help others maximize their skills, resources and experience at mid-career and the halftime of life. This why also applies to my music products as it adds enjoyment and fulfillment to a person’s life.
Learn How to Sell
If a business is not able to sell, they are not able to stay in business very long. The first rule of selling is you need to accurately identify your ideal customer. You may already have a client base, which may feel like a good start to monetize your business with speaking. But those clients may not be ideal for speaking engagements.
If you have multiple streams of business, which I suggest for most entrepreneurs, you will have multiple categories of clients. I find there is cross-over. I’ve had music clients for a number of years and many of them need the message and programs I present. They will still purchase music, which creates residual income for my business, but they are a cross-over client that need constant messaging to move forward to enter my other programs. Note that I said constant messaging! Free giveaways as a lead magnet and consistent communication with a call-to-action is effective to a degree. But there is nothing like personal connection, either on Zoom or by phone.
Joel Block is a speaker as well as a CPA, writing Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business. He uses speaking to sell his Real Estate Syndication and Hedge Fund Symposiums. This has done very well for him and he’s very specific with the type of clients he attracts and the information he offers. In a situation like this, there is a specific category of clientele and the purpose of speaking is not only informative, but to create an event as well as sell high-end product. (FREE download Business Wheel of Priorities)
Not everyone has a high-end product like Joel’s, but most will have a viable selling proposition and you must identify this! You will usually be able to identify the low-hanging fruit once you adequately identify your ideal client and product.
Create a Viable Selling Proposition
Many people have the ability to sell something once. But the secret to sustainability is to create repeat business. To create a viable product is to solve a real problem, then share it. Many creators create something very clever or cool but it doesn’t really solve a problem and I’ve put myself in that creative category many times! But this cleverness doesn’t just happen with creatives. There are many creative products that just aren’t selling.
Part of creating a solid repeat business is listening to your ideal client and defining their need, even using their same language. When listening, which is a skill seriously lacking in today’s world, write down those nuggets people say even in passing. There could be gold in their words. Leisa pre-sold her workshops at first, before she put any part of them together. However, she listened and knew they would be applicable and solve a problem. She put a name on her enthusiasm: Ignorance on Fire.
Ignorance on Fire
What is holding you back? Fear is a major obstacle for many, but also too many hold their dreams inside, then procrastinate. Some start, then quit too soon. Life is often compared to a marathon as it takes pacing, perseverance and the commitment to finish the race, crossing the finish line.
Professionals realize that for any public presentation program, whether it’s music, dance or speaking, you have to get in the reps, or repetitions. Your first 100 is a good start. I like to get to the magic 300 number. Then there’s Malcom Gladwell with his claim that 10,000 hours is the benchmark for preparation and success. However, there is debate on this number. I actually don’t think true mastery comes merely with the number of hours. It could take more. But those type of hours are not necessary to start speaking. The point is to keep at it to do it enough times to experience both success and failure in multiple situations.
It takes perseverance to keep going. Leisa has a speaker soulmate system where she has identified a perfect referral partner. This would be a person who knows what type of engagements you are best suited for. A referral is a warm call and works extremely well if done right. With referrals, it’s important to be the right fit for the gig. If not, it could be damaging to both the speaker and the one referring.
A solid support group consisting of a mastermind, a speaker soulmate or a solid inner circle as I call it, will help you weather those times of questioning and discouragement. We need each other and everyone has a different niche.
Today’s audiences have enough information. Simple sells!
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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