Why Authors Should Speak on the Platform

Years before I published my first book and began making money from writing, I made my living as a professional speaker. Simply put, I got paid to speak.

Early on in my business, speaking was my primary revenue stream.

When I began my speaking career, I had no idea there was more than one way to make money as a speaker. That is, not until I was contracted by a seminar company.

It was a great four year run. I traveled and spoke all over the United States, in many locations in Canada as well as England. Other than being able to speak to thousands upon thousands of mostly women,  I learned an incredible skill; selling products from the platform.

Not only was I required to be an outstanding speaker, it was imperative to generate revenues for the company by selling books and tapes at each speaking engagement. To not be able to do both meant the gig was up.

Developing the skill of selling products from the platform (aka back of the room sales) was a huge benefit in times ahead.

When it All Began

Long before there was Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the now nostalgic voice that we eagerly awaited to hear, “You’ve got mail,”  I began my career as a speaker.

The year was 1994. I had just left my corporate job with GTE Health Systems. Being very new to the industry of speaking, I was convinced all I needed to do was have the desire to speak and the rest would take care of itself. I soon learned otherwise.

Back in the day, the only way to get speaking gigs was to literally pound the pavement. That's how I secured the four year speaking gig. I did what I needed to do to be invited to audition for the company.

I had to send them a demo tape and fly out to Kansas to showcase my talent.

The contract definitely gave me financial security, but when it came time to go out on my own, I was about to learn some very important lessons.

Rough Times Ahead

Competition back 20 plus years ago was a lot less than it is today, but finding opportunities took a lot of effort… for a newbie.

In the day, there were fewer people who called themselves speakers.

If you wanted to showcase your talent there were plenty of associations willing to let you present at their monthly meetings. Whether it be your local chamber, the local chapter of a women’s association or large companies in town that brought in experts on Fridays to present during the lunch hour, there was ample opportunity to get in front of an audience.

The challenge was finding the best groups to speak to for one's expertise.

Secret Sauce is No Longer a Secret

Fast forward to today and the playing field is a lot different. The “secret sauce” of showcasing your talent by offering to speak for free is no longer such a secret. Where you used to be one of a handful of experts who spoke on a particular topic, today there are dozens,  if not hundreds, even thousands, of experts standing in line waiting for someone to say, “Sure, we would love to have you present on XYZ topic.”

Teleseminars Hit the Radar

At one point, many seasoned speakers realized they could actually reach more people and make a ton of money by offering teleseminars.  It was around 2005 when I realized this was a literal cash cow. I could make tens of thousands of dollars by getting on the phone, teaching a topic and making an offer on the back-end.

Best of all, I could do it in my pajamas because my audience would not see me with the platform of teleseminars.

Then came webinars. Those of us who were willing to muddle through the limited technology available back then could not only be heard, we could put up a slick slide presentation and add another element to our speaking.

Novelties Wear Off

Initially, online methods to reach our market were as much of a novelty as were the in-person showcase presentations, but it didn’t take long before lots of experts got wind of how big a market they could reach and how truly profitable this could be.

That was the great news. The bad news was this; people who called themselves experts, but really weren’t, got on the bandwagon. The market got really crowded and the quality of information went downhill.

Lots of newbies heard, “All you need to do is showcase an area of expertise by getting in front of your audience to make easy money.”

They came on board and quickly gave up because it wasn’t as easy as they had been led to believe. Even bona-fide experts became disillusioned and gave up way too soon because they realized they didn’t have it all figured out.

They would compare themselves with those of us who had been around for a decade or two (or three or four) and wonder why it wasn’t as easy as they had been led to believe.

Here’s a few reasons:

  1. They expect to hang their shingle and hoards of people will flock to listen to them regardless of how little effort they put into honing their craft.
  2. They haven't clearly honed an area of expertise that others identify them with. They jump from topic to topic never giving one thing a chance to grow.
  3. They are crappy presenters. This one speaks for itself.
  4. They put very little effort into gaining visibility and recognition. They are minimally known to the very people who can make the decision to bring them in for a speaking engagement or those who willing to put an hour aside to listen to them on a webinar or teleseminar.
  5. They give up before they give the process of building name recognition a chance to work.
  6. They fail to differentiate themselves by writing a book (or books).
  7. They have no way to generate revenue on the back-end with products and services. They truly believe they will make money solely from speaking.

There are plenty more, but these are some of the primary reasons experts who want to speak will fail.

Sadly, there are plenty of people out there who claim you can make great money speaking with very little effort. Any level of success takes effort. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong, incredibly wrong.

Visibility is a Must

You MUST put effort into what you’re doing AND  gain name recognition for opportunity to come knocking.

One of the best ways to do this is by creating the environment to showcase your skill, expertise and knowledge in front of those who give a darn about you and your message.

You MUST take control of the opportunities in front of you. A great way to do this is by hosting what are called self-staged events.

As someone who has not only survived, but thrived, in the ups and downs of the economy, shifts in how business is grown, technology creating incredible opportunity and competition, I long ago figured out what a golden opportunity this can be.

Truth be told, if I can figure it out, so can you. Like anyone who is extremely visible to my market, I started right where other highly visible experts did… a complete unknown.

Has the visibility come without effort? Not at all. Nearly 25 years into my business, I still do something every single day to reach my market.

Visibility Can Be Yours

Visibility is available to anyone willing to put the effort into the process. The age old question remains, “Where do I start?”

To make things really easy, I’ve put together a special report that walks you through the exact process of how to create your own cost effective events so you never have to worry about whether or not there is competition, what’s happening in the economy, what changes occur online, or any other factor that dissuades those not committed to using speaking to position their expertise.

It’s called, The Step-by-Step Guide of How I Make Over $100,000 a Year with FREE Presentations. It’s yours for the taking. Go to http://100kspeakerreport.com/.   This report is perfect for speakers, authors and consultants.

One of the reasons I make money on the platform, regardless of the economic temperature, is due to having products, including books, to sell. You don't need lots of products to make a great living. Actually, a book, or several books, could get you on track for some outstanding revenues. You can also use books as a negotiation tool with meeting planners.

If you're book has done well on Amazon, all the better.

And the next time you tell yourself the stories that prevent you from growing your business with speaking, read through the report to once again realize how really simple it can be….when your willing to do the work and stay in the game.

 

Comments

  1. Very interesting and you sure have been busy. Speaking and me don’t get along since I had a stroke that affected my vocal cords in 2009. I mostly squeak. LOL That’s why I enjoy blogging so much, don’t need to talk.

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Martha, thank you for sharing. There are so many ways to get our message out and blogging is a powerful way to do so. The key in anything we choose is consistency.

  2. Very interesting Kathleen we sure need to do a lot of work to be visible but It worth it.
    I realized that it takes many steps before having your book out.

    According to a professional speaker if you don’t have a book you’re not going to be a professional speaker, you need something tangible a book etc. also, find a niche that makes you stand out from the crowd as you said there is a high competition today.

    Thanks for sharing / Gaétane

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Thank you for your input Gaetane. I know many pro speakers who don’t have books and they are still pro speakers. The book isn’t want makes them pro but it sure does make for great revenue streams if someone knows how to sell from the platform.

  3. You are amazing! To speak in front of a crowd is always a challenge to me. Although I have a small group I lead in the organization where I am now, speaking is always a struggle.

    Anyway, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, and to assume that it is easy to get into it with the thought that you can be an expert just by spending little hours to master a subject, for example, is wrong. Experience is the teacher of all things, said Julius Caesar.

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      Thanks for your comments Bing. Agreed, speaking is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I do know that speaking opens up opportunities. When I first began, I was terrified. The more I spoke, the better I got and the less fear. Something that always helped was to think about how those who heard the message would benefit.

  4. GTE North got me started in public speaking… lol … I was a corporate trainer there for some years and delivered many messages to a variety of audiences. I’ll say, today, I’m not afraid of speaking and offer classes locally – based on my cooking blog.

    I used to want to go on the speaking circuit, but life has given me other areas to focus on now. So local gigs are good with me.