There are several professional speakers who want to get more speaking engagements but they don’t have much money to start with.
Sure…if you had $50,000 to start your speaking business then of course you can hire people to do all kinds of things and get more gigs but what if you don’t have the money? What if you want to build your speaking business but you’re so broke that you can’t afford to pay attention (old joke…I know)?
First, if you’re serious about building a speaking business and getting more paid speaking gigs then you won’t let anything get in your way.
Most speakers use a lack of money as an excuse for why they’re not making money. You’ve heard it before…they talk about how they don’t have money to advertise. They don’t have money to build a good website. They don’t have money to do this and that…and that’s the reason why they’re not getting speaking gigs.
Cold hard truth…
A lack of money isn’t holding speakers back from getting booked, it’s a lack of implementation.
If you spend a day in the life of a speaker who isn’t getting booked then you will notice that they’re not taking the right actions. Maybe they spend their days on Facebook groups too much. Or maybe they spend their days writing a blog post and think that’s enough.
But if you spend a day in the life of a speaker who’s constantly getting booked to speak then you will notice something…they’re doing all the right things. Maybe they’re changing their PPC campaigns to be more targeted. Or maybe when they speak at an event, they’re doing subtle things that allow them to get more spin-off gigs and referrals. In one way or another, they’re doing the right things.
How do you get there? How do you get to the point where you’re speaking on stages and doing all the right things? How do you build a speaking business when you have little money?
Before you do anything, you have to do a self-assessment.
Where are you now? Do you have ANY speaking engagements lined up? Do you have a website? If you do, how good is it? What types of videos do you have of your speaking? What types of pictures do you have? Do a self-assessment because where you’re at determines what you need to do next.
The person who has absolutely no speaking gigs, no videos, no website, will do different things than the person who has some.
If you have nothing, you will have to speak for free so you can get some social proof (pictures, videos, etc). So you will find events that you can speak at by using internet sites like meetup.com
You will contact everybody and their mama to find a stage to speak on. Your goal isn’t to get paid in the beginning, the goal is to find an event and speak…no matter what. And once you find the event, you want to record yourself speaking so you can use that footage for your website and other marketing materials.
It’s crucial that you FOCUS
Most speakers will join an association, join a club, chat with other speakers, etc. But that’s not the thing that’s going to get you booked. What you need are stages to speak on…period. Find people who have stages in your topic and contact them.
Now what if you don’t know people who have stages and everyone is saying no to you because you don’t have a website? First, stop being a baby, stop making excuses, and figure out a way around it.
Create your own platform
If nobody wants to hear your talk, create your own platform with YouTube videos. Shoot 50 videos (2-4min each) about your topic and upload them to your YouTube channel. Now you have some content that you can show people when contacting them to speak at their event and you have content to put on your website.
These videos don’t need to be fancy, just you on a white background talking about your subject. In fact, you don’t even need any fancy video equipment. This video on overcoming fear of public speaking (or the video to your left) was shot with an iphone and a normal white wall that was made to look more white in editing (using imovie).
In some way or another, you have to get some content that you can put onto a website. And the next step…
Build a website
People who hire speakers want to see video footage of the speaker and they want to know that the speaker will do a great job at their event. So the only way to make sure the event planner knows you’re good is to have a great website that shows them (through videos, pictures, etc)
Since you don’t have a huge budget to spend when building your speaking business, you have to learn how to do it yourself. So get a WordPress website and buy a theme for the website. By doing this, half the work is done for you because WordPress themes make your site look good and you don’t need to know a lot of coding to get your website up. My keynote speaking website was built in one day using WordPress.
Rinse & Repeat
A lot of speakers think it’s hard to get paid speaking engagements but all it requires is focus.
There are essentially two things you should do to build your speaking business from scratch with little to no money:
1. Find/Contact events
2. Send them to your website (which you keep updating with better videos/pictures from each event)
If you don’t have speaking gigs on your calendar then you need to sit down and contact event planners every single day…sit down for hours and do just that one thing. Call, email, fax, whatever you have to do…just don’t make excuses.
When you start getting gigs and getting paid speaking gigs, now you can use that money for things like PPC and improve your systems but if you don’t have much money to begin with then your days should only consist of you calling/emailing people who have events.
How do you find those events? Google!