Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

How to Market Yourself as a Speaker

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The average corporate speaker is booking at around $5,000 per engagement after being in the business for two years, according to the National Speakers Association.  A speaker who is improving themselves, their platform skills, their marketing materials and their message during those first two years can expect to average 20 engagements per year. That's $100,000 in spare cash.

Izabela Habur | Getty Images

Want a piece of the action? Wondering how to get from "somebody with a good idea for a speech" to somebody who is getting consistently paid to share a message that has value?

There are 3 components to your success:  Preparation. Packaging. Promotion. Get these three right from the beginning, and you'll find your progress is fast and smooth.

It's going to take more than a wish and a picture of an audience on your vision board to transform yourself into a successful paid speaker. Or however you define success.  There are a lot of people competing for that same engagment, especially since seasoned speakers earn $15,000-25,000 for a keynote. Before you start on your journey, you'll need to focus on the following commitments:

Continually learn more about your topic of expertise. 

Every industry is changing and growing. No one should know more about your topic than you, the speaker, know about it! Read trade magazines, talk to insiders (especially if you switch jobs to become a speaker), read online articles, and always pay attention.

Continually improve your platform skills. 

Just because you know how to cobble together a PowerPoint presentation doesn't mean you'll have what it takes to succeed as a speaker. Side note: Very few speakers use PowerPoint, but trainers still do.  I have trained and represent thousands of speakers and I promise you that they are continually getting better at their jobs. They take improv classes, voice lessons and they hire movement coaches, image consultants, and they exercise. They realize that they are the product and so they are always working to improve the product they sell.

Commitment to continually marketing

Less than eight percent of all speakers no longer have to market themselves and just magically find the phone ringing off the hook. And even those who are so lucky often wake up some day in the future and realize the ride has ended and now the work begins. Study marketing. Study cold calling. Read books on being even more charming than you already are. If you are delegating some or all or your marketing, keep a close eye on those people so you see that they are presenting you and your brand in fresh, compelling ways.

You wouldn't start any other kind of small business and then just sit around hoping someone comes in.  If you aren't getting bookings, you'll need to get out there and rope them in. Learn how you can do that in my webinar here.

Becoming a successful speaker can be lucrative, fun, glamorous, exciting. You'll get to travel, meet new people, and make an incredible hourly wage. You'll be able to change lives, help companies, inspire thousands. Make a decision to give yourself your best shot and watch how fast you can be a success.

Want to get a little extra help? Sign up for my webinar here.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks