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How to Get Paid As a Speaker Why not set yourself up to get paid to share what you know?

By Wendy Keller

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jonathan Kitchen | Getty Images

Remember way back when you were just getting started in your industry? That eagerness you felt, that secret lack of confidence because you really weren't as sure of what you were doing as you wanted people to believe you were, that thirst to learn?

Right now, there are entire groups of people who would trade a limb to know what you know now. Your knowledge was earned through trial and error, paying attention to what works, bold experimentation, and probably a lot of skinned knees. I believe you should get paid for sharing it.

If you are an employee right now who might like to earn some cash on the side, perhaps with the intention that one day you can replace your day job...

If you are an entrepreneur who has finally figured out how to make your company work and you are now looking for a fun new challenge, ideally one that pays well...

If you rose meteorically in your profession (doubtless due to your charm and good looks!), and you'd get a kick out of sharing how you did it in front of cheering, adoring fans...

If you are getting toward that time in your life when you'd like to give back, create some pin money, take it easy, travel, do something worthwhile, then maybe paid professional speaking is something you should investigate. You may be asking, "OK, Wendy, so where do I begin?"

I've trained just over 8,500 new and emerging speakers so far. A few of them have reached the stratosphere, some are just making an extra six figures per year, and some gave up before they ever got their first paid booking. That's because they skipped a step somewhere. Speaking is a profession, and it is run like any other industry. There are unseen rules of engagement. So how do you break into paid professional speaking?

There are three general steps to launching yourself as a speaker. For the last week or so, I've been writing articles here on Enterpreneur.com describing each step in more detail. You may want to click to those articles and read up on each one, or just go here for the whole shebang.

Step One: Preparation

This is the step where you lay the foundation for your content and your credibility. In almost 30 years of working with new, intermediate and advanced (famous name) speakers, I can tell you this: this first part is where the magic is! Companies hire speakers who they believe will deliver a message that somehow improves their bottom line. Your job is to find a way to create that clear deliverable with a strong message.

Without a strong message, laden with value for your potential audience, you won't get far. So be sure to build a strong message from the ground up. Sign up for my free webinar to get started.

Step Two: Packaging

Frankly, this is where most people bog down. They package themselves wrong, get no or few results and then wonder why it isn't working. Remember, you're a stranger to these meeting planners. So how do you prove you'll be great, make them look good, and meet the company's goals before you even get on their stage? How do you make them hire you and not someone else?

Since so much depends on the speakers being excellent and on point, with a valuable message that closely aligns with the company's goals, the meeting planners rely on the trinity: Speaker Demo Reel + Speaker Website (including testimonials) + Speaker Social Media Presence. Most speakers fail to pass the trinity.

Step Three: Promotion

My next webinar is on "How to Market Yourself as a Speaker" because in many ways, marketing yourself as a speaker is unlike any other kind of marketing. It's a bit trickier because you are the product, the service and usually in the beginning, also your own Chief Marketing Officer. It's hard to be objective. Click here to find out the rudiments of self-promotion for speakers.

I'm boiling down the process to these three basic steps, yes. But is there a lot to do and think about in between the lines? Yes. If it was as simple as just calling the person who is organizing the next conference for a multi-national company and saying, "Hello. I'm available!" then everyone would do it. But if you do things properly - intelligently - and you follow the tried and true path that works for my clients and other successful speakers, then you'll find yourself rising to the top much more quickly.

Why not join me at the upcoming free webinar? It will give you some insider perspective and some practical strategies that will help you achieve your goals as a paid professional speaker.

Wendy Keller

CEO and Founder of Keller Media, Inc.

Wendy Keller is an award-winning former journalist, a respected literary agent, an author, speaker, acclaimed book marketing consultant, and branding expert. She is the author of Ultimate Guide to Platform Building (Entrepreneur Press®, 2016) and got her first job as a newspaper reporter as a 16-year-old college freshman. Since then, Wendy worked for PR Newswire; the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain; as managing editor of Dateline magazine; and as associate publisher of Los Angeles’ then-second-largest Spanish language weekly, La Gaceta. She works with authors, speakers and business experts to help them build and promote their brands. She founded Keller Media, Inc. in 1989.

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