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How to Make a Side Income as a Public Speaker Even if you never imagined yourself as a public speaker, it could be an amazing money-making opportunity for you.

By Under30CEO Edited by Mark Klekas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As an entrepreneur, you've probably got your hands full with your primary business. But if you're interested in generating a side income while simultaneously networking and building your audience, you should consider getting involved in a public speaking side hustle.

What exactly does this entail, and how do you get started?

Monetizing your public speaking

Let's start with the most important topic: how do you make money as a public speaker? If you look around your city, you'll likely find many events that would allow you to speak for free. So how do you monetize this?

Direct payments

In your later stages of development, your personal brand will be strong enough and popular enough that you can make money by speaking alone. Businesses, universities, or other organizations may be willing to pay you thousands of dollars for just a few hours of your time. Unfortunately, when you're first starting out and your reputation is minimal, you probably won't be able to make much money this way.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

Book sales

Consider printing a book in line with your speaking topics, which you can sell when giving a public address. If people are impressed with what you say, they'll likely buy your book.

Networking and marketing opportunities

Public speaking is also a great way to network and meet other people, while simultaneously promoting your business. You could potentially meet new clients, new business partners, or even new investors. You'll also be increasing the visibility of your brand, giving your business more selling power.

Related: How Networking Is Necessary for Effective Entrepreneurship

Consulting

Some public speakers also offer consulting services. If business owners or other professionals enjoy your insights and want to know more, they can hire you as a private consultant.

Online courses

You may also consider creating online courses for your fans and followers, presenting them with more information and more lessons in exchange for a monthly subscription.

How to become a public speaker

So how do you become a public speaker in the first place? These are some of the most important steps to follow:

Cultivate niche expertise

Most people don't want to hear from an average person. They want to hear from someone who's truly an expert in their field, whatever that field happens to be. If you want to become an effective and in-demand public speaker, you need to cultivate that niche expertise. What topic or area could you study that no one else seems to be covering? Do you have years of experience in a particular field that you could use? Feel free to exercise your creativity here; you can always apply what you learn in one field to a different field. What's important is that you have a set of knowledge and experience that most other people don't have.

Hone your public speaking skills

If you want to be a successful public speaker, you need a specific skill set. You need to be able to hold yourself confidently, project your voice, articulate your words well, and gesticulate without looking like a crazy person. It takes practice to refine these skills, so spend some time practicing in front of friends, family members, or a camera if you have to.

Establish a personal brand

You'll be a more effective public speaker (and marketer for yourself) if you have a personal brand behind you. Who are you? How do you market yourself? And how do people find and interact with you?

Get active on social media

One of your best tools for marketing yourself and finding new public speaking opportunities is social media. Make sure you claim your individual social media profile on a wide variety of different social networks and consider joining groups that are relevant to your area of expertise. Meet and engage with other people interested in public speaking.

Related: The 5 Keys to Building a Social-Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand

Look for low-hanging fruit

Chances are, you can find some "low-hanging fruit" public speaking opportunities in your area with a rudimentary search. Even if these aren't paid opportunities, they offer valuable experience and chances to meet new people.

Get featured on podcasts

In line with this, try to get featured on podcasts relevant to your area of expertise. There are millions of podcasts out there, and hosts of niche shows are constantly looking for new people to interview.

Network aggressively

It's hard to overstate just how valuable professional networking can be in any career — and in public speaking, it's even more important. Take the time to build relationships with venue owners, event organizers, and other public speakers like you; these relationships can lead you to even better opportunities and help you master the art.

Work your way to bigger and better opportunities

Keep pushing for bigger and more prominent speaking opportunities. It may take some time, but you can eventually reach higher echelons of reach and popularity this way.

Even if you never imagined yourself as a public speaker, it could be an amazing money-making opportunity for you. With more refined public speaking skills, more experience under your belt, and a more prominent personal brand, you could even turn this into a full-time, lucrative gig.

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