In 2018, I was just starting my career as a motivational speaker. I owned some retail stores and had given a few unpaid speeches at small events.
I had just started to build my personal brand when I received a message from an event host asking if I would be willing to speak at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. When my plane landed, the event host called and told me to cancel my rental car because they had booked a private limousine for me! I felt like a rockstar!
You Can Get Paid To Speak?
When I returned to Colorado a week later, the event organizer sent me a tin of cookies. I excitedly showed the gift to a client while telling them about getting to speak at Caesar’s Palace and do a radio interview in Las Vegas. It wasn’t until my client asked how much I got paid that I learned speakers get paid to speak.
How much does a Public Speaker make?
A quick Google search says the yearly pay for a public speaker in the United States ranges from $23,000 to $298,000. Most salaries fall between $42,500 (25th percentile) and $120,000 (75th percentile). Some of the top earners make well over $300,000 annually.
Public speaking offers many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, years of experience, and the speaker’s personal brand.
How Motivational Speakers Should Market Themselves for Speaking Gigs
Marketing yourself as a motivational speaker is essential if you want to get paid to speak. But it’s not enough just to be a great speaker; you also need to be able to sell your skills to those looking to hire speakers. Luckily, there are some things that all motivational speakers can do to market themselves effectively.
Define Your Target Audience
The first step in marketing yourself as a motivational speaker is determining who you want to speak to and what kinds of organizations would be interested in hiring you. Are you looking to speak at high schools? Colleges? Corporate events? Nonprofits? Once you understand the types of organizations or groups you want to talk to, you can start tailoring your marketing efforts accordingly.
By defining your target audience, developing a solid personal brand, creating a portfolio of your work, staying active on social media, and getting involved with professional organizations, you can set yourself up for success as a motivational speaker.
Develop Your Brand As A Professional Speaker
Personal branding is essential for any public figure, but it’s vital for motivational speakers. Your personal brand should reflect your values and what you hope to achieve through your speeches. Articulate what makes you unique as a speaker so potential clients can see why you’re the best person for the job.
Create an Engaging Website – YourName(dot)com
An engaging website is critical for any public speaker looking to book gigs. Your website should inform potential clients about who you are, what you do, and what topics you focus on. It should also include reviews or testimonials from previous clients and media appearances or speaking engagements you have done in the past. If you don’t have any experience speaking publicly, consider recording a short video of yourself giving a presentation. This will give potential clients an idea of your style and delivery.
If you have a common name, your name may not be available as a website domain. Consider adding an initial if your name isn’t available as a dot com site. For example, I purchased MCurtisMcCoy.com as my domain, and it’s also my username on every social platform for this very reason.
I’ve even published my books under M. Curtis McCoy to keep my branding consistent. If you ever hear me speak at an event, I’m also introduced as M. Curtis McCoy. Make it easy for people to recognize you! Consistent branding is essential if you want to get paid to speak.
A professional speaker reel can help speakers book paid gigs by showcasing their speaking experience and skills. Your speaker reel can also highlight testimonials from past clients, which can help boost your credibility as a speaker.
Additionally, a professional speaker reel can promote your personal brand and attract new paid speaking opportunities.
Sticker Shock Speaking Academy
A good friend of mine, Daniel Gomez, hosts Sticker Shock Speaking Academy. I recommend attending this 2-day conference in San Antonio if you want to become a highly-paid speaker.
At Sticker Shock Speaking Academy, you will learn to be a highly-paid speaker. You will also have a chance to speak on stage for 10 minutes. Plus, you will receive a professional speaker reel after the conference! Daniel’s team does a phenomenal job producing a professional speaker reel that you can post as-is, or edit into short clips for social media, etc.
Create At Least One Speaker Portfolio
If you want people to hire you as a motivational speaker, you need evidence of your work. Create a portfolio that includes recordings or videos of your past speeches and testimonials from attendees or organizers. This will give potential clients an idea of what they can expect if they hire you.
Below are a few sites I recommend. Some of these sites will pay me an affiliate commission for telling you about them!
(Formerly GigMasters), The Bash is a well-known event marketplace where party planners and hosts can find the ideal entertainment, speakers, and event services. If I only had the budget to spend on one speaker profile, I would choose The Bash (Gold Membership).
On The Bash, you can choose from a basic, pro, or gold package. I initially signed up for the Pro membership. However, I don’t live in a major city. I had difficulty finding events where I could get paid to speak, so I upgraded to the Gold membership to be booked for gigs up to 3,000 miles away.
The Bash offers several benefits, including:
- A wide selection of speakers, entertainers, and services to choose from.
- Detailed profiles of each speaker, which include videos and testimonials.
- The ability for hosts to book speakers up to 3,000 miles away.
- Professional customer service.
- No fee per application!
Although ThumbTack charges fees for every gig booked, you can set up a free profile (to keep your name from being taken by a competitor).
If you’re looking to start booking more speaking engagements, GigSalad can help. They offer a variety of tools and resources to make the process easy and efficient for both speakers and event planners. So start getting paid (more), to speak!
I’m only using a free GigSalad account. However, setting up an account and claiming your username may be a good idea.
I have never used SpeakerMatch, but their website says:
“We can help you find ANY motivational speaker, inspirational speaker, or other public speaker for your event. We specialize in emerging speakers — business professionals, authors, educators, consultants, and other subject-matter experts who have knowledge and a message to share. Emerging professional speakers don’t earn a full time living as a speaker, and their fees are often more affordable than celebrity speakers.”
After speaking at Sticker Shock Speaking Academy in San Antonio recently, I asked eight event attendees for an endorsement. I put the testimonials together in a short youtube video that currently ranks #1 if you search YouTube for Best Motivational Speaker In Colorado. I don’t appear anywhere on the video, but that testimonial video has already helped me secure multiple speaking gigs!
Stay Active On Social Media
Building (and connecting with) your audience is great for reaching potential clients and marketing yourself as a motivational speaker. Post regularly on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Share your videos with relevant hashtags and keywords. This will allow you to explore your profession more deeply and help them understand what you do.
Social media platforms are great tools for promoting yourself as a motivational speaker. Use them to share your blog posts, articles, or quotes that inspire others. You can also use social media to connect with event planners or organizations that might be interested in booking you for a speaking engagement.
Attend Industry Conferences Or Networking Events
As you build a solid presence on social media, start connecting with conference organizers and event hosts.
When you come to the event, have business cards or promotional materials. This will help people contact you later.
Get Involved With Professional Speaking Organizations
Networking is vital in any industry, but it’s essential if you’re a motivational speaker. There are many professional organizations for public speakers, such as the National Speakers Association and the Global Speakers Federation.
Getting involved with these groups can help you meet other professionals in your field, learn about new opportunities, and stay up to date on the latest industry news.
If you want to get paid to speak professionally, get featured in podcasts, blogs, radio or interviews, and even magazines if you have the budget.
News Wire Magazine allows readers, PR professionals, and speaker marketing agencies to submit an article to gain exposure and recognition.
Marketing Yourself as a Motivational Speaker So You Can Get Paid To Speak
By following these simple tips, you can start marketing yourself effectively as a motivational speaker and landing gigs in no time. Remember to target your efforts toward the right people. Make sure your website and social media look good so people can see what you’re all about. This will help convince them to work with you.
Speaker Marketing Agencies
You’ll need to market yourself effectively if you want to get paid to speak. If you’re too busy in your career to do the work yourself, that’s where speaker marketing agencies come in. They can help you create an effective marketing campaign, and they can also help you connect with potential clients.
I haven’t personally used an agency, but there are a few things to remember when looking for a speaker marketing agency. First, make sure that the agency has experience working with motivational speakers. You’ll want to find an agency that understands your niche and can help you target the right audience.
Second, make sure that the agency has a good reputation. You can check out online reviews to get an idea of what other speakers have said about the agency. Ask them if you can reach out to a few of their existing clients.
Third, make sure that the agency is affordable. You don’t want to overspend on your marketing campaign, so be sure to get quotes from several different agencies before making a decision.
Do The Work. Get Paid To Speak!
Although having an excellent online presence is an integral part of marketing yourself as a motivational speaker, meeting people in person can give you an advantage over other speakers.
Start making calls to relevant businesses, schools, or organizations where you want to speak.
With a little effort, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful motivational speaker in no time!