4 Fundamentals to Build & Sustain a Thriving Speaking Business


There are some fundamental necessities to getting into, growing and sustaining your speaking business. Here are some basics for starting out. But, even if you are a seasoned pro, don’t discount these tips as being just for beginners. The basic fundamentals are extremely important for all speakers. To this day, I still focus on all of these fundamentals to keep my speaking business thriving.

1.      Success starts with a website. 

The cost of entry into the world of professional speaking is dramatically less expensive than it was just a few years ago. There’s no need for a fancy brochure. To start, you just need a decent looking website, which costs a fraction of the printed brochure. Plus, there’s no postage on emailing a link to a website. The website must be search engine optimized. In other words, when a potential client does a Google search on a particular topic, if that’s your topic, your site might show up toward the top of the page. Like any promotional material, the website should accurately reflect your value. A brand new speaker isn’t expected to have a $20,000 speaker’s website.  And conversely, the high-end speaker should have a basic website that can be compared to a black and white tri-fold brochure that fits into a #10 envelope.

2.      A video is key to getting hired. 

Once the client is on your website, it’s important to have a nice video. Today, video is dramatically less expensive to film and edit than just a few years ago. (There is a theme here.) The video can be a nicely edited montage of short clips, ranging from just a few seconds to several minutes. Hint: The client will probably want to see more than a ten second sound-bite, so it’s best to include a longer clip that’s about three-to-four minutes.

3.      Publish a book. 

If you are an authority on a topic, have you written a book on your expertise? Today it is dramatically less expensive and easier than ever to publish a book. (There’s that “less expensive” theme again.) With tools like Amazon’s Create Space program, you can write a book, have it edited, hire someone to help with the cover graphics, and have an e-book published, in a very short time. The book helps with credibility in the speaking business – and may make you a few dollars along the way. At an advanced level, consider coming out with a book as your career needs updating. My last three books have come out about two-to-three years apart. If it is time to update the website and video, it may be time to update your career with a new book, as well.

4.      Be amazing. 

There is one thing that is probably most important to consider. Even with a great website, a great video and a great book, you better have a great speech.  It’s “table stakes” in the business. Repeat business and word of mouth from your happy clients depends on you being amazing on the platform.

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken CSP, CPAE, is a customer service expert, New York Times bestselling author, and 2014-15 President of the National Speakers Association.
Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken

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