the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 461: What You Need To Start Building Your Speaking Business | Joe Heaps Episode Recap

Listen to the episode below

AJ gained some valuable insight after her conversation with the Owner and CMO of eSpeakers, Joe Heaps, about what it takes to make speaking your profession and how to grow your speaking business.

This recap episode highlights the biggest mistakes that new speakers make and how to avoid them, how to make the perfect demo video, why it’s important to understand what buyers are looking for, and everything you need to remember when setting fees for your speaking business. 

Key takeaways from this episode

  • How to make speaking your profession and/or grow your speaking business.
  • The biggest mistakes that new speakers make, and how to avoid them.
  • Understanding what buyers are looking for.
  • Creating the perfect demo video.
  • What to remember when setting your fees.

Tweetable Moments

“We need to make sure that the very first things in our bio are giving the proof and evidence – of how our experience and our expertise gives us the right to talk about things.” — @aj_vaden [0:05:26]

“If you’re a beginner, if you’re just starting out, just speak. If you get paid, it’s a bonus.” — @aj_vaden [0:09:08]

About Joe Heaps

Joe Heaps is the CMO of eSpeakers, the producer of the No More Bad Events podcast, and the founder of Speak for Good. He has worked with thousands of event bookers and global organizations like John Maxwell team, Coca Cola, and Fidelity Investments. More than 25,000 speeches per year are managed through eSpeakers proprietary management and booking software services.

Links Mentioned

Joseph Heaps on LinkedIn


AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

AJV (00:02): So speaker, you want to get booked on more stages. So I’m talking to you today that aspiring speaker, that early beginner speaker or even that moderately booked speaker who’s going, I want to make this part-time thing or this dream, my full-time gig. I wanna become a highly paid professional speaker. I wanna speak on stages. This is what I wanna do. This is my dream. How do I do that? All right. And so recently on the influential personal brand podcast, I interviewed Joe Heaps, who is the CMO, and he’s in charge of marketing and sales strategies for e speakers, which is an online speaker matching service with meeting planners. And so we had a conversation around some industry trends of like, what’s working to help get speakers booked in today’s market and today, I mean, 2024, and what do we need to know as speakers that will help us grow our speaking business? AJV (01:00): So I wanted to share some of those highlights from that interview and a more condensed recap version for you. So there’s just a few things I thought were really helpful that I wanna share with you to help you build that speaking business this year. So the first thing I thought this was really fascinating Joe mentioned, he goes the number one misstep that I see early beginner speakers make is they make all of their speaker press kits, even their demo videos all about their credentials versus what am I gonna do for you? Right? And I see this all the time too. In fact, I’ve made this mistake before where I start with the very first page of my speaker press Kitt is my bio, and it’s like, Hey, AJ Vaden is a entrepreneur, speaker, author, and it’s all about me. AJV (01:48): And it’s like, well, we can get to that, but what this meeting planner needs to know is right up front and that very first line, what are you gonna do for me? Right? So it’s what he calls the audience benefit statements. What are the payoffs? What are the takeaways that my audience is going to leave from your session, right? So you’ve gotta start with the audience in mind as well as the buyer in mind. In this case, the buyer is the meeting planner or the committee or whoever’s gonna book that speaker. But they need to know, it’s like, what are you gonna do for my audience? What are you gonna do for me? Not what are all of your credentials? And then I love what he said, he said. Then the, the second biggest mistake that I see that speakers make is that if they start with that, then there’s no transition. AJV (02:32): And they immediately go into, and I’m a, you know, New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, da da da, and there’s a complete disconnect between what were the benefit statements that we were just talking about and who I am as a speaker and as a person. He said, so as that transition happens from the audience benefit statements such as, you know, Hey, I am a engaging speaker who’s going to bring humor to the audience. So if you’re looking for entertainment value, dah, dah, dah, dah dah, then we need that transition statement to go, Hey, as a, you know, 20 year standup comedian, and use your bio as an actual part of the proof process to the benefit statements. Make sure that there is a natural transition of whatever you just said in the benefit statements about what they can expect from you as a speaker. AJV (03:25): What are the benefits that they’re gonna get from hiring you as a speaker, right? The takeaways, the what the audience is gonna leave with, make sure that’s the first thing that you talk about when you get to your bio. It’s not, hey and AJ is a, it’s like, no, we need to make sure that the very first things in our bio are giving the proof and the evidence from whatever we just said in the benefit statements of how our experience and our expertise gives us the right to talk about these things. And it’s the proof that I actually know what I’m talking about. Then you can add in all of those other credentializing things. And so the way to do that is just a very, very articulate way of going. We have to start with the audience in mind, the buyer in mind, IE the meeting planner, what do they wanna hear first? AJV (04:16): And then use our bio as a way to give proof to every statement that you just set. And that’s what they’re looking for on that very first page of a speaker press kit or the very first thing they see on the, about us on your website. But it’s like, Hey, it’s like, what are you gonna do for me? What’s the very first thing I wanna know? Is what kind of speaker are you and what are the benefits of your, your speech? Not the features. The features are all about you. The benefits are what are you gonna do for my audience? And I thought that was just a very good, simple way of thinking about it. Second thing and we talk about this all the time in different formats, but I loved his little take on demo videos. He said, honestly some, some meeting planners are gonna wanna see 30 minutes of stage footage, some 15 minute, you know, sizzle reel. AJV (05:04): You see those popular? He said, but I’ll tell you most often what most people are looking for is some sort of 32nd to two minutes that is so short, y’all 30 seconds, 30 seconds to two minute clips of you on stage. He goes, they’re not looking for testimonials in that two minutes. They’re not looking for where you’ve spoken, what media you’ve been on, there’s no voiceovers. It’s like, Nope, I need you right up front on stage doing the best thing that you do, right? So, and it needs to be on the content. And it’s like when you think about two minutes is not a lot of time, you can’t be fitting in all that other stuff in there. And there are so many different opinions on what makes a great demo video. Other people say it’s like, Hey, five minutes. And we do want that production value. AJV (05:45): We do want the credibility and the testimonials that Joe’s take on it. He goes, the very first thing they need to see is you on stage. And he goes, if you wanna add all that stuff after the fact, make sure it’s after the two minutes. But that first 30 seconds to two minutes needs to be you doing your thing with the best content you have. We need to see audience engagement, we need to see audience reactions, and we need to see you doing your craft. And that’s what we want those first two minutes. And then if you wanna extend it past that with testimonials and all the other stuff, that’s fine or make separate videos for that. But just give us two minutes of the best you’ve got on stage. And that’s what meeting planners wanna see. Thought that was super helpful and insightful. AJV (06:29): Last thing wanna share is just something about fees. ’cause That’s always coming up. And so I asked him, it’s like, what, what do you, what do you see as the best way to set fees? And there’s a couple of different things that he shared that I thought was really great. And he said, just remember if you’re a beginner, if you’re just starting out, just speak. If you get paid it’s bonus but speak because you wanna speak and you maybe get paid $50, $200, $500, he goes, just say yes. The more you speak, the more you speak, right? We say that all the time at Brand Builders Group, but if you wanna speak and you’re just starting out, you just say yes, you take the gig and then you take it again and then you take it again and you follow basic laws of supply and demand, and the lower the supply, the higher the demand, your fees go up. AJV (07:16): So as we’re talking about someone who is getting booked for speed getting booked for fees, and you are doing this, what are those early beginner set fees that you’re seeing most often on e speakers? And he said, what I would consider a beginner speaker who maybe doesn’t even have a demo video yet, but they have just some clips on stage. He said, maybe they’ve been doing this for a year or so. They’re not booked, but they’re getting booked. Sometimes he goes somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000 is where we see most people at a beginner level, regardless of what you set your fees at, I think that’s a, a probably an accurate picture of what it looks like as a beginner. He said, then we start seeing that supply and demand factor. The more you get booked, you know, the more demand you have, then those fees start rising up. AJV (08:01): He said, but I would say the average speaker on our site, which they’ve got more than 20,000 speakers, is between 70 $510,000. And those are people who’ve got systems in place. They’re doing this pretty frequently. This has become their full-time thing and those are their average fees. And he goes, and then what we’re seeing for us anyway is anyone above 10,000 is someone who is booked out, right? So they are rather booked out. They have had some sort of a content event. So their content has gone viral. They had a TED Talk, they had a bestselling book, they had some sort of what I would call life event. So they climbed Mount Everest or you know, they survived a plane crash where they have some unique life event, which is rare, or they’ve had some sort of content that has made them available to increase their fees to a certain level. And I just think following AJV (08:54): That as the basic guidelines, as you’re, as you’re setting out to build your speaking career and specifically over the next 12 months of just like, where am I at today and where do I wanna be of going? You just start speaking until you can get paid. And then the more you get paid, just know those beginner level fees. It’s very normal to start around $2,500. Even if you know you’re worth more than that you’ll get paid worth more than that. But the more you speak, the more you speak. So just a couple of insights around press Kids demo videos and fees as we set out into the year to help you build your speaking career. Hope that helps. If you wanna check out the full episode, it’s with Joe Heaps from e Speakers on the Influential Personal Brand podcast, and I’ll see you soon.

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