To so a few weeks ago, my friend grant Baldwin introduced me to his audience. I was on his podcast and it had been a while since we connected. And he sent me an email thread that went back years and years of when we first connected and he was sort of making his climb through the industry. And it’s been fun for me to just sort of watch him you know, come into the speaking world, you know, kind of crack through. He never had a huge following or wasn’t like, you know, TV famous or something like that. And he’s built just a wonderful career for himself as a paid speaker and also helping other people get speaking engagements. And so he made that his entire business. He’s the CEO of a company called speaker lab which just recently found out congratulations. They’re on the in 5,000 list for the second time. He’s been featured in Forbes and entrepreneur in, in magazines, Huffington post, and has just been, you know, around hanging in the same circles, the national speakers association, et cetera, and also right here around Nashville. So we’ve, we’ve come across each other from time to time. He’s somebody that I think we’ve got a lot we can learn from. And anyways, welcome to the show grant. Good to see you.
Right. Thanks for letting me hang out with you, man. I appreciate it.
Yeah, brother. So let’s talk about your expertise, like getting some paid speaking engagements where do we find them? How do we, how do we go about getting them? Right. So a lot of people listening are, you know, some of ’em are coach a lot. A lot of our eyes is like coaches and speakers. A lot of ’em are like professional service providers and things like that. You know, or just entrepreneurs in general. And for us, personal branding, as you know, is not social media or websites. We think of it as reputation. And this is like, how do you build your reputation? So speaking is a huge part of that. It’s been a huge part of our career when you make that transition to go, I wanna get paid speeches. What’s the first thing that needs to happen or where do you go look?
Yeah, good question. So what we basically teach inside the speaker lab is a five step framework. We call the speaker success roadmap. And so it makes the acronym speak. And so maybe what we could do is why don’t, I just kinda like walk through at a high level, what that acronym is and kind of sure here’s the roadmap that we follow. And then we can kind of jump in wherever, but the first part of the process S is select a problem to solve. And so this comes down to two key things that everyone listening, you gotta get really, really clear on. You have to be clear on who do you speak to? And number two, what problem do you solve for that audience? Now this, this seems overly simplistic. And it’s like, yeah, yeah, but just like fast forward, tell us how to actually book gigs.
But if you’re not clear on these things, then you’re shooting for everything and nothing at the same time. And so what we, what we tend to see, and you’ve seen this as well, Roy is that whenever it comes to who do you speak to? A lot of times we wanna spread the net as far and wide as possible. So who do I speak to? I don’t know. I, I speak to humans. I speak to people. My message is for everybody. Right? Right. And the reality is, is like that just doesn’t work. And same thing whenever it comes to, what do you speak about? And people are oftentimes like, well, what do you want me to, to speak about? I could speak about sales or marketing or leadership or motivation or family or faith or on and on the list goes. And so what we tell speakers all the time is you wanna be the steakhouse and not the buffet, the steakhouse and not the buffet.
And what we mean by that is Roy. If you and I were going to grab a bite to eat, we were looking for a good steak. Like we have a choice. We could go to a buffet where steak is one of a hundred different things that they offer and they’re all mediocre. Or we could go to a steakhouse where they do one thing, but they do that one thing really, really, really well. They don’t do Pasa. They don’t do seafood. They don’t do sushi. They do steak. And that is it. And again, it’s counterintuitive because as speakers, we think that we need to spread the net as far and wide as possible. The more things I can speak about the more audiences I can appeal to the more opportunities that I will have, but people are looking for specialists and not generalists. So you don’t wanna try to speak on anything and everything to everybody solve one specific problem for one specific audience. So again, if you get that right, if you get clarity there, everything else in the process becomes much simpler. So that’s the yes. Elective problem to solve the B is
I wanna talk about that for just a second. So when you say a problem to solve, what are some characteristics of a great problem to solve? So like, you know, marketing is an example, is that considered like in your world, in your language, is marketing a problem that you solve or is it have to be something more specific than that? Like what, what are the criteria that something must pass in order for you to go? Yeah, that’s a clear problem that you can make money, like you can take to the market and solve.
Yeah, absolutely. And to your point there, like there’s an overlap there between what you’re interested in, what you’re passionate about, what your knowledge belong, what your expertise is in and what is it that the industry, or actually cares about because just because you’re an expert on something doesn’t necessarily mean that there are opportunities to speak on that thing. And maybe there are opportunities to speak, but not to a particular industry that you are looking for. So there’s basically, I think about like kind of a VIN diagram of three different circles here. Okay. and so we’re looking for three different things. One is gonna be your industry. So who exactly are you speaking to meaning that there are certain kinda like predefined industries within the speaking space? And so there, there are seven primary industries and within this, there’s a whole bunch of different kind of subcategories, but real quick, those are corporations, associations, nonprofit, faith-based government, military education K through 12 and college.
Okay. So again, within that, there’s a whole bunch of different subcategories, but those are typically the big seven categories that the majority of speaking engagements fall into. So you have industry, the other side of it is going to be integrity, meaning like, what are you actually qualified to talk about? What is the some expertise or knowledge now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be the world’s foremost expert on this thing, but you need to know at least something on the topic, be knowledgeable on it, know something slightly, be slightly ahead of maybe where your audience might be. And then the third piece kinda what you’re talking about here, Rory is interest. So industry integrity and interest. And so this is a two way street. One is something that, that you are interested on. You’re knowledgeable on, you have some expertise on, but it also has to be something that that industry or that decision maker is interested in.
So let me give you a quick example of this. So years ago, when I got started, when I first reached out to you in 2006 or seven or whatever it was, and I was kind of figuring things out, I was doing a lot of speaking in the education space. And one of the topics that at the time that I was really interested in was the subject of personal finance. This was something that my wife and I like, we were going through some of Dave Ramsey stuff and paying off debt and, and going like, wow, this has really made a big impact in our lives. So if I could teach teenagers about this, like that would make a huge, huge impact for them. And one of the things that we found was that I was doing a lot of speaking in schools and conferences.
And if I interviewed a hundred different high school principals, all 100 of them would say that yes, teaching students about personal finance was really, really important yet. Nobody was really hiring speakers to talk about personal finance in a school assembly setting. So was it important to them? Was it of interest to them? Yes, but it wasn’t necessarily something that they were hiring speakers to talk about. But what I found was that oftentimes they were hiring speakers to help their students in a school assembly setting, make a successful transition from high school and to college in the real world. So I started doing talks around that. And within that, I would talk about talk about personal finance. So it wasn’t like this bait and switch or anything, but saying, Hey, here, what’s the thing that you are looking for, the challenge that you have, that you identify for yourself within your school, within your students that you have, how do I, how do I come at that and attack that topic while at the same time, maybe talking about this other kind of tangential type of topic. So again, the point being is you interest, is that two way street, just because I’m interested in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that organizations or groups actually hire speakers to talk about that.
Yeah. I think that’s a, that’s a really great a really great point. Like we think of it as like we would call that positioning, right. So it’s just like, how do you position this in a way that it is what you do, but in a way that it was hireable by, by somebody else? I think that’s, I think that’s great. Okay. So then, so now you pick your topic, your pop problem, right? Okay. So then what’s the P
Yeah. The P is to prepare your talk, prepare your talk, basically get really, really clear on what’s the solution that you are gonna be providing to this audience. Now, this can come in a lot of different ways, meaning that oftentimes when we think of speaking, we think of keynotes, we think of kind of this, this large stage type of environment. But as we both know, there’s a lot of different ways that speaking can look. So there are absolutely keynotes, there are workshops and breakouts and small small groups and large groups. And you may just do a, a one hour block. You may do a five day thing with 30, 30 people, and really go deep on a topic in this day and age, thanks to the pandemic. There’s massive amount of opportunities with virtual. So all that to say that, that whenever it comes to preparing your talk, it can look a lot of different ways.
And I think that’s also part of what makes the speaking industry interesting and unique is that there’s gonna be some people who are listening and watching like, Hey, I would, I would love, love to do 50, 75, a hundred speaking gigs a year. And other people are like, that’s totally unappealing, but I would love to do five or 10. And I just don’t know, how do I find those five? Or how do I find those 10? And what do I speak about how much do I charge and how did this work? And so it can look a lot of different ways depending on what it is that you are trying to accomplish. But again, the P there is to prepare your talk, prepare that solution to the problem that you’re solving.
Okay. So let’s assume that you’ve got those, which is a giant assumption. Those are both very, absolutely very difficult things. Now, now you have your product to sell what happens next.
Yeah. So the E is to establish yourself as the expert. And so there are two key marketing assets that every speaker needs. Number one is you need a website. And number two is you need a demo video. So in this day and age, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. It’s hard for people to take you seriously. A demo video is one of those things that also feels a little bit fuzzy to people’s like, what exactly does that mean? I’ve heard that a sizzle reel, that sort of thing. What do I put in it? You know, what doesn’t need to be in it. So think of it kind like a movie trailer, the point of a movie trailer, as you take like a, a two hour movie, you’ll boil it down to two or three minutes. And within those two or three minutes, you have an idea of who’s in it.
What’s the plot, what’s the theme. What’s the genre. And the point of a demo video and the point of a movie trailer is to make you want to see more. So you wanna think about it in this way. If I’m an event planner, if I’m a decision maker, I am in the risk mitigation business, meaning that if I hire you Roy, to get up on my stage and I hand you a microphone, and I’m asking you to talk to my thousand attendees at that audience, anything you say can and will be used against me. So I need you. I need to make sure that you make me look good. And again, you and I have both had that experience before where
You and don’t make me look bad. Like the absolutely the number one objective is to not suck.
You that’s true, you are not terrible. You’re, you’ve got a long way for that meeting planner.
Right? And so whenever they’re making that decision, oftentimes they are putting their neck on the line. They’re putting their butt on the line by hiring you and going to bat for you. No, no, we need to have the speaker trust me. And so they don’t need to see necessarily like a, an entire video or an entire full length presentation of your talk. They just need to see a few minutes of it in the same way that there’s a lot of movies that may be amazing movies that neither you or I have seen just cuz like I solved two minutes of the trailer and I just knew like that wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s not what I’m looking for. Maybe it’s an amazing movie, just not what I’m looking for. And so that’s for, for an event planner for a decision maker, they need to see a couple of minutes there of your presentation, especially if they’re going to pay you. But especially as you are growing in your, in your speaking business and wanting to share that message with, with bigger audiences and some higher profile stages, that demo video becomes more and more important.
So are most of the demos that you’re seeing and, and you’re using. And are, are they, are you saying they, most of them are two to three minutes.
Yeah. I recommend like short, less is more. You’re doing shorter
You can, yeah, you can absolutely have you know, a longer video, a 10 minute video, a 15 minute video. But you think about from again from an event planner decision maker standpoint, whenever they are considering hiring you as a speaker, they’re not just looking at you, they’re looking at you and five or six, seven other speakers. And so they don’t have time to go through 30 minutes of video per speaker trying to determine whether or not it’s a fit. So they’re going to look at the initial kind of two or three minutes there and then they’re gonna probably whittle it down to two or three, maybe have a committee or board meeting to kind of determine who might be a good fit. And then maybe they wanna watch, you know, 10 or 15 minutes, but also think about it from the perspective of anybody watching any video.
Right? Anytime like someone just think about like a, a friend or a family member send you a video. Oh, I just saw this. This is hilarious. You gotta check this out. The first thing any of us do when we click on that link is we look to the lower left corner and look at the timestamp to see how long it is. If it’s more than a couple of minutes, like that’s an eternity in online video land ain. Nobody got time for that. So you wanna keep your video short, keep your video concise. So yeah, I think two, three, maybe four minutes is, is plenty to really convey what you need to, what you need to show to an event planner or decision maker.
Okay. All right. So demo video short to the like give them a sense of a taste of what it’s like to have you. And that’s what you’re saying between that and your website. You’re establishing yourself as the expert, which is the E
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s a, there’s plenty of things that you could do, but as far as getting, going and getting your foot in the door with decision makers and event planners, those are two of the key tools that you really need.
And what about start looking, let me ask you specifically about the you know, like in the old speaker days they used to, it used to be the one sheet and it was like, you have to have this one page, you know, sheet on your talk and who you are. Do you still recommend that? Do you still see that being in use? Like, are you finding that that’s not really necessary anymore?
Yeah, I think personally I think it’s less and less necessary or relevant because I think that’s essentially what your website is. And so one thing that’s important for any speaker to think about is, and I’d say maybe personal brand is, I know for me, when I got started, all I was trying to do was book gigs, book, gigs, bookcases book, that’s all I wanted to do. So I wasn’t worried about, you know, being a podcast or being an author or doing a course or any number of other things. Like all I wanted to do was book gigs. And so my website was specifically designed around that. Whereas again, one of the nice things with speaking is that it it’s, it can be fairly flexible. There’s some people that wanted 100% of their business is speaking. And some people, 5% of their business is speaking.
It’s not, it’s not, not that one’s better, worse than the other, but you gotta be really clear for yourself on how that kind of fits in. Meaning maybe you’re just trying to book a couple gigs and speaking’s a very small percentage of your business. Then you want your website to reflect that. And so maybe it’s not on, on the homepage or it’s not kind of a priority thing. Maybe it is more of a secondary thing on a secondary page. That’s totally fine. But oftentimes what the, the primary goal is for you as a speaker needs to be reflected in your marketing assets.
Okay. All right. A,
Hey acquire, paid speaking gigs. Now this is the part that, again, that we wanna, we wanna fast forward to, but again, I think this is also a good chance to kind of stop step back, look here of going, okay. I wanna fast forward to this, but again, if you don’t have these other foundational pieces of place, it’s
It’s really hard to book gigs. If, if you’re just gonna like, yeah, man, just tell me how to book gigs. Like, okay, well, who do you speak to? What problem do you solve? I don’t know. I’ll speak to one, whatever. How do I book gigs like that?
Well, and not only that, what I would say grant is it’s also not only is it difficult to book gigs, it actually works against you because you go to a speaker’s bureau or you go to an A-list client and you don’t have your stuff together. You might get one shot. I mean, I talk about this with podcast all the time. Like people come to me, can you introduce me to ed? My luck? Can you introduce me to Lewis house? Can you introduce me to a publisher? And I’m telling, and I’m going, I will do it when you are ready and promise. I promise you, you don’t want me to go too early, cuz they’re gonna give you one look. And if you don’t make it through the gate, the next time you come around, they’re gonna go. And I already saw them I’ll pass. Right? So it’s like, you gotta, when you get the shot, you gotta have your stuff dialed in and be ready. Otherwise it works against you to be there too early.
Yeah, absolutely. And, and so and in fact we were just talking a little bit before we started recording here about the the NSA convention. It was a national speakers association or national convention happened to be this year in our backyard here in the national area. But at the, at the event I was catching up with a speaker friend of mine that has done very, very well. And he was wanting to get in with a bureau. I’m, I’m good friends with a a bureau here in town that I think you do some work with as well. And so I was talking with the, the president of that bureau and, and I was talking with this other speaker and I said, Hey, do you want me to make an introduction? Me knowing that this guy’s ready and he could, he could absolutely connect with him, made the introduction, they hit it off.
They continued to keep in touch. And I think they’re gonna start doing some work together. But again, the point being is I think especially early on speakers are going, like, how do I get in with a bureau? How do I get in with the agent? And it’s kind of this catch 22, where, where that if you’re not already consistently booking gigs, especially at a decent fee, then bureaus, aren’t gonna be interested in you. And typically once you get going and you build some momentum and you’re doing a lot of gigs then you don’t necessarily need a bureau or an agent. And so one of the best things that you can do whenever it comes to acquiring paid speaking gigs is learn how to do this on your own, rather than being dependent on some other group or organization. That’s just going to do that.
So it there this, and far as booking gigs, I think it’s, it’s easy to kind of create some type of mystique around it. Like there’s some like secret code that you have to have to be able to connect with people, but it, it’s not. It’s a matter of having a system and a process to consistently reach out, to follow up with decision makers and event planner. So if I reach out to an event planner, who’s working on a conference and you know, next spring, I’m not trying to convince them that they already that they need to have a speaker. They’re already planning on having a speaker. I’m just showing them why I may be a good for, for that event. So so having a, a system and a process to reach out to events, to follow up with events, not just say, Hey, I, you know, I have my website, I have my demo video, and now I’m gonna sit back and I’m wait for the phone to ring, or I’m gonna post some such some stuff on social media, or I’m going to post some create a podcast or I’m gonna post some YouTube videos.
And then I’m going to reactively. Hopefully people magically find me like that. Doesn’t work. Speaking is very much a momentum business. And so there’s a a, a, a friend of mine in the, the speaking space who always says, the more you speak, the more you speak and whenever you speak, it does tend to lead to some of these organic opportunities of repeat business of word, of mouth, of referrals, amongst other speakers or event planners, or attendees that are in the audience. But you have to start to plant some seeds to in terms of booking gigs, instead of again, just building a website and hoping that people magically find out about you.
So this is effectively sales. You have to identify some prospects, you have to contact them, whether it’s by, by phone or by email or by referral introduction or they see you, or they see you somewhere. But like you have to reach out to them, tell ’em about your product or service, and then follow up with them to help them make a decision. I mean, that, is that what you’re saying? There’s not like a secret
A thousand percent. Yeah, absolutely. I, I don’t think there is necessarily some, some magical secret. It it’s stuff that that absolutely works. It’s worked for years and years and years. It’s just one of those things that most speakers don’t enjoy or most speakers don’t want to do. Like, yeah, I just wanna, I just wanna stand on stage. I don’t really wanna do sales. I don’t really wanna do marketing. I don’t really want to talk about myself. I, I get that. We all understand that, but like that’s part of the business. There reminds me a lot of there’s a book emo by Michael Gerber and he talks about the difference between huge, the illustration of someone who is an entrepreneur who owns a bakery. And he talks about the difference between being a good baker and running a bakery. And those are two different skill sets.
Meaning maybe you make the best breads or cupcakes or cakes or whatever it may be. You’re an amazing baker, but being a great baker, that’s not automatically translate to you being running a great bakery. And the same thing is true with speakers. There are so many speakers that are amazing on stage. They have phenomenal content, but a big part of being a successful speaker is the sales is the marketing is following up, is being amazing off stage, which has little to, nothing to do with how you present on stage. And so you have to recognize that that a big part of being a speaker has nothing to do with you being on stage giving a good message. Does that matter? Absolutely. That stuff is super important, but a big, I would say a bigger part of being successful as a speaker is what happens off stage in terms of the sales and marketing efforts that you put in.
You mentioned social media, how much does social media just getting your honest opinion here in assessment of speaking fees, getting the gigs, you know, how much does social media play into this? Is it, is that how you get gigs? Does it matter with your fee? Is it completely irrelevant? Is it, you know, all that matters? Like, just give, give me your, your opinion on that.
Yeah. My 2 cents would be I think it depends on the event planner and it depends on the industry and kind of what their, their criteria are. Okay. So lemme give an example. So there are some event planners, some decision makers who are gonna put a lot of stock into what someone’s online, social media clout, and platform is going to look like, right? In some cases that’s gonna be a big deal, other event planners, depending on the nature of what it is that they are looking for, may not care about that at all in the same way that some event planners may be looking for a speaker who has, you know, some a significant accomplishment or achievement that the audience is gonna recognize. Maybe they, you know, won a gold medal. They played in the NBA, they play some type of professional sport.
They have climbed Mount Everest blindfolded in their shorts. You know, they, there’s some type of specific thing that they’re looking for. And so it kind of depends on the event. And so for me personally, I don’t, I don’t put a ton of stock in social media. And again, that’s just kind of me personally, does that help or hurt me? I’m sure. In some cases it, it does hurt and that in some cases it doesn’t matter. And so it’s kind of, you know, we were talking a little bit about this before we started recording of as entrepreneurs. There’s a thousand different things that you could do in your business that move the needle, right. And as an entrepreneur, you can’t do them all. And so you have to kind of determine and prioritize. What’s going to have the biggest impact in your business.
So let me give you a quick illustration of this. I remember several years ago my wife and I were interested in doing some real estate investing, didn’t know a ton about it was kind of intrigued by, it reached out to a friend who had done a, a ton of real estate. Investing, knew all about it. And I said, Hey, man, I’m, I’m just getting into this world. I’m trying to learn here. And I said I said, you have all these different types of real estate investing. Okay. You have single family homes and, and multi-family homes and apartments and mobile home parks and raw land and commercial properties. And short-term rental Airbnb on and on and on the list goes, and then I said, which one is best? And he said, yes. And I was like, that’s not helpful. And I was like, what do you mean by that?
And he’s like, they all work. What you won’t find though, is you won’t find someone who’s doing everything. And so we can both point to a speaker right now who’s killing it, using Instagram or a podcast or Facebook or Twitter or social media and someone else who’s absolutely killing it. Who’s not touching any of those things. So it’s not necessarily that you have to do one or that you have to do the other, but ultimately I think determining for you for what it is you’re trying to accomplish based on the in addition to the industry that you’re in which you’re speaking on and determining if that’s something that, that is a big part of what it is that you’re trying to do and, and build.
Yeah. Interesting. All right. So we have to acquire the gig. We’ve got everything put to place. We gotta go find these people. We gotta follow up with them, reach out to them, follow up with them. What’s the K
K is no when to scale, no, when to scale. And what we mean by that is people who are interested in speaking are also probably interested in a lot of other things. They also probably want to do coaching or consulting or write a book or do a podcast, or do a course. And so you can do any number of things, but you can’t do all the things at once. So something’s gonna come first. Something’s gonna come last. And this is where I think you do such a great job of teaching. How does speaking fit into the mix of the, in of the bigger pie and what it is that you’re going to accomplish? Cause like we touched on, there are speakers who do five gigs a year and speakers that do 50 gigs a year. And it’s not that one’s better, worse than the other, but you’ve gotta determine for yourself where does speaking fit into the mix of what it is that you are trying to accomplish?
So again, just realizing like you, you can’t do it all. And, and but being clear on, Hey, this is how speaking fits in, or this is how speaking is a, a driver for other parts of my business. So let me give you a quick example of this. There’s a, a client that we worked with a while back and they were doing they were doing 20 or 30 speaking gigs a year, but they were doing it as lead generation for their coaching business. And so they would do a lot of free speaking engagements, but for the right type of audience and they were generating literally hundreds of thousands of, of dollars in revenue for their coaching business. But the whole thing was built upon the Legion that they were getting from these speaking engagements that they were doing. So again, the point being is, is for them, it made sense to do a lot of free engagements, but for the right type of audience, cuz that’s what was building their coaching business. Whereas for someone else, like it may, may not make sense to do as many free gigs. And so again, just determining like how does speaking best fit into the mix of what you want to accomplish?
Yeah. At a simplified version. Yeah. There, there’s certainly a large element of that, of, of identifying potential decision makers, event planners, reaching out to them. Some of it is to your point of figuring out who actually is the decision maker. So you know, just because you, you know, just because someone is a, a VP of whatever doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the ones that are, are ultimately pulling the trigger. Another thing to think through and be aware of when you’re reaching out to people is what’s the timeline for when they are making decisions about speakers. So for example, if we’re recording this right now and in the summer and you come across an amazing event, that’s happening next month there’s a high likelihood they’ve already picked their speaker for. So reaching out and saying like, Hey, I saw this event that’s happening next month.
You should totally hire me. It’s like, no, no, like you already missed the boat on that. So another thing that we always work with speakers on is to really have a long term perspective on this, that you are in the relationship of building business. And the reality is that relationships take time. I think, think of one particular event where I, I reached out to for five straight years with this event planner and just following up, Hey, we booked another speaker. Oh, that’s cool. Remind me what you’ll start. It looks like you’ll start reviewing speakers again for next year’s event, you know, in a couple of months. Awesome. Is it okay if I follow up with you then, and then following up with them then did that for five straight years. And I don’t know if eventually they just ran into options, but eventually they, they hired me.
But I think again, having a, a, a long term perspective on this to reach out, to follow up so often what happens is if you reach out to an event planner decision maker and, and, and they say, well, we’re not looking for speakers right now, but feel free to check back with us in four months. They don’t expect you to follow up with them. They don’t expect you to reach out. And the, the reality is, is like most speakers don’t and most speakers are just kinda leave the ball in their court of just saying like, well, Hey, if you know, if you ever need a speaker, I hope you think of me like that just doesn’t work. If they say, Hey, we’re gonna start reviewing speakers in November, then you would say, Hey, is it okay if I follow up with you in November?
And they’re gonna say, absolutely, and then have a system in place, whether that’s a CRM or, or post-it note or whatever you need to do, have a system or process in place that you’re going to follow up with them in December. And there’s a lot more we could, you know, dig into or in November a lot more. We can dig into exactly what to do exactly what to say there, but again, having systems in place to reach out, to, to follow up with people so that whenever they’re ready to make a decision that ultimately they’re thinking of and, and deciding on you,
All right. I’ll give you a bunch of different answers on this. And so first of all, lemme give you a shortcut answer. So we have a, a free speaking fee calculator. So if you wanna check that out, it’s over at my speaker, feed.com, my speaker feed.com. It’s totally free, but you basically just answer a couple multiple choice questions. There it’ll spit out a number of what you could be charging there. And, and Roy, as you well know, speaking fees are much more of an art than a science. There’s a lot of variables that go into it. I’ll give you a couple of variables. One is gonna be your industry. You can charge more in some industries versus others. You can charge more speaking to corporations than you can to nonprofits. Typically you can charge more to colleges than you could to elementary schools.
It’s not that one industry is better worse than the other, that each pond kind of has its own kind of different fee ranges that they’re used to another factor of variable is gonna be your marketing assets. So we talked about your website, your demo video earlier, whether we like it or not, whether we want admit it or not people judge books by their cover. And so if you are a, you know, let’s say you’re a 10,000, $20,000 speaker and your website, your demo video don’t look sharp. They don’t look professional. And specifically they don’t look on par relative to other speakers who are in that same range. Then an event planner may be looking at or deciding between it’s hard to take you seriously. So it doesn’t mean that you need to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on your marketing assets.
You just need to make sure that they look sharp and professional. Another variable is just going to be your your speaking experience, meaning if you’re a brand new speaker, just getting started and you’re just kind of getting your at bats, getting your reps there. You probably won’t be able to charge as much as someone who’s been doing this for five, 10, maybe 20 years. And it’s probably just a better speaker. The way that you get better as a speaker is that you speak, it’s the same way that you get better as a writer, as a podcaster, as you do the thing. And so you and I happen to be decent at speaking, not because we have anything, any special gift or ability, but because we’ve given hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of presentations and all different environments and settings and some that have gone incredibly well and some that have been a complete disaster, but the each time you speak, you’re getting that real time feedback from the audience that helps you to refine your message and your presentation skills.
So those would be a couple of the different variables that go into your speaking fee. And let me piggyback and, and kind of answer another kind of similar question there, which is is it okay to speak for free or speaking for free a bad thing? And I think oftentimes that that speaking for free has like this negative connotation that if you are speaking for free, you’re not a real speaker or people aren’t gonna take you seriously. And so what I would say is it’s okay to speak for free caveat, as long as you know why you’re doing it, don’t just do it out of the goodness of your heart. You are running a business and you have to treat this as a business. And so one of the things I heard early on actually from a mutual friend, Jason Dorsey, he said, when you’re speaking for free, you’re providing something of value.
And so you need to receive something of value in exchange. And that thing that you receive in exchange may or may not be in the form of a check. So there’s a lot of different ways that you could receive value that may not come in the form of currency. Okay. So it may be, for example, let’s say that you go speak at something. And I mentioned this client earlier, who does a lot of coaching. And so, you know, if you go speak and you have some type of backend book or product or service or coaching or consulting thing that you offer, you go speak at the right type of audience and it generates significant sales on the back end. Speaking for free may make a ton of sense for you. Maybe it makes sense to speak for free. If you know that this is gonna get my foot in the door with this client, and it’s going to potentially lead to a bunch of other events.
I remember a few years ago, I was speaking in an event and I took a, a slightly lower fee, but I, I made an arrangement with the decision maker and said, Hey, assuming I’d do a good job. And the whole thing’s predicated on me showing up and delivering doing my part. Then I want you to introduce me to five other event planners that you think would be a good fit that you and I both agree I would be a good fit for. And if you can make an endorsement recommendation and a personal introduction to them, to that decision maker, it means nothing. It costs them nothing, but to me it’s worth something. So another quick example would be a friend of mine spoke was invited to speak at something in Europe a couple years ago, and he doesn’t do a ton of speaking.
So we were kind of talking through speaking fees and I said, Hey, here’s, here’s one thing you could do is you can negotiate to have them also fly your spouse over your wife over and extend the stay for you at the, at the place where they’re gonna be doing the event. You can turn it into a European vacation on their dime. So again, the point being is there’s a lot of different ways that you can receive something of value that may or may not involve a whether or not you got paid and got a check for it.
Thanks buddy. I appreciate it.