Becoming a Professional Speaker
I recently took a webinar on “How to Become a Paid Writer and Speaker,” presented by Benjamin Vogt. Vogt is a landscape architect who writes gardening books.
One idea I came away with is the need for a writer to develop a business model and plan. Given that for most of us, writing is a low-paying job, what can we do to make it sustainable? Many writers become instructors of workshops and seminars; some offer editing and free-lance writing services. I have edited, formatted, and published the books of others through my company, Summit Crossroads Press. Vogt’s own business plan for generating income comprises five percent income from online classes, five percent from book sales, five percent from freelance articles, 35 percent from speaking fees, and 50 percent from garden design. But first, he says, discover your passion and use your unique perspective to guide you in developing your business. I would add that you develop that passion to become an expert in whatever your passion is, Then gain experience and recognition by speaking for free to the many community groups always seeking interesting programs. Write for their newsletters, exchange blog posts. Extend your reach however you can. I would add joining Toastmasters International. Toastmasters clubs are as ubiquitous as AA meetings and through their meeting format offer experience in leading a meeting, speaking spontaneously on any subject, delivering prepared speeches, and evaluating the speeches of others.