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PSU Insight

Getting Started Right

Why Be a Pro Speaker?

  • Here are 10 good reasons why starting a career as a speaking professional is a terrific idea.

Many professional speakers swear that pro speaking is the best of all possible careers! But is it the right career for you? Here are 10 good reasons why moving "from free to fee" is a great idea!

Let's face it... there are darned few careers where you can name your own salary or fee. And pro speaking is one of those exclusive careers.

No income limits signThere are no salary caps on what pro speakers can be paid, and there are no outside agencies regulating your fees. You can charge whatever you want, and you can raise your fees without anyone's approval — assuming, of course, that the people who hire you agree that you're worth what you're charging.

That means that if you think you're worth $1 million to give a speech — and you can convince other people that you're worth that much money — then you're in a position to make more money with a single speech than many people make in a lifetime.

(Now, to be honest, only a few speakers ever become millionaires. And you will have to work your asterisk off to make those megabucks. But the point is, it's your decision how much you can charge... not the government, not a union, and not a regulatory agency.)

In short, nobody can limit how much money you can make as a pro speaker... except you!

There are only so many openings for U.S. Senators and Representatives. There are a limited number of sports teams that athletes can play for. There are a limited number of movies shot each year, using a limited number of actors. The government regulates how many doctors and lawyers can enter the workplace each year.

Many industries have a limited number of "jobs" available, and if there are more job applicants than there are jobs available, you've got a problem. But again, not with pro speaking!

Cavett Roberts founded the National Speakers Association with the idea that "when more people come to the table, we'll bake a bigger pie!" As a pro speaker, you create your own job opening! (Of course, you gotta know how.)

You don't have to wait for a pro speaker "job opening" — it's waiting for you!

Does your current job have any sort of meaning? When you go to work each day, do you feel a sense of pride? Of purpose? You're busy, but are you accomplishing something worthwhile?

Are you making a difference, or are you just drawing a paycheck?

There are a number of industries where you can make a difference. But there are very few industries where you can make as big a difference as you can as a professional speaker!

As a pro speaker, you'll make a living and make a difference! That's why many speakers describe pro speaking as "the hardest work you'll ever love!"

Do you remember the "good ol' days"? (Or if you're too young to remember them, maybe you've read about them?) Those days when, if you were a hard worker, you could be assured of keeping your job for as long as you wanted? Well, if you haven't noticed, those days are long gone!

Job security is a thing of the past, and even pro speaking doesn't guarantee you a job. But in many industries, whether or not you keep your job is based on many factors that are out of your control. Not pro speaking! If you work hard and work smart, you've got the closest thing to "job security" as you'll find anywhere.

When you're a pro speaker, other people don't control your destiny. You do!

No discrimination signUnfortunately, there are still some industries where you can't be successful because of your race... or your gender... or your age... or your lifestyle... or your physical appearance... or your level of education... or lots of other exclusionary factors.

But not professional speaking! Being "different" is not only acceptable, it can actually be an asset in creating a successful career as a pro speaker.

Here's the bottom line — if pro speaking is your dream, then nothing — not your age, not your gender, not your race — nothing stands between you and the fulfillment of your dream!

Many industries require that you go into them full-time. Not pro speaking! You can start your pro speaking career by working part-time at your business... until you simply can't afford to keep working at your old job because you're making so much money in your new career as a pro speaker!

Of course, the more time you can dedicate to your career, the sooner you'll achieve success. But if you can spare only a few minutes a day, then that's OK... because every single minute you spend on becoming a pro speaker brings you one step closer to fulfilling your dream!

Bogus Speakers LicenseTo become a pro speaker, you don't need a "speaker's license". You have no exams to pass, no conditions to meet, and no applications to submit. You don't need to be certified or approved by anyone. You don't need to join a union or other professional association. You don't need to get a permit. You don't need a degree.

In short, you don't need permission... from anybody!

Pro speaking is one of the last truly entrepreneurial activities, and your career is not under the control of anyone else.

You don't need to prove your qualifications to anyone except your audience! And you don't need permission from anyone to pursue your dream!

Unfortunately, it can be incredibly expensive to start your own business. It typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a fast-food restaurant. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to open a dry cleaners. In most places, it costs several thousand dollars just to get your real estate license.

loose coinsBut since all you need to start your speaking career is (1) your voice, (2) having something to talk about that people want to hear, and (3) knowing what you're doing, your start-up costs can be quite small! (But as with anything, you need to spend that money wisely, knowing where you get the biggest bang for your buck!)

Bottom line — becoming a pro speaker doesn't have to bust your budget. And in these unsettling economic times, that counts for a lot!

two people jumping for joy on the beachAs a pro speaker, you're treated as someone special... because you are!

Successful pro speakers are not only paid well, they're treated well by the people who hire them. (And, of course, if you're good, your audience will reward you with the greatest sound of all — sustained, enthusiastic applause!)

Pro speakers will tell you that nothing beats the sound of applause... except, maybe, for the money! But whatever form of appreciation you like to receive, when you're a pro speaker (and if you're really good), you can be assured that your efforts will be appreciated... and rewarded!

People jumping for joyThe 10th reason isn't very scientific, but it's possibly the most important. Being a pro speaker is fun!

Of course, as in any business, you have bad days to go along with the good days. But as pro speakers will tell you, the good times far outweigh the bad.

It all comes down to this — life is short, and you spend so much of it at your job. Shouldn't you be spending all that time doing something that you want to do?

And that's my ten great reasons why you might want to be a pro speaker. Of course, there's nothing magical about 10 reasons — you may think of others.

Now, when you've decided to make the move "from free to fee", here are several resources that will cut months off your learning curve:

  • Are you wondering if being a pro speaker is the right career move for you, you should take our Pro Speaker Assessment Quiz. It's short (only 10 questions), it's free, and it just might give you some insights into whether or not you've got what it takes to be a pro speaker.
  • When you embark on your career as a professional speaker, one of your biggest challenges is figuring out how to market yourself and your programs... without busting your budget. You can save yourself a lot of trouble and money by checking out Finders Speakers now.
  • And of course, there's Pro Speaker U (which you've already discovered). PSU won't tell you everything you need to know about pro speaking, but it'll give you a good head start. And it's free, so it won't bust your budget.

So what are you waiting for? An exciting and profitable career as a professional speaker awaits you, but it's up to you to take the first steps!

Here's wishing you every success on your journey!

Jim Barber
Head Barber, The Barber Shop
Creator, Finders Speakers

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