I just returned from an NSA chapter meeting where I was reminded where I came from.
Our speaker for the meeting was Jessica Pettitt, a rockstar speaker and NSA board member.
Jess and I attended grad school together at USC in the late 90's. During this same time, we both started speaking to college students. A few years later, we joined the CAMPUSPEAK collegiate bureau at the same time. We were in the same "rookie" class.
So knowing her from the beginning and hearing her present with 20 years later was not only entertaining and extremely informative, it was also nostalgic.
You see, in my speaking career, there have been many times when I almost quit. There have been many more times when I've felt doubt and not good enough. I came close to moving back in with Mom and Dad once. But I didn't.
This past weekend, Jess's presence alone was a realization how far I've come and what I've been through just to get to this point. And more importantly, watching her was an awakening to how glad I am that I never quit speaking although I wanted to so many times.
So look, I know how tough it can be to build a speaking business. I started from scratch. I had NOTHING when I first started and was nearly broke.
When I resigned my "dream job" as a Dean of Students to start speaking full time, I wasn't even sure what to do or where to start. But I didn't let that stop me. I focused. I began with the end in mind. I studied the industry where I wanted to start. And then I pounded pavement. I began priming the pump.
I pounded and primed through the exhaustion and self-doubt. My vision of eventually seeing water flow through my pump-priming-efforts was all I had to work through the exhaustion at times.
Within 6 months of me quitting my job, I had 11 keynotes lined up.
Something I've never said before though is that only 1 of those keynotes paid me a dime. The other 10 were freebies.
BUT within 1 year after that, those free keynotes planted "seeds" growing into over $100,000 in "fruit" - i.e. speaking engagements.
I don't write that to impress you. I write it to impress upon you what a successful speaking business will require. If you have the grit and fortitude and desire, then I see no reason why you can't be successful as long as you have and follow the right strategy.
I primed my pump then, and I continually prime my pump even now. A successful speaking business is a byproduct combining your goals, the strategy you have to achieve those goals, and the work ethic you'll apply to make it happen and push through.
I discovered a process - a strategy - that worked for me. And this strategy works for me to this day ... but now only much quicker.
And I've outlined my speaking business strategy in my book, PAID to $PEAK.
If you believe in your message and you feel called to speak, then know it'll likely be the toughest job you ever loved. But you don't have to struggle like I did. Instead, learn my strategy. Study it. Apply it for yourself. Contact me for help.
The common denominator of successful speakers is that they pound pavement to get there.
These quotes below are what I shared with my leadership newsletter subscribers earlier today in a message. Compiling them made me think of you, because we have to be our biggest motivators.
And there are times where I need these quotes just as much as anyone.
Click here to view some of my favorite self-motivating quotes.
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In addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers develop their own. Whether it's in crafting a speech, identifying target groups who can pay, and/or how to get the speaking gig itself, I can help. I've keynoted over 1,150 presentations in practically every industry you can imagine. My book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers. If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, contact me for a free consultation. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated. If you're not a subscriber to these speaker articles, submit your email today!
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