I am constantly asked about how I started my journey of going from professional athlete to professional speaker. My response is always along the lines of the fact that it’s a PROCESS! There are many different hoops and hurdles that you must navigate in order to begin your career as a speaker. One of the many obstacles is learning how to endure the season of building a solid foundation that will create long-term success.
Like many other professions, it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. If you are someone who is looking to volunteer at schools to speak at their career day then this article is not intended for you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If you are looking to build a business that eventually helps you to sustain yourself while having an impact on others then I encourage you to checkout these tips to help you start your career as a professional speaker.
1. Intention Is Everything
Knowing your intentions for building a speaking business will play a major role in your success. If your intention is to receive some type of fame or recognition from being up on stages, then nine times out of ten you will not be willing to do what it takes to survive the days of small beginnings. If you are just looking for a way to make some extra money then there is no way you will be willing to do the work that leads to future opportunities, which includes speaking for free.
When I began as a speaker, my first audiences were kids on little league football teams in my hometown. My goal was to inspire them and let them know that they could accomplish their dreams regardless of their circumstances. From there the opportunities grew to different schools, churches, businesses, and associations. My intention has always been to inspire others using my gifts, talents, and experiences.
As a speaker you must have a deeper reason for what you do. Having a bigger purpose will allow you to endure hearing all of the no’s, the times when your message doesn’t go so well, or the times when you are putting forth your best effort and get no response.
2. Be Willing To Invest In Yourself
Many people love the idea of having the freedom to work for themselves, traveling, getting paid, and making a difference using their story. As a coach I come across aspiring speakers and presenters who want to create an amazing career for themselves, but very rarely are those same people willing to invest in themselves. Investing in yourself goes beyond financial commitment. You have to be willing to put in the time necessary to study your craft, make those phone calls, or put yourself out there by networking and connecting with those who can help. Opportunities aren’t going to to just come to you because you post a few motivational pictures on your social media account and have a nice website. You have to invest time, money, and energy early on in order to be successful in the long run.
3. You Must Build A Team
If you hope to truly build a successful professional speaking business you have to surround yourself with the right people at all times. Like many businesses you must have allies who can help you along the way. I would never have gotten to the position I am in today if not for mentors who advised me, managers who I could delegate tasks to, and many other professionals who helped connect me with opportunities.
If you take the time to study those who have built impactful businesses focused on professional speaking – Individuals like Eric Thomas, Tony Robins, John Maxwell, and Les Brown – one of the main reasons why they are so successful is because they have an amazing team around them. Their name may be at the forefront, but behind them are many people who have a vested interest in their success. They have a network of people that create their content, help secure and negotiate their engagements, and even write their books for them! There is no secret that teamwork makes the dream work.
I built my team slowly by paying attention to what others said about them and evaluating them based off of their actions. You should be always be sure to choose your teammates wisely as they are a reflection of you. Anybody who I have chosen to work with has similar values, vision, and intentions that I have when it comes to doing what I do.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
As you continue on your journey it is important that you remember to never try to compare yourself to anyone. Whether it is speaking, coaching, or any other route you choose understand that no success happens overnight. Sometimes the biggest downfall for people is when success happens too fast. You must focus on having the right intentions, investing in yourself, and building the right team. Of course these tips won’t automatically guarantee success, but it will get you moving in the right direction. If you are interested in a career as a professional speaker or you just want to improve your skills feel free to visit renniecurran.com. I am always here to help.
Rennie Curran is a keynote speaker, author, and the CEO of Game Changer Coaching. His mission is to empower individuals, teams, and organizations by delivering powerful presentations, workshops, and private coaching on topics such as leadership, performance, and personal branding. He obtained his Bachelors in Business Management from the University of Georgia and received his coaching certification through the Life Purpose Institute. Visit renniecurran.com for more information.