This past summer, my son Noah started helping in my business. After a few days of work, he came to me and said, “Mom, I always thought you just got on stage and gave speeches. I had no idea how much you did!”
So, if you, like Noah, thought the answer to this question was “sit around and eat bon bons,” not so fast.
The truth is most people don’t know how much behind the scenes work it takes to be a professional speaker. In fact, the question “what do professional speakers do in their free time?” was trending in Google searches this month.
I’ve decided to tackle this question head-on with a day-in-the-life look at the ten major activities I do for my business outside of speaking on stage.
Let’s get into them.
Years ago, when I first started my business, I was terrified to speak, so I knew I needed to follow a structure for developing amazing speeches. Overtime, I developed my own system that we now use to teach other speakers, financial professionals, and entrepreneurs how to give great speeches. It’s called the Crazy Good Talks Blueprint, and to this day, that’s what I use whenever I prepare a speech!
While writing a new speech may take 10-15 hours, I spend at least 20 hours practicing it. When you’re up on a stage in front of a live audience, it’s a whole different ball game than rehearsing it in the mirror or in the living room with your family. It’s crucial to know every word and every pause like the back of your hand. Having my speech down pat allows me to be in the moment with my audience and never get thrown off or go off on useless, boring tangents.
Create Promotional Materials to Get Booked
Professional speakers also have to be great copywriters and marketers. We create what’s called a speaker sheet, which is a one-page digital document with the title of our speech and a bullet-point list of what the audience will learn. This may sound simple, but a speaker sheet has to be as compelling as possible to stand out from the masses. Along with this sheet, there’s demo videos, blogs, articles, social media, and more. Check out my website to see examples!
Networking & Doing Research for Leads on Speaking Gigs
As the saying goes, it’s not what you know—it’s who you know.
Reaching Out to Leads & Developing Relationships
This one’s pretty self-explanatory…like any business, building relationships is fundamental to your success (and happiness!).
Follow-Up & Nurture Leads
The not-so-glamorous part of professional speaking is that it can take years to get booked by some companies. It once took me 7 years to get on a company’s stage. Talk about playing the long game! But oftentimes, that’s what it takes. Staying patient and nurturing your leads are key.
Content Creation & Logistics Meetings
Once we get booked, we hold meetings with the meeting planner, and here’s where I use an interview process I created called The Home-Run Hitter. It’s an amazing resource to ensure you can show up at an event and hit a home run, and, because I want YOU to hit home runs, here it is for free.
After giving a speech, we set up another meeting to debrief how everything went. The goal here is to turn one gig into another, and another, and another. Most companies invite me back over and over again, so don’t ever forget the importance of following up!
Even though I have my own Speaking, Storytelling, and Content Creation Program where I teach others how to become paid professional speakers, I continuously invest in myself by hiring coaches to help me on the business development side and on the stagecraft side. I want to continue getting better and better—not just for me, but for my audiences, as well. They have plenty of other things they could be doing with their time. It’s an honor and privilege they choose to spend it with me, so I better make it worth their time! If you want to make five figures from speaking professionally, you need to invest in coaches and mentors. You CANNOT get there alone!
Be a Leader and Visionary
Finally, I’m running a business. This isn’t just a speaking side hustle for me. My business has a speaking arm, an agency arm, and a training arm. For example, one of my favorite things we do as a business, is to help financial professionals and entrepreneurs identify, create, and leverage their Personal Brand WHY Story.
That was a lot…I think I need a bon bon!