Last time I checked there are still 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. That means as a speaker you have a very limited number of hours in a day and days in the year that you can speak in front of a live audience.
Whether you’re a high-dollar keynote speaker or the person who speaks for free but generates your revenue by selling in the back of the room, there are some practical limitations to how much you are able to earn as a speaker unless you can figure out how to scale your business without it all being done by you.
Scalability is critical to the growth of any business. Whether you’re running a donut shop or a fulfillment company or a speaking business there will be factors that can constrain your growth. As a speaker, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the biggest constraint is time.
Think about it. If you’re a keynote speaker, then you’re probably going to a corporate gathering or other events for one day. In most cases, you’re going to have a day of travel in front of the speaking engagement and probably a day of travel on the backside. That means, in reality, you can probably only do a maximum of 52 keynotes per year—could be a few more or a few less depending on how things fall, but you get the idea. There is a definite time constraint.
If you’re a back-of-the-room seller, most of those events are three days long. With a day of travel on either end, you’re tying up five calendar days per engagement. So, maybe you can only do 35- 40 events per year. Once again, this is a massive time constraint.
To combat this unyielding time allotment, you must figure out answers to the scalability problem. Here are just a few ideas for you to consider:
#1 Prerecorded Presentations
If you’re doing live speaking engagements in order to sell your products or services at the back of the room, there’s no reason you can’t record your presentation and put it online as a prerecorded webinar that people can watch 24/7. There are many webinar platforms on the market that can either serve up your presentation on demand or at prescheduled times.
#2 Recurring Revenue
I’ve heard from multiple speakers over the years that their biggest regret is not developing a recurring revenue component to their speaking business earlier. If you’re selling at a conference, what can you put together to generate a recurring revenue stream? Maybe it’s a coaching program or maybe it’s some type of membership site or software as a service.
The comfort of knowing what revenue you already have scheduled to come in next month is immeasurable. You’re not just relying on when you can land that next speaking gig to generate revenue.
#3 The Franchise Model
Is what you teach others something you can teach others to do? Think Fred Pryor, John Maxwell, and CareerTrack for example. Can you systematize what you teach and how you teach it and have others do it under your umbrella? In essence we’re talking about a franchise or licensing model where others will pay you for the right to use your knowledge and training materials.
#4 Raise Your Rates
While not technically “scaling” almost all keynote speakers should consider an increase in their rates. And every platform seller should consider raining their prices. Generating more revenue for the same amount of work is, in effect, scaling.
By its very nature the speaking business is a business that is generally constrained by the time element. Anything you can do as a speaker to leverage your time and efforts to scale your business will lead to a more profitable speaking business for you!