I am currently in the middle of business planning for 2015. I have three main revenue streams: Speaking, consulting/advisement, and writing. In 2013 my first business book, Think Like a Rock Star was published. One of the reasons why I was excited about writing a book was the assumption that it would lead to more speaking opportunities. And it did, I have spoken more in the 20 months since Think Like a Rock Star was published than I did in the previous 5 years. I went from speaking a few times a year to a few times a month. I was even able to speak a couple of times in 2 different states in the same day (which sounded much cooler when I planned it).
But over the last few months I’ve realized that the actual speaking just wasn’t as interesting to me as it once was, and I have been struggling to figure out why. So I backed up and asked myself ‘When did you enjoy speaking the most?’ I realized it was in 2011. That year, I only spoke about 4 or 5 times during the year. But by speaking less, it allowed me to do two very important things:
1 – Spend more time customizing and improving my talk. I was able to spend up to 2 months working on one talk for one event.
2 – Spend more time actually connecting with the audience at the event BEFORE I got to the event!
Those two points also worked off each other. By having 2 months to work on each talk, I was able to devote more time to the talk itself, but also more time getting to know the audience I would be giving the talk to. I was able to customize the talk based on interactions and feedback with the attendees up to 2 months before they got to the event. This feedback and these interactions also helped the attendees become invested in my talk. They knew what the talk was about, and they helped promote it (and the event) to others. So by the time I got to the event, it was literally standing room only, as everyone was looking forward to my talk, and knew all about it from reading my blog and interacting with me on Twitter and Facebook.
I loved it, the audience loved it, and the event organizers definitely loved it. But over the last year and a half, the simple volume of talks I gave made it impossible to devote the time I wanted to promoting each event, interacting with attendees and on my talk.
So I decided to change that for 2015. In 2015 I am going to cap the number of paid speaking engagements I will take to 8 for the year. This way, I can spend much more time on each talk, on getting to know the audience, and on promoting the event. It also means I can be much more selective on which events I speak at. And when I agree to speak at an event, I can be an invested promotional partner for that event.
And yes, that’s going to obviously cap the potential revenue I can make from speaking in 2015. But you know what? There’s more to speaking than just arriving at an event 30 mins before you speak and leaving 30 mins after your talk ends. I’ve had to do that a few times in the past 20 months and I hate it. It’s not fair to the audience, it’s not fair to the event organizers, and it’s not fair to me. In 2015 I am going to work harder and take the time to be more invested in each event I speak at, to be more invested in connecting with the audience 2 months in advance, not 2 days in advance.
So here’s to speaking less, and making a bigger impact when I do. If you’d like to get more information on securing one of my 8 speaking slots in 2015 and my rates, then click here. And thanks!