How Can I Become a Motivational Speaker?
I am often asked, “How can I become a motivational speaker? How can I get started? How much money can I earn?” I’ve been an industry insider for more than 15 years and can help if you’re looking to pursue a career in the speaking industry. As President of the Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau, I can assure you that whether you’re just starting out or simply curious about becoming a motivational speaker, this blog will help. Or, if you’ve tried to become a motivational speaker but have yet to “crack the code” of earning tens of thousands of dollars as a speaker, this is for you, too.
Most motivational speakers are driven by a desire to:
- Share their experience or their knowledge,
- Enjoy the travel and excitement of being a professional, paid motivational speaker,
- Have great influence,
- Promote a book they’ve written, or
- Earn a highly lucrative income doing what they love … sharing their story.
These are all fantastic reasons. Many speakers can find themselves in high demand. Some successful speakers include those who have conquered overwhelming adversity, achieved a tremendous and unique accomplishment, or those who have business or life experience and a talent for storytelling.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Motivational Speaker?
Aspiring speakers ask, “Does it take a lot of skill to become successful?” Almost anyone who can tell an interesting story with a beginning, middle, and end, can call themselves a speaker. To inspire and motivate, however, takes a greater degree of skill and talent. Understanding how to monetize your message is the real key to success! Speaking is an industry; your dream of becoming a successful speaker CAN be yours. You just need to understand how the industry works so you will know the secrets to success.
Start by asking yourself, “What is my message?” “Is it unique to me? What can I share about this that other speakers can’t?” Not everyone has flown to the moon. Some motivational speakers speak on sales, networking, change, leadership, or other in-demand topics..
A few years ago, I booked astronaut Captain Jim Lovell. It was incredible to meet a living legend. I was thrilled to spend the day with him. He had flown to the moon and back 50 years ago. Captain Lovell, along with astronauts Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, survived an oxygen explosion just two days after their launch aboard Apollo 13. Their survival and return home were so dramatic that Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment made a movie about the experience. You may remember Jim’s iconic line, “Houston … we’ve got a problem.” The astronauts had never prepared for an explosion, as the likelihood of surviving one wasn’t even considered. My client’s audience was spellbound as Jim shared the real story of what happened up there. His expertise is problem solving … he’s an inspiration to all who have heard him speak.
At that same event, I also got to hear a Quantas pilot talk about how he’d landed a crippled Airbus A380 in 2010. Captain Richard de Crespigny was piloting Qantas flight QF32 when it suffered an uncontained engine failure after takeoff from Singapore. The captain was a real-life hero, as he saved 440 lives that day.
I was on the edge of my seat listening to these speakers!
But, what about speakers who simply have a story to share? Maybe they are great at crushing sales goals or inspiring audiences with less heroic stories. Can THEY earn a great living, too? The answer is YES!
How Much Can a Successful Motivational Speaker Earn?
It’s important to understand that unless you’ve flown to the moon, your success as a speaker will lie in your ability to inspire and motivate. Becoming great at marketing yourself will help, too. And, add a little “show business” into the mix. You want to be able to deliver a memorable presentation.
Most new speakers start out speaking for free. Success guru Brian Tracy said you can plan on speaking for free about 300 times. This is when you’re just starting out. You can speak on what’s affectionately called “The Animal Circuit”, ie: Lions Clubs, Rotary, Elks Lodge, etc. These are great opportunities to hone your skills. Once you feel comfortable enough to charge, start with a reasonable speaking fee. A lot of speakers start out at $500 – $1,500 for a one-hour presentation. As your calendar
fills up, you can increase your fee. The more you accomplish in life and in your speaking career, the more you’ll be able to charge. Captain Lovell’s fee is $35,000 for a keynote presentation. But then, he’s flown to the moon. Within a few years, if you’re working as much as you want, you can raise your fee to $5,000.00. It’s pretty exciting to fly home from a keynote speech with a $5,000.00 check in your wallet. Most speakers earn between $2,500 – $10,000. To earn more than that, you will need to become one of the best motivational speakers anyone has ever heard!
I mentioned becoming great at marketing yourself, too. That’s critically important. There are many ways to promote yourself and start earning six figures. This is what I meant when I said it’s important to understand the speaking industry. There are some shortcuts that can have you earning more even faster. I created an online course, “INSIDER’S SECRETS: Keys to 6-Figure Speaking” because so many speakers I hear from want to know how they can fast track their career as a motivational speaker. I’m inviting you to watch the video on this page, as I share some of the most misunderstood aspects of the speaking industry. I also share some of the biggest mistakes many speakers make.
Start Speaking! Whether you want to become a Motivational Speaker just to have more confidence when speaking on a local level to area businesses or if you aspire to become a 6-Figure Speaker, the first step is to start speaking. Not all speakers present at arenas packed with 15,000 people. Many speakers earn six figures speaking primarily to smaller groups of 500 guests or less. You can do it! You just have to get started now and take that first step.
~ Robin Jay, President, Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau, Award-winning Author & Filmmaker, Publisher