10 ways to monetize your professional speaking business

8 min readFeb 26, 2018

Most speakers are on the lookout for paid speaking opportunities, but the fact of the matter is that there are way more unpaid speaking events then paid ones.

While you are growing your speaking business, you may want to seize the unpaid opportunities to gain exposure, as you network, and get your name out there as a professional speaker.

But if you are mostly accepting unpaid positions, you’ll need to figure out other ways to monetize your expertise, by finding multiple revenue streams that can add to your bottom line as your career is kicking off.

So, what are some of the ways you can take your sell your content, while sharing your message and expertise off-stage?

10 ways to monetize your expertise and experience

1. Offer consulting

Share your knowledge, expertise, and experience with other individuals, organizations and businesses that need guidance, for a price.

Consulting expert Tim Berry explains that “It takes four times the resources to find a new client than to keep existing clients.”

Repeat business is the key to making money with consulting, so make sure that you deliver on what you say you will, don’t over promise, and do a noteworthy job.

Read more on consulting

2. Write a book

A key way to add more value to the message you are giving your audience, increase your income, gain credibility, and establish yourself as a thought leader, is to write a book.

You can take your message, and spend the time to turn it into into a professional-quality ebook, paperback, or hardback.

Self-publishing is becoming easier and easier (which is not to say it is easy — just easier), and have a book that you can make profit from that you can sell from your website, and promote through free speaking events, is an effective way of adding to your earnings.

Read more on writing a book and self publishing

3. Train your audience

Often, a 20–40 minute talk is not enough time to fully explore your insights, and rarely enough time to give you audience the tools to be able to take your message and ideas and practically apply it. By setting up training sessions, you can dive deeper into your work, and explore the “how to apply this” much more effectively

Whether you plan a training day, week-long seminar, half-day workshop, or webinar — organizing your own event can bring in more revenue and help establish you as an expert in your industry.

You can use free talks to promote your training sessions, explaining that they are ideal for audience who want to get into the material more fully.

Read more on offering training

4. Sell your message

Add to your profit by creating a resource that your audience can use to continue learning about your message, topic or industry that you sell on your website.

Resources could include:

  • video recording of your talk
  • ebook,
  • full how-to guide with checklists and explanations
  • a white paper,
  • or some other type of resource like a tool or app

Some audience members will be very inspired and informed by your talk — but might forget your points afterwards. They might want to back over what you said, and having a video or other resource they can access at any time is ideal. Some audience members are often willing to buy the recording or resource.

These are also ideal for wider audiences who might not be able to get to your live talk because they live very far away or are too busy to go to the conference.

Continue exploring how to monetize your content

5. Create an online course

The beauty of an online course is that you don’t need to be present after you have set up the course, so it can potentially make money for you while you are traveling, sleeping or live speaking at an event, while your audience works through your content at their own pace.

There are many resources to help you create an online course, and a lot of flexibility for how many sessions you offer, whether you use media or not, how automated or hands-on the process is.

Read more on offering online training courses:

6. Get paid to be a guest for interviews, webinar hosts, discussion panels, and blog posts

If you are sharing your message and expertise: get paid for it. Whether you are writing a guest post for an industry blog or website, are a guest on a discussion panel or interview (either live or a podcast), always ask for compensation for your time and insights.

There can be a lot of factors involved in how much you get paid, like how large the audience is, how valuable your insights are to the audience, and whether the blog/podcast/panel is high profile, or not-for-profit.

If you need some ideas on how to negotiate fees, please see this article “A guide to negotiating your speaking fee

Continue reading:

7. Promote an affiliate product, website or service

This is a pretty simple way of adding to your revenue, and can be very helpful to your audience, while helping companies, organizations or individuals from your network.

An affiliate product is something that you have not create, can can be anything from a book, to a website, to a consulting service. When someone you have recommended the service to decides to make a purchase, you can make a commission.

Just be very careful to be transparent about your association, however, or it could hurt your credibility.

Make sure you find a program or service that you’d like to promote, and is helpful to your audience, even if you weren’t earning money from it.

Learning more about affiliate marketing

8. Advertise on your website

If your website or blog is getting a good amount of traffic, monetize it. You will need 500 to 1000 unique visitors per day to your site before you can start to make real money, so in the initial stages of building your website or blog, focus more heavily on creating good content and driving traffic before thinking about advertising.

The idea is very simple, your website has some free space, and you lease out that space to different advertiser to market their products and service on your website. While that might seem a bit intimidating (because of course, you wouldn’t want ads that are inappropriate) with services like Google Adsense, much of the risk is reduced.

Google Adsense is one of the most popular ways to monetize your website traffic, and is very easy to integrate, here are a handful of helpful articles to explore more deeply.

Look into Google AdSense and advertising on your website

9. Add “Hire me” page on your website

The “Hire me” option can open doors to a variety of different opportunities. Instead of speaking, training, consulting, or hosting — there might be other kinds of opportunities you haven’t thought of.

By creating an open door for opportunities, and clearly stating that your are looking for new projects, you can potential stumble (or rather, get contacted for) on some fascinating and interesting things and new ways of adding to your revenue.

On the hire me page, make sure to include

  • What services you currently offer, including freelance work
  • Samples and a portfolio
  • Testimonials
  • Very clear contact information

Aside from having the “Hire me” page, make sure that it is clear and easy to contact you for work on each page of your website, as well as your social media. Make it easy for people to give you money.

10. Offer professional speaking coaching and speech writing

If you know how to speak and write great talks — use your skills to teach others by becoming a speaking coach and/or a speech writer.

To coach new speakers, you can use your way with words and knowledge of speech flow to help a speaker form their content in an effective and interesting way. Work with them as they practice their talk, guiding them on how to make it more impactful.

To help others with their speech writing, talk to the speaker about what content they need to cover, then help them craft the content in a way that is targeted for the audience and purposes, while writing in the “voice” of the speaker.

Keep reading more about coaching and speechwriting

There are many benefits to creating a business model that does not rely exclusively on getting paid to speaker on stage.

When you are building your speaking business, boost your financial security by diversifying your sources of income.

What have you found works or doesn’t work when it comes to building your speaker business? We’d love to feature your advice in a future article. Contact us.

This was originally posted on the SpeakerHub Skillcamp.