4 Ways to Start a Speaking Career in the Wellness Space
You have a story inside you that you know would resonate with many people at once. You want to share it with the world, and you want to connect with people while you’re doing it. Launching a speaking career in the wellness space is on your bucket list, but you’re not sure where to begin so you can stand under that spotlight. At WELL Summit in Brooklyn in October 2018, Amber Wright, communication expert and author of Can We Talk? 10 Life Lessons on Finding Your Voice & Finding Yourself, shared her favorite four tips for igniting a speaker career in the wellness space—though her advice is universal and helpful for anyone looking to take the stage.
Keep reading for four tips to start a speaking career in the wellness space.
1. Know Your People
Determining your platform is an integral first step in a speaking career: What is the topic that lights you up whenever you talk about it? Consider your area of expertise, and within that, what your niche will be. Where can your personality best be showcased? Once you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to gain a clear idea of who your audience is. Are college students your target demographic? Professionals? Will speaking at a corporate function or your local YMCA help you best deliver your message? Hone in on the people you know can benefit the most from your expertise.
Remember, says Amber, “If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.” Fine-tuning your audience will help you craft a personal narrative that resonates. The more personal, as the old writing adage goes, the more universal—and the more likely you are to get hired as the expert speaker for the audience that will best receive your message.
2. Be Irresistible
First impressions matter, and while your ability to deliver an engaging talk is a major factor in being a professional speaker, it’s not where the impressions begin. “You need to provide an experience for your target audience, from your website to the very first consult to the actual event,” Amber advises. Make sure your website has a page dedicated solely to your speaking services. Bonus? Add a video reel of you speaking to showcase your talents. If you’re just starting out, though, and don’t yet have proof of your track record, that’s okay, Amber reassures. “Don’t let bells and whistles keep you from getting started.” Go ahead and leverage LinkedIn, adding speaking engagements as you go, and make sure to keep your site current to keep potential clients in the know. And don’t forget to be you, while you’re at—authenticity is irresistible to everyone.
3. Monetize Your Story
Start exactly where you are in your story, and use that to launch your speaking career. Identify pain points your audience may be experiencing, and position yourself as the person who can address them—from first-hand experience. The best professional speakers pepper their talks with personal anecdotes and showcase their personal speaking style.
When it comes to monetizing your story, Amber has a golden rule: “Never offer to speak for free!” Even if you have the opportunity to speak at a non-paying gig, it’s all about how you word it. “Instead,” Amber advises, “Say, ‘I will waive my rate.’” This indicates that you are a professional speaker and have a standard rate that you charge, but are willing to work with the client to make the most of their event—while gaining valuable experience for yourself.
When it comes to setting your rate, Amber encourages research: What is the going rate for someone with your level of experience, in the space you’ve decided to speak in? Think also about what you are sacrificing to speak at an event: Do you need to line up child care? Are you missing a day from your main job to support this side hustle? Do you have to travel? These are all factors in negotiating a rate. You’ll know when you’ve landed on the right number when it results in an unplanned physical response: “Keep going up until you smile,” Amber says. “And if your client agrees too quickly to that rate, you’ll know next time to raise your rate to something that can be negotiated a bit.”
4. Treat Speaking Like a Business
It may seem like a no-brainer to treat your speaking career as a business, but because speaking often begins as a side hustle, it’s easy to fall into the trap of treating it like a hobby. In order to be treated seriously, however, it’s important to have a contract that spells out exactly what’s expected of you—and your client— and how you will be compensated. If you’re speaking for free, will your travel be comped? If you’re getting paid, how much will your fee be? What will your speech entail? What will the terms of payment be? And don’t forget the “unforeseen circumstances” clauses that will protect you, like defining what will happen if the event is cancelled (i.e., whether or not you’ll still be paid).
Above all, remember why you made this leap to speaking in the first place. And in the end, the best advice might just be the most simple. “Give it your best!” Amber says, smiling.
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