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Issue 172

October 26, 2007

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Compass since 1995 dedicated to helping people like you to:

~Live Life on Purpose ~Work at What You Love ~Follow Your Own Road

Inside Today's Issue

Opportunity Knocks

Getting Paid to Speak: The Biggest Mistakes New Speakers Make and How to Avoid Them

Featured Resource  

Mark Victor Hansen's Building Your Mega Speaking Empire LIVE Workshop 

Upcoming Workshops and Teleclasses

  • Alexandria Brown's Blueprint Workshop

  • Dream Maker: Bead Artist and Scholar,
    Valerie Hector

  • "How to Become Joyfully Jobless" with Barbara Winter

The View From the Other Side

Resources for a Change

This ad-free bimonthly newsletter is brought to you compliments of

There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.
~ Mark Victor Hansen

Opportunity Knocks Creative Ways to Make a Living Without A Job

Getting Paid to Speak:  The Biggest Mistakes New Speakers Make and How to Avoid Them

Valerie and her wonder dog, "Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

Before you read this article:

You don’t have to aim to be a professional speaker to benefit from the following article. Change is change and advice about successfully launching one income stream can easily be transferred to others.

That’s not the only reason to read this article. A key element of changing course is getting and giving support to your fellow dreamers. So if you know someone who should be up in front of an audience please support their dream by passing this article along.

Picture yourself delivering a presentation or workshop to an engaged and enthusiastic audience. Now imagine strolling to the mail box to find a nice check thanking you for your time and expertise. Sounds pretty nice doesn’t it? It is.

I’ve been a professional speaker now for over 28 years. I also frequently work with clients who want to make their living conducting workshops or otherwise speaking in front of a paying audience. Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about how to succeed as a professional speaker – and what mistakes to avoid.

1. Thinking You Don’t Know Enough

The number one mistake aspiring speakers and workshop leaders make is thinking they don’t have enough knowledge or training to get out there and talk about a subject. If you find your dreams stymied by the common, but distorted, notion that expertise means having three degrees and knowing everything there possibly is to know about a subject then it’s time to readjust your thinking.

Competence and expertise isn’t total and complete knowledge, but rather it’s knowing how to identify the resources it takes to get the job done. In other words, you may not know everything about male-female communication or how to give a motivational speech, but I bet you’re smart enough to figure out the researchers, authors, and speakers who do and learn from them.

2. Letting Stage Fright Hold You Back

You’d think that someone who wants to speak for a living would have few qualms about public speaking or otherwise “performing” in public. Not true. Barbra Streisand was famous for her chronic stage fright.

As part of a college class, I was videotaped making a presentation. I was a nervous wreck. My voice was shaking, my hands were shaking. The whole nervous speaker bit. The amazing thing was no one else could tell – not even me! The person I saw on that tape appeared calm, cool, and collected.

That experience happened 25 years ago. But, you know, I never forgot it, and from that point on I’ve managed to calm any pre-presentation jitters by reminding myself that no one can tell.

3. Not Making Constant Improvement a Priority

Despite my early performance anxiety, I went on to deliver hundreds of presentations and workshops to audiences ranging in size from 10 to 1200. Having so much experience under my belt made me pretty confident about my speaking skills.

That is until a former employer sent me to New York City to a two-day presentation skills training. The course, which I later became certified to teach, was conducted by a company called Communispond. Being the only attendee with a speaking background, I felt pretty cocky as I rose to deliver my benchmark presentation.

Seeing is believing. Even if you’re already an experienced presenter, there’s always room for improvement. By far the best way to improve is to observe yourself in action on tape.

4. Not Being Willing to Pay Your Dues

Sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. For example, a client with little to no previously paid speaking experience balked when I suggested he seize any chance he could to get out there and hone his craft – even if that meant in some cases speaking for free. “That’s not true,” he said. “Everything I’ve read said you should never give away your services because your client won’t respect you as a professional.”

Speaking for free is all about getting better at what you do and about exposure. Like most things you shouldn’t expect instant results. It’s not unusual for me to get a speaking offer from someone who saw me speak at a conference two years earlier. In fact, I’ve recently received a great contract based on the recommendation of someone who saw me speak 20 years ago!

Don’t think of it as speaking for free. Think of it as the opportunity to essentially make a sales pitch in front of dozens of potential clients. Besides, now in your bio you’ll be able to list all the groups you’ve addressed!

5. Not Understanding the Speaking Business

First of all, unless you’re a big time speaker, the majority of your non-speaking time is going to be spent drumming up speaking gigs. If the very thought of marketing yourself, your topic, and your expertise makes you want to run for the hills, this would be a good time to consider another field (or just wait for part two of this article where I’ll talk about marketing).

Next, when you’re just starting out, you will need to make a heavy investment in developing your presentation or workshop. In fact they say for every five minutes of speaking time you should plan to put in about an hour of planning and rehearsing time.

Keep in mind, though, that no one is paying you to endlessly perfect your material. Once you get a good program down, as far as I’m concerned, the goal is to be able to walk in and deliver it cold. There’s nothing quite like the relaxed feeling of heading off to deliver a big presentation without a care in the world because you just know you’re going to nail it!

If you have something you’d like to share with the world, and you genuinely enjoy teaching others, there’s no better job in the world than getting paid to speak.

6. Not Realizing What You’re Really Getting Paid For

If you’re setting your fees based on your actual “on” time you’re missing the boat. As a professional speaker you aren’t being paid to talk for one hour, or three hours, or even to facilitate a full-day workshop. What you’re getting paid for are a) your total time commitment and b) your expertise. Let’s look at your total time commitment first.

If your speaking engagement involves travel, then you need to consider the total time involved in fulfilling your commitment. That includes the time it takes to set up the contract, get to and from the speaking venue, any pre-event set-up and pack-up time, and the time it takes to take care of any client invoicing and follow-up.

Your actual time is only one factor in setting your fees. Although there are some speakers who bill for travel time (I’m not one of them) or who charge local clients less (which I often do), you’re not being paid to travel. In fact, you’re not really even getting paid for your actual speaking time. You read that right.

What your attendees or clients are paying you for is your expertise. Break this down and whether they know it or not, clients pay you for the time you’ve invested in acquiring that expertise which includes your speaking and facilitation skills. Or, as Dr. Bailey Jackson, an outstanding trainer and personal mentor explained it to me, “When you’re up in front of a room full of people, your job is to make it look easy.”

Designing a 7-hour seminar is one thing. Standing up in front of 20 people and appearing to effortlessly juggle the content and flow of 120 PowerPoint® visuals, a 100+ page participant workbook, a 250 page leader guide, not to mention managing the learning needs and interpersonal dynamics of a group of discerning managers and professionals is not something that comes out of the design phase. It’s like expecting a screenwriter to finish his or her screenplay on one day and then star in it the next.

7. Failing to Match Your Market to Your Financial Goals

Your audience consists of the people who actually hear you speak. Your client, however, is the person or organization writing your check. If you’re putting on your own public workshops, then your client consists of the paying attendees. The same is true if your workshop is being offered through the Learning Annex or another adult education program. Since you’re receiving a percentage of each attendee’s fee, your client and your audience are also one and the same.

Sometimes your client is determined by what it is you want to speak about. If you want to teach about how people can improve their love life or achieve spiritual wellbeing, you’re not likely to find a lot of corporate or other organizational sponsorship. Here you’re probably looking at individuals paying out of pocket. We’ll look more closely at marketing to individuals shortly.

It is possible to make six figures speaking or conducting workshops on topics like astrology, tapping into your inner power, or esteem building for teens. To do so, however, means you’re going to have to put in the time and effort it takes turn yourself into a “personality.” In other words you’re going to have to become the “astrologer to the stars” or a nationally known leader in the field of self-esteem or well-known guru on tapping into one’s inner power.

8. Defining Your Style

Finally, to some extent your preferred audience size can impact your financial goals. In other words, if you had to choose between two speaking gigs – one is facilitating an interactive workshop for 10 to 15 people and the other is delivering a presentation in front of an audience of 200 to 1200 – which would you pick?

If you said the 10-15 people, it’s probably because you like the intimacy of interacting with a small group. If you opted for the large group, it’s probably because you like entertaining people. I’m happy to do either. But the setting I find more exhilarating, and personally, a whole lot less work, is the large group presentation.

How finances factor in is simple. Typically you'll earn more money by speaking to larger audiences than smaller ones. This is true regardless of whether individual participants or an organization is writing the check. The exception is big name speakers like say, a Stephen Covey who can charge a small group of CEOs top dollar for a small group executive leadership retreat.

9. Not Knowing How to Market Yourself

Seminar marketing is a huge topic and it’s not possible to cover it all in one short article. So let me hit the high points and then tell you where you can get more detailed information.

If you’re new to the speaking business, one obvious place to start is by offering your program through an adult education program. Most colleges and universities offer continuing education programs. In larger cities you’ll find private programs like The Learning Annex, The Boston Center for Adult Education or The Knowledge Shop in Orlando.

There are at least three good reasons to start here:

  1. It’s a hassle-free, paid opportunity to refine your material because someone else takes care of marketing your workshop, covering the cost of the meeting room, and registering students. All you have to do is show up!

  2. It’s a venue to promote any books, CDs or other related material. We’ll talk more about this shortly.

  3. Even if your workshop doesn’t fill, potentially thousands of people are learning about you and your business through the short bio accompanying your course description in the organization’s catalog.

In fact, sometimes this kind of exposure can lead to amazing things. It was at a Learning Annex workshop in New York where a publisher first approached Barbara Sher about writing a book. Barbara is quick to admit that she was baffled as to how she could possibly come up with an entire book. Wisely the publisher urged her to think of each workshop module as a chapter. Barbara went on to write Wishcraft which has sold well over a million copies.

10. Failing to Tap Other Income Streams

Many years ago I bought an audio program called How to Build Your Speaking and Writing Empire featuring Mark Victor Hansen. That’s where I learned that in a survey of top speakers, the number one thing they wished they’d done differently was to have developed some kind of product earlier in their career. So-called “back of the room” products range from books, CDs, audio tapes, workbooks, and so on.

I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have a book!” Not to worry. There are less labor-intensive ways to create workshop-related products for sale. For example, create a participant workbook and charge each participant. Corporations are used to a paying for materials on top of speaker fees, and at 50-200 dollars per attendee this can make for a nice revenue stream.

The other thing you can do is audio or videotape your program and sell the DVD or CD. Making Dreams Happen, the 24-set CD program available here at Changing Course, is an audio version of a live four-day workshop-retreat I delivered with Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter. Even the 100+ page participant workbook is on a CD.

11. Not Being Willing to Invest in Your Business

By far the BIGGEST mistake wanna-be speakers make is being unwilling to make even the most modest investment in themselves and their fledgling speaking business. Whether you’re just launching your speaking career or are a seasoned pro who wants to increase your bottom line, you absolutely must be willing to invest in your own success.

On the low-cost end are books. The three I recommend are:

  • How to Make It Big in the Seminar Business, by Paul  Karasik

  • Speak and Grow Rich, by Dottie Waters

  • 1,001 Ways to Make More Money as a Speaker, Consultant or Trainer: Plus 300 Rainmaking Strategies for Dry Times by Lilly Walters

All three are available in the Changing Course

If you’re really, really ready to step into the big time and start earning “mega” speaking fees I can’t say enough about the Mark Victor Hansen program I spoke about earlier. It’s called Building Your Mega Speaking Empire.

You can read all about the self-study of Hansen's live 3-day course (see below) Both the live and the self-study versions of Building Your Mega Speaking Empire cover how to get free publicity on the radio. But if you’d rather target your self-marketing campaign specifically to radio and want to fast-track your efforts, I highly recommend letting an expert like Alex Carroll teach you the ropes.

A few years ago Alex Carroll wrote a book about how to beat unfair speeding tickets. With a zero advertising budget he decided to promote his book exclusively through radio interviews. To date, he's done 1,264 radio interviews, gotten more than four million dollars worth of free radio airtime and earned over one million dollars in direct sales.

Carroll wisely packaged up his Radio Publicity Manual for purchase. You can also get a database with the names and hosts and producers from every prime time talk station in the US that have at least 100,000 listeners – 1,026 in all. To learn morevisit 

About the Author

"Turning Interests Into Income" expert, Valerie Young, abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.

To read more articles about how to work at what you love without a job go to  

 I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I'd just been myself.~ Brittany Renée

Featured Resource

Mark Victor Hansen's Building Your Mega Speaking Empire LIVE Workshop

Get on the Fast-Track to Success and Join The Ranks With Seven-Figure Speakers Almost Overnight

In addition to being part of one of the world's largest book empires and having a thriving speaking empire of his own, Mark Victor Hansen (Co-founder of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books) has hand-selected 12 people each with their own secret to making it easy to start your own wildly lucrative speaking career and asked them to join him on stage at his next event... BUILDING YOUR MEGA SPEAKING EMPIRE

Each one of these 12 people has a slightly different way of looking at things and offers a slightly different perspective.

Why is it important to see multiple sides of the same picture?

When you can see an opportunity from more than one angle, you'll see things you may never have thought of on your own.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of being a wildly successful professional speaker who:

  • Connects intimately with your audience, leaving them spell-bound and begging for more;

  • Magnetically attracts packed audiences every time you take the stage;

  • Gets flooded with speaking requests from the biggest names in the industry; and

  • Delivers enormous value from the stage and sells huge amounts of product at the back of the room...


The power-packed, hand-picked, "who's who" of Trainers selected by Mark to join him at Building Your MEGA Speaking Empire includes:

  • Alex Mandossian

  • Rene Godefroy

  • Brian Tracy

  • Brendon Burchard

  • Doug Wead

  • Dr. Barbara De Angelis

  • Tom Antion

  • John Childers

  • Scott Martineau

  • Marshall Sylver

Plus... an amazing bonus session with Hunter "Patch" Adams, the clown and medical doctor behind the hit movie "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams.

Just spending time with Patch Adams alone is worth the price of admission!

You'll leave this session amazed, inspired, and transformed!

Of course, Mark Victor Hansen will be there helping you learn not only the secrets to his own success but how to put into action all the lessons this incredible faculty has to offer.

November 2-4, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
Learn More

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You can't win the raffle if you don't buy the ticket.~ Ally McBeal


The Changing Course Newsletter Copyright 2007   Lisa Tarrant, Editor Valerie Young, Publisher [email protected] 7 Ripley Road Montague, MA 01351


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Courage is about doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. ~ Eddie Rickenbacker

Upcoming Workshops and Teleclasses

Here are a few featured workshops and Teleclasses, you'll find a complete listing

Alexandria Brown's Online Success Blueprint Workshop

Ali's LIVE, closed-door event is like no other seminar in history. She designed it specifically for coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, and similar solo-preneurs.

It's just Ali and us in a conference room for 3 full days, during which she bares ALL her secrets...

...SECRETS on how she turned her own consulting/professional service business around into one that now gives her more MONEY, TIME, and FREEDOM than we ever imagined.

Thursday, Friday, & Saturday, November 8, 9, & 10, 2007
Los Angeles, California

Click Here to Read Valerie's Experience at
Last Year's Online Success Blueprint Workshop

Learn More About Alexandria Brown's Online Success Blueprint Workshop

Monthly Dream Maker Teleclass

If you’ve bought into the old myth about the "struggling artist" than you haven’t met an extraordinary bead artist named Valerie Hector

Valerie’s artistry can be found in top juried shows like the Smithsonian Craft Show.

I learned about Valerie through a client who was fascinated that anyone could actually make a living traveling around the world (most recently Turkey and China) researching beads. Even if you are not a beader, artist, or craftsperson of any sort, there is much to learn from people like Valerie who have very successfully turned their passion into their livelihood.  

So mark your calendars for October 31st for 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

(My apologies to all of you "trick or treaters" but with Valerie’s busy travel schedule this was the only date I could get. But as always we’ll be sure to record every word.) If you can’t make the session email your questions in advance to [email protected] and I’ll try my best to get them in.

This Teleclass is free to current members of the Fast Track Your Dream Community members. Non-members are welcome to attend for $19 with all proceeds going to the non-profit micro-grant organization

Wednesday, October 31st
Eastern Time

Click Here to Register

"How to Become Joyfully Jobless" 2007 Teleclass Series hosted by Barbara Winter

Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job

Barbara Winter

Learn what it takes to live the joyfully jobless life from the master − Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job. A vivacious and wildly popular speaker, Barbara will address such topics as the power of multiple income streams… how to stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur… why starting small is the smartest (and most profitable) way to launch your new enterprise… and much more.

Like mini-workshops, these monthly Joyfully Jobless Teleclasses are interactive, which means you get to ask questions and benefit from firsthand feedback from the woman I call the "Muse of Self-Bossing."

This series is free to current members of the Fast Track Your Dream Community members. Non-members are welcome to attend for $19 with all proceeds going to the non-profit micro-grant organization

Wednesday, November 14th
8:00-9:00pm Eastern Time

Click Here to Register

*To learn more about how you can fast track your dream of working at what you love - and get a two month membership FREE - go to

**A portion of all revenue from this Teleclass will go to support the entrepreneurial aspirations of impoverished people in the US and internationally via the micro-grant organization

Follow your heart. It's the only right way out of darkness. ~ Allison Milana


The View From theOther Side

"Before Baby Einstein, I was an English major in college and after that I was a teacher in high school and left when I had my first baby. At that time, there was nothing that existed that was fun educational videos for babies. That is when I realized that there was a need in the market place and best of all I was my own customer."

~ Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of Baby Einstein



Resources for a Change

Jumpstart Your Speaking Career
Charli Jane Speaker Services provides professional and affordable speaker services and support to authors, consultants, public speakers, coaches, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and meeting planners.

Make Your Dream Real With Business Cards
One of the fastest (and most visual) ways to make your dream "real" is to create business cards with your new vision elegantly printed on them.VistaPrint is very reasonable and will allow you to upload your own design or use one of their many templates.Colorful Images has some wonderful designs and truly lives up to their name with some very creatively designed cards.

Google Alerts
Many of us use Google to search the Internet on a regular basis, but you can also use Google to keep you notified of developing news stories, blogs, industry trends, etc. Simply enter the terms you would like Google to search for and you'll receive one email a day with a brief description of each (similar to web search). Learn more at

So You Wanna...
You could spend hours on this site. Not totally work related but the ones that are offer great information in categories like so you wanna be a sitcom writer, comic book artist, pitch a TV show, publish your poetry, write a business plan, and lots more. (

Association of Personal Historians
This unique organization is holding their 13th Annual Conference November 8-12 in Franklin, Tennessee (20 miles from Nashville). Association members share a passion for producing life story legacies through books, oral histories, audiotapes, videos, DVDs or web sites will enrich lives for generations to come.

Note: Changing Course does not accept paid advertisements from any of the resources listed here. This list is provided to expand your thinking about just how many interesting ways there are to make a living without a job!