Or, if you already have a new direction in mind, use this time to read a “how to” book on this new path.
Go to Amazon and search for “How to start a [fill in the blank] business.” You’ll be amazed at what you find!
Or check out courses with a proven track record on things like how to turn your photos into cash or how to get paid to travel.
5) Take a tax-deductible vacation
If your dream includes relocating, hit the road by using your vacation as an exciting research expedition.
Plan ahead to do things like arrange informational interviews with local entrepreneurs or craftspeople or to otherwise gather research about things like local costs, vendors, groups, and opportunities.
Say you spend two out of seven days doing research, calling on future customers, or even collaborators.
As long as you make what the IRS* considers a “good faith effort” to make a future profit within three years, then you should be able to deduct that portion of your trip as a tax-deductible business expense. (Tip: Be sure to document how you use your time)
You don’t have to be contemplating a move to take a tax-deductible road trip.
If you want to cash in on the profitable romance writing genre then head to the annual Romance Writers of America conference happening this July in Orlando.
I was at the 2016 conference to deliver a keynote to 3,000 attendees.
Among other things, Josh started a communal dining experience where guests eat a gourmet dinner in a giant dumpster as a way to “highlight the untapped potential in often-overlooked foods and solve the world-wide problem of food waste.”
And this year you can get a front row seat as a celebrity Greek chef, a specialty produce supplier, and others pitch their business to industry experts.
Think of it as Shark Tank for the specialty food industry!
But instead of funding, they’re pitching for profitable promotional opportunities.
And speaking of funding — the cost to attend is anywhere from $99-$200 depending on your situation.
But Sorry — You Can’t Go
After I got totally pumped about the Summer Fancy Food Show it turns out it’s not open to the general public. What??!!!
The site states that because they are “a trade event designed to promote growth in commerce in the specialty food industry… [the] event is open to qualified buyers and industry professionals (18 years of age or older).”
Reading that I knew a lot of change seekers would be discouraged and give up.
And like I always say, information will set you free.
So I picked up the phone and called the organizers for more information.
I was right.
Turns out all you need to establish that you are a “qualified professional” is a business card (how hard can that be?!)…
Or a certificate from a culinary or wine school.
Or a pay stub that says you work in some food related job like a restaurant or a local cheese shop or on a local farm.
Or a link to your food/beverage related blog or Instagram account.
Or other evidence that you are even exploring the world of food and beverages.
If you’re not sure, post your situation on the in the comments below, and I’m happy to try to help you find a way.
My brother-in-law Eddie spent 30 years as a field technician for a major manufacturer of office equipment.
Then at age 58 the company laid him and most of their other long-time technicians off… only to later ask them to come back at minimum wage with no benefits.
So much for job security and loyalty.
He did his job well. But for Eddie, repairing office equipment was just that — a job.
His true passion was following sports – and especially football.
Eddie once told me his dream job would be to work for ESPN. He said he didn’t care if he was the guy who hauled equipment around – he just wanted to part of the game.
When I got an email from Michelle Hill I immediately thought of my brother-in-law.
Because Michelle is doing what sports lovers like my brother-law only dream about.
She found a way to make money hanging out with NFL players.
I first met Michelle in 2006 when she attended the Work at What You Love workshop in Ventura, California.
(This happens to be the same workshop Dyan deNapoli AKA The Penguin Lady attended back in Massachusetts. If you missed my interview with Dyan and her spectacular photos from Antarctica, you can still get the replay here.)
Back then, Michelle was in the baking business.
In fact, I still have the business card for Michelle’s Cookie Kitchen.
But after a year-and-a half, Michelle realized she liked donating her cookies for various non-profit benefits a lot more than she liked selling them.
So, she closed the door on her budding baking business.
But unlike my brother-in-law who’s hardwired to be an employee, Michelle was determined to be her own boss.
Considering she’d been downsized three times in nine years, it’s easy to see why.
When the economy collapsed in 2008 Michelle found herself in the same boat as millions of other Americans — living off unemployment and tapping her 401k.
Broke but not broken, Michelle sold her possessions and moved to the other side of the country to start over.
Today Michelle’s life is very different.
For Michelle, the turn-around began when she signed up for a course on how to become a freelance copywriter. (Click here for my review.)
Writing sales copy is a skill anyone can learn – and you can make great money doing it.
I know because I’ve personally paid up to three thousand dollars for promotional copy for a single product.
But for Michelle, copywriting turned out to be more of a launch pad.
Today Michelle is a ghostwriter for a number of current and former National Football League players and others in the sports world who want to publish a book.
The “Strong Copy QB” as she dubs herself, counts Levar Fisher formerly with the Arizona Cardinals and Brandon Williams who played with the Baltimore Ravens among her impressive roster.
I wanted to know how Michelle went from having to borrow gas money to working alongside major league players.
What I quickly discovered is that like all success stories, Michelle’s journey offers valuable lessons for anyone seeking to change course.
That’s why I’ve asked Michelle to be my next guest on the NEW Big Dreams Small Steps Success Stories Series!
Another angle is recently retired men who hate sitting around doing nothing.
And having a fun side gig is just the solution!
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: People who may share your race or ethnicity
As you’ll see in your Paid to Brainstorm Fact Sheet, race is another demographic where we see an upward trend.
For instance, women of color are starting businesses at 3 to 5 times the rate of other groups.
And the highest rates of growth in entrepreneurship among Hispanics.
If you’re a person of color — or if you have a strong affinity with any racial or ethnic group – then it may make sense to niche in that community.
Even if you start out focusing more broadly you may discover that – just like a lot of women follow me or millennials tend to follow other millennials – other people of color may just naturally gravitate to you.
Or you may decide to be deliberate in reaching out specially to a specific community.
Like Maru Lozano from Los Angeles.
Maru has a real passion for entrepreneurship.
So one of the things she decided to do after graduating from Princeton was help Latino youth.
Both those who are college-bound as well as those who need someone to help them think outside the job box.
Here’s Maru talking about her experience in the course:
NEW Opportunity #19 Helping young people
Every year my local TV station does a story on these poor high school kids on the hunt for a summer job.
They put in applications at the mall or the fast food places… but they just can’t find a job.
And she knows schools are going to be on the forefront of helping students (and other teachers!) expand their thinking from getting a job to creating a livelihood.
Then there’s licensed Profiting From Your Passions® coach Celeste St. Hill.
She lives on the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados where she leads groups for teenage girls.
Celeste told me she encourages the girls to have big dreams.
I immediate thought of a line from a book by the oral historian Studs Terkel.
Among the people he interviewed was a young woman who said…
“I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job.
Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit.”
Maybe that’s why more adults are searching for work that pays the bills and feeds their soul.
Which is a nice segue into another opportunity…
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: The enormous faith-based community
In addition to her work with teens, Celeste also describes herself as a Christian coach.
Here’s Celeste describing her work here and in other niches too…
NEW Opportunity #20 People with disabilities
Another group that’s very open to self-employment are people who have a disability.
I’ve personally had several clients who are blind.
And at least two of the students who trained with me were blind as well.
Sylvia Green is not blind.
But she does have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia – a condition shared by an estimated 200 to 400 million — mostly women — around the world.
In her own coaching Sylvia says her goal is to help women like herself to quote…
“find the confidence to put their health first and create their life around their work instead of the other way around.”
This next opportunity is pretty unusual!
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: People into “Weird” things
Kimberly Stewart from Colorado specializes in people who are into the kinds of off the beaten path things she likes.
Like renaissance festivals or Comic-Con which is the huge conference for comic book lovers.
Or people who are into astrology or science fiction movies or vampires and other paranormal stuff.
Exactly the kind of people who are least likely to fit into the conventional 9 to 5 grind.
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: Specific personality types
You could specialize with people who have a particular personality type – like for instance, introverts.
That’s what Julia Barnickle from England did.
Julia is an introvert herself. So she understands that introverts who start a business aren’t keen on making sales calls or going to networking events! Right?!
NEW Opportunity #21 Creative types
In the last few years I’ve seen a real uptick in artists taking my class – adults that is 🙂
One of them is Maryjane Harford from upstate New York.
The vast majority of artists struggle financially.
But Maryjane has spent most of her life as a working artist and craftsperson.
So today Maryjane is also a coach who helps other creative types find ways they can profit from their handiwork as well.
NEW Opportunity #22 Travel lovers
The number one thing travel lovers care about is being able to work from anywhere.
So obviously they’re going to be hugely attracted to self-employment in general and portable businesses in particular.
Why don’t you be the Go-To-Person for on how to make money from the road?
Opportunity featured on the Webinar: Ex-patriots
Ex-pats as they’re known, are people who for a host of reasons are living in another country.
The bad news, it’s really hard for a non-citizen to get a work permit which you need to get a job.
The good news is, it’s much easier to start certain kinds of businesses.
In fact, there are countries in South America giving huge tax breaks to foreigners to renovate small hotels or start other tourism-related businesses.
Dominika Meirnik lives in Rome, Italy.
Dominika is originally from Poland so she’s an ex-pat herself.
When I met Dominika she was already a successful life and career coach.
At the time she was only doing traditional employment-oriented career coaching.
But now she’s able to also work with people searching for a way to work for themselves.
Frankly, I think anyone already doing career coaching needs to be able to work with aspiring self-bossers as well.
You’ll not only grow your practice but you’ll grow your earnings as well.
Here’s Dominika talking about her work and the course that helped her do just that…
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: People who want to live abroad
Here we’re looking at people whose main motivation for moving to another country is to find a slower pace of life and as importantly, a lower cost of living.
These are the people you see on the HGTV show International House Hunters.
This is a population that’s only expected to grow.
In fact, a reported 3.3 million American baby boomers are planning to retire abroad.
A trend that’s growing among Canadians and Europeans too.
But here again, it’s not easy to get a work permit.
Which means a lot of these people are very actively looking for ways to make money without a job-job.
Like having an online business, or doing things like import-export, freelance writing, or yes — coaching.
Before we go any further, I want to make clear that you don’t have to limit yourself to any one opportunity or group.
I started the changing course newsletter in 1995.
From day one, my niche has been anyone who wanted to change course from having a boss to being their own boss.
If you landed on my website and you resonated with the Changing Course motto to…
Live life on purpose… work at what you love… and follow your own road – then you were my people!
And now that I know you’re an idea person like me – you are doubly my people!
So you can tap into any or all of the opportunities here or I talk about on the Paid to Brainstorm Final Encore webinar happening Saturday, February 25th at noon ET.
But we’re still not done!
In the video I talked about various organizations who need people who know how to think outside the job box.
Here’s a few others…
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: Colleges and universities
Outside of Europe, the US, and Canada young people make up the majority of the population.
No wonder Sir Richard Branson and others are actively working to introduce college students and others to entrepreneurship.
Colleges and universities everywhere are the next big frontier for profiting from your career coaches.
Think about it –
You’ve got these tremendous shifts in the nature of work itself.
You’ve got more and more people working in the so-called gig economy and the sharing economy.
You’ve also got all these parents paying these crazy high tuitions pressuring colleges to make sure their kids graduate and find a good job.
Which means administrators at liberal arts colleges especially are scrambling to match their curriculum to the job market.
But what if instead of asking, how can we prepare our students to get a job, these same college administrators asked a different question…
Namely, how do we prepare our students to create a livelihood?
A livelihood could be a job-job.
But it could also be self-employment or some combination of a job and self-employment.
A livelihood could be being able to support yourself through your art or music or writing.
Or having multiple streams of income, like I do!
The point is, the very notion of creating a livelihood is so much more expansive than getting a job-job.
So not only would students be exposed to far more possibilities…
But the ability to come up with an income generating idea whenever they need one is a skill they’d have for the rest of their lives.
So for anyone who works at a college now – or anyone who wants to partner with colleges, there’s never been a better time to do it.
You could also work with alumni too.
Every college or university has an alumni association whose mission it is to bring value resources to their members.
That could be running a webinar or setting up a table to offer free coaching advice at their next gathering.
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: Professors
And students aren’t the only ones searching for alternatives. I’ve spoken at over 80 colleges and universities and I can tell you from experience that even some faculty are interested as well.
Especially faculty who didn’t get tenure or who started out thinking they wanted to go the professor route and then changed their mind.
Listen to What My Coaches Had to Say
I thought you might like to hear from a few of the people who are using my unique Profiting From Your Passions Formula.
Coincidentally, Dr. Beverly Farrow from West Virginia used to be a university professor herself. Today she still leads workshops — but for people like her who want to be their own boss.
Check out this short video of Beverly and the other “Opportunity Analysts” featured here.
NEW Opportunity #23 People who’ve been in prison
If you think it’s hard for ex-pats to get a job in another country – it’s even harder for ex-cons to find employment in their own country.
That’s why you see the Texas department of corrections among other states training select groups of prisoners in entrepreneurship.
No wonder a local non-profit counseling center that helps state and federal parolees recently wrote Profiting From Your Passions® coach Beverly Farrow into a grant to lead workshops to help ex-cons start a small business.
Personally I’d much rather see someone come out of prison who knows how to sell T-shirts or ice cream than drugs.
NEW Opportunity #24 Actors, film crew, and other creative types in between gigs
Susan Baker lives in LA.
She’s also spent years in the film industry.
So she knows from first-hand experience the need that actors, script writers, stage crew and others have for flexible income streams they can turn on between gigs.
Susan also knows a lot of people in and out of Hollywood are looking to escape the job world all together.
Opportunity Featured on the Webinar: Niche with people in specific occupations
One of the other people you met in the video is attorney Kelly Monteiro Caesar.
Her niche is helping law students, other attorneys, and even judges who want to start a business. (If you saw Paid to Brainstorm Video #1, you saw the fun example of the judge who loved working with her hands!)
The legal profession isn’t the only one teaming with people who want to change course.
Did you know that a study found one in two doctors are burned out and have little interest in their work?
But remember what you learned in Paid to Brainstorm video #2…
Complaints equal opportunities!
Someone who seized on this opportunity is a physician named Akinniyi Osho, MD from England. But he’s also always had one business or another going on the side.
Today one of those businesses is being a Profiting From Your Passions® career coach.
Sometimes other doctors seek him out because they want to transition out of medicine altogether.
Others just want a business they can do on the side like he does.
So whether you work for the postal service… or in manufacturing… or in retail… or human resources… or sales… or in a-n-y job –
You can speak from personal experience about the frustrations of other people in your same job.
Still I’m Just Scratching the Surface
There are of course many MORE ways to profit from your gift for thinking outside the job box.
One recent graduate plans to lead retreats for others considering spending the winter in Ecuador but need to find ways to make money from abroad.
Another is traveling the country with her husband in an RV. Her plan? Partner with RV camps to put on workshops on how to earn an extra $500-$1000 from the road!
You’ll learn all about running workshops and retreats on the Webinar.
And at the end you’ll hear about a special offer that ENDS Monday, February 27th.
Now all you need to do is scream at your garden, “Grow, damn it!”
You can’t rush your dreams any more than you can rush a garden.
Some of the seeds you planted simply won’t take.
You can get discouraged about that if you want.
Or you can consider that those particular seeds weren’t meant to grow and then plant some different ones.
Other seeds seem to take forever to sprout and even longer to bloom.
Sometimes things happen so slowly you think nothing is happening at all.
During the first few years of my own business, I had days when I was so discouraged I wanted to “throw in the trowel.”
But I didn’t.
And neither should you because that’s usually the time when you wake up to find your first magnificent bloom.
The day you wake up and discover the life you dreamed of is the life you’re living.
So hang in there.
Patiently nurture those tender shoots and your field of dreams will grow.
6) Enjoy the Journey
As Osler observed, it’s the ongoing work of gardening that brings the joy.
You can’t just plant a garden and be done with it.
It’s like saying, “Well, I finished growing as a person now. What’s next?”
Rather, gardening is about coming up with ways to make the garden more interesting or fun or diverse.
It’s about redesigning the garden to come up with new ways to add value to all those it serves.
Mirabel Osler’s name comes up again and again in the world of gardening writers. So I decided to do a little digging myself.
As I read Stefanie Hargreaves review of Osler’s book, A Breath from Elsewhere, I could not help but think of its application to the process of changing course:
“Osler’s argument – to break the golden rules, follow your instincts, and create the garden that you desire… effectively [draws] the reader further down the path towards the garden as refuge – a place perfectly suited for ‘inspiration or freedom, for discovery or surrender.'”
Why Teaching Others May Be Your Fastest Path to Cash
Do you enjoy sharing knowledge with others?
If so, giving talks… leading workshops… or running retreats could be the quickest way to grow your small business – and your fastest path to cash.
People with interests as varied as fitness, image consulting, real estate, and career coaching are hearing the sound of opportunity knocking!
And now, so can you!
Opportunities in the Conference World
According to ConventionIndustry.org, each year 205 million people attend the 1.8 million conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events and corporate/business meetings.
And that’s just in the United States.
That’s good news because conferences are a great place to get your message in front of dozens or even hundreds of future clients or customers — without having to “sell.”
In the last few months I’ve spoken to large audiences at two conferences — Women in Trucking and Romance Writers of America.
Like all conferences, participants could choose from dozens of smaller breakout sessions.
And in most cases, the people leading them are there because they asked to be.
Since attendees decide which sessions to go to, the key is to propose a topic that will appeal to the broadest possible audience.
Did you write a book on prosperity?
Offer a session called, “How to Make Sure Your Kids Grow Up Rich” — which of course, really means educating their parents.
Are you a nutritionist or a personal trainer?
Do a talk for road warriors on how to eat healthy or stay fit on the road.
You’d be surprised at the kinds of conferences that will embrace your topic.
Just ask Beverly Farrow.
Beverly spent years earning her doctorate — only to discover that being a university professor was not fulfilling.
She could have fallen into the common trap of remaining in a job simply because she didn’t want to “waste the degree.”
Fortunately, Beverly looked instead for a way she could combine her love of teaching with her passion for helping others find a new career path of their own.
Last week, she led a workshop at a local non-profit conference in West Virginia called Strengthening Families and Children.
Even she was a little surprised at how well it went! I was not sure what kind of audience to expect (number of participants or background) because the conference was open to social service providers and families.
Anyway, I was blown away because my room was FULL!
It was a 90-minute session and the feedback was unbelievable– and I received a couple of invites for future engagements.
My title was. “Find Your Genius and Work in It.” Basically Valerie’s “Life First, Work Second approach to career planning from 30,000 feet.
AND I received my FIRST honorarium… which was a total surprise.
Beverly shared her big news on a private discussion forum for other graduates of my course on how to become a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® coach.
I mention this because this kind of sharing inspires others to take action.
And one great idea always leads to others!
Finding Opportunities in Unexpected Places
Coincidentally, Hillary Saffran of Alaska works in social services herself.
Like most people who are transitioning from having a boss to being their own boss, she’s actively building her coaching business on the side.
Responding to Beverly’s success Hillary writes:
Just this morning I came up with an idea for a workshop and am in the process of working out an arrangement for the workshop room.
With just a little knowledge about the business side of owning an RV park, Audrey could also offer workshops or webinars on the theme — How to Come Up With Additional Profit Centers for Your New RV Park.
The same partnering approach can be used for many niches.
For instance, our prosperity coach could give that same fiscal education for kids talk at libraries or other venues frequented by stay-at-home moms.
And our stylist could partner with clothing stores or malls to show shoppers how to build a fabulous wardrobe on a budget.
(To test my theory, I once asked a local mall manager whether his or other malls would be open to that kind of thing. His answer: “Absolutely!”)
But to really see how giving talks… or leading workshops… or running retreats… could be your fastest path to cash, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked Lourdes from Montreal.
Would You Rather Make $15 OR $20,000?
Lourdes will be joining Audrey as an incoming student for the upcoming Profiting from Your Passions® coach class.
And like Audrey, she’s looking at coaching as a way to supplement her retirement income.
Right now Lourdes is applying for jobs in Montreal to teach ESL at $15 an hour.
But her BIG plan is to spend winters in Quito, Ecuador.
She’s already visited several times including renting an apartment for three months. So she knows the area pretty well.
Do you hear what I hear? It’s the sound of opportunity knocking!
What if on her next trip to Quito she mapped out a workshop-retreat-tour for other retirees considering following her same path.
I happen to know a little about the subject, because a few years ago I ran a Relax, Renew, and Reinvent retreat in Ecuador.
We spent half of each day in workshop mode exploring ways participants could turn their interests into income. The rest of the time we were tourists.
Lourdes’ retreat would also include sessions on how her guests can create their own portable income streams.
But unlike my trip which was for career changers, Lourdes’ would target hers specifically for other retirees – very likely other women – who are considering wintering in Ecuador as well.
Just the kind of people who might be intimidated to explore a big city in another country on their own.
In addition to seeing the local sights, I’m picturing Lourdes introducing the group to various residential neighborhoods and walking them through the logistics of living in another country.
Things like the best places to buy groceries… how to get their mail… and do their banking, etc.
Lourdes could even offer very specific services — like helping her guests to find and secure seasonal housing for the following winter.
With my own retreat, participants covered their own airfare.
The per person cost for hotel, most meals, a van and driver, tour guide and a few other items was around $1,000.
Let’s say 10 people sign up for Lourdes’ 6-day, 7 night “Spend Your Winters in Warm and Fabulous Quito” workshop-retreat-tour.
And let’s say she charges a very reasonable $2,999 per person.
That means she’d earn a cool $29,999.
Minus $10,000 for expenses – and Lourdes’ profit is a cool $20,000!
For Lourdes to make that same amount of money teaching ESL at $15 an hour, she would need to log a whopping 2,000 hours – which translates into fifty 40-hour work weeks!
Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
If you enjoy teaching, informing, educating or otherwise awakening the joy in others… what are you waiting for!
Last Chance: Registration Ends Tomorrow
In As Little As 3 Months
You Can Train to Become a Licensed Profiting From Your Passions® Career Coach & Business Idea Generator…
And Launch Yourself Into a Whole New Career — and Life
(Even If You Have NO Prior Coaching Experience!)
Master a proven business idea generation and coaching system to help discover unique ways to turn interests into income
Quickly gain confidence in your ability to successfully work with paying clients or workshop attendees
Launch yourself into the perfect portable business so you can work where and when you like
Fortunately for Audrey, Lourdes and 18 others from the UK, US, and Canada, this year’s class includes a Mega-Bonus.
It’s an additional 5-hours of training on How to Design and Deliver Your Own Money Making Workshops and Retreats(a $799 value)
You’ll discover how to take the 7-step Profiting From Your Passion®formula and deliver it in the form of a 30-45 minute talk… a half or full-day class, or a multi-day workshop or fabulous destination retreat — even on a cruise!
Plus we just added another extremely high value bonus – your own professionally designed website. That way you can launch your new career — and life — fast!
And because you can start earning money is as little as 3 months — the course pays for itself.
Click here now to discover whether becoming a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® coach is right for you.
But hurry because registrations ends Tuesday, November 15th at midnight ET.
For the first time in the human experience, we have a chance to shape our work to suit the way we want to live instead of always living to fit in with our work… We would be mad to miss the chance. ~ Charles Handy
Marla is an organizing guru with a huge following. Every day tens of thousands of people follow her decluttering and cleaning advice.
As it turns out Marla is also a very popular speaker on the thriving home schooling conference circuit! Who knew!
Most speaking engagements are planned months and sometimes a year or more ahead.
If you already know where you want to speak, start doing your homework now so you can get on the agenda in 2017.
But before you pitch your topic you need to first nail this next step:
2. Know your “POV”
Being a great speaker is only one part of the paid-to-speak equation.
I always knew I was a decent speaker.
But today I know I could hold my own on a TED stage. (Something I wouldn’t have said just a few years ago.)
The difference is that today I know that to be an amazing speaker you need to have a strong opinion.
In other words, no matter what your subject is, you need to bring to it a clear and compelling point of view –POV for short.
Your POV is what sets you apart from all the other people who speak on your same topic.
There are lots of people who speak on how to raise healthy happy children or how caretakers can avoid burn out or how eating the right food can reduce inflammation.
Lots of people who speak on how to be an effective leader or how to overcome adversity.
So how is your message different?
If you’re not sure, imagine you’re a part of a panel brought in to discuss your general topic.
How would your solutions or approach be different from the other panelists?
How do you look at the topic slightly differently than others?
What kinds of things do other experts recommend that you strongly disagree with?
Obviously there are other people who talk about impostor syndrome.
One is a well-known psychologist with a big bestselling book that contains a chapter on impostor syndrome.
I agree with most of what she says. But I disagree strongly on her proposed solution to just talking about your impostor feelings.
The logic is the more you talk about something, the less powerful the feelings become.
I do agree that giving voice to anything that evokes shame is an important first step.
But I am emphatic in telling my audiences that contrary to what some experts tell you, you can’t share your way out of impostor feelings.
From there I back up my POV with scientific evidence and then proceed to share the three things that do work.
Your POV is also what makes you stand out with the media.
I’ve been interviewed on numerous radio shows on the topic of career change.
Other career experts tend to talk about things like how to use social media to get a job, how to nail the interview, or doing informational interviews of people doing the job you covet.
Useful information… but hardly unique.
Then I come on and say things like…
“The problem is we’ve become a nation of occupational sheep passively waiting for someone to give us job. No one ever taught us how to make our own job!”
Or when they ask me about the key to my success I say things like…
“I think it’s because I don’t spend a lot of time in the real world.”
(A statement I quickly follow up with the fabulous quote from Will Smith who said, “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.”)
Do you think having a unique POV might set me apart from other career experts?
Do you see how having a unique POV would capture the attention of my host and more importantly, their listeners?
The bottom line: The more you can get your audience to think, the more successful a speaker you’ll be.
3. Start where you are
If you know you need to work on your platform skills, join your local chapter of Toastmaster International.
If you need to polish your talk, then focus on that.
Just don’t do it by sitting at home endlessly tweaking it.
Instead get as much practice and feedback as you can.
Volunteer to speak anywhere and everywhere you can. Speak to informal gatherings in church/synagogue/mosque basements.
Speak to PTA groups or Meet Up groups or to local business owners.
When I started out I did tons of talks for free.
Trust me, no one at a conference or meeting knows whether you’re being paid or not.
Not only will you continue to grow as a speaker, but your next paying gig could very well come from someone in your audience.
4. Decide on your business model
The speaking business is just that… a business.
And there are three ways you can make money speaking:
Speak for a fee/keynoter
Speak for free and sell products or services from the stage
A combination (after my friend Barbara Winter speaks, she cheerily informs her audience that she’s brought along some books and “the store is open!”
I’m definitely a keynote speaker.
The person who has played a crucial role in accelerated my speaking business is six-time (count ‘em) New York Times bestselling author Larry Winget.
Larry is the one who taught me about the need to not only have a strong POV, but also not to minimize it by saying things, like… “I think…” or “In my opinion…”
(If Larry were here he’d tell you that we know you thought it because you’re saying it!)
I am tremendously fortunate to make good money speaking.
But my fees are nowhere close to the $25,000 Larry commands for a one-hour talk.
You always want to be learning from people who are where you want to be. For me, Larry was – and to this day continues to be – that person.
The other person who has taught me a lot is my former business coach and friend Suzanne Evans.
Not long ago Suzanne was a gloried administrative assistant job struggling to pay the bills. Today she runs a 7-figure coaching business that’s made it onto the Inc. 500 list three times.
Unlike Larry and me, Suzanne rarely gets paid to speak.
Instead Suzanne uses speaking as a way to introduce audiences to her products and services and then offers them the opportunity to work with her.
For the record, anyone can sell from the stage without sounding “salesy.” Well-respected experts like Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter do it all the time.
The key is to deliver good content.
Are you a coach? Share your best advice and end by offering a free strategy session.
Are you a dog trainer? Talk about the biggest three mistakes people make with a new puppy and then offer a discount to anyone who signs up for your next class.
Speak on nutrition? Give great information then follow your talk with a book signing.
Leading a retreat in Belize for people who want to find their calling? Talk about the importance of slowing down long enough to hear your inner calling and then do a drawing for a free spot at your retreat.
Are you getting the idea?
So yes, both Suzanne and Larry have hugely successful businesses.
As importantly, speaking is what allowed them to also create amazing lives.
Every year Suzanne takes a group of people to South Africa to coach economically disadvantaged business owners for free.
And I have often donated my time to speak at organizations that support a worthy cause. It’s an amazing feeling to know that your words can make a difference in more ways than one.
5. Get and stay in the game: The Big Shift
Even seasoned speakers need to constantly improve.
I hate watching videos of myself on stage. But if you’re striving for continuous improvement, as painful as it is… the camera doesn’t lie.
Like anything else, getting good – and staying good – takes concerted effort.
Over the two decades as a part-time speaker, I estimate I’ve addressed over 80,000 people. As impressive as that sounds I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.
Then three years ago I experienced a huge shift in my speaking business.
Instead of getting 7 or 8 speaking gigs year, I started booking 20+.
And for the first time ever, my speaking income began to consistently hit the six-figure mark.
I’m not telling you this to impress you.
I’m telling you this partly because a lot of people sell themselves and what they have to offer short.
Far too many of us – and women especially – undervalue ourselves and the message we have to share with the world.
And everyone loses when bright people play small.
The other reason I’m talking about money is because I want you to know that for some of you, speaking is by far your fastest path to cash – and to freedom.
For me the big shift began three years ago when I attended a speaking boot camp taught by Larry and Suzanne.
Again, using two very different models, they’ve both managed to create immensely successful businesses built on speaking.
The shift came when I applied three simple principles I learned from Larry and Suzanne.
To make it as a speaker you need to first get good, then get known, then you get paid. In that order.
I’ve grown enormously in all three areas. And so can you.
Last year a gaming enthusiastic and maker named Stephan was there.
Stephan was not a professional speaker when he arrived at the boot camp. In fact, he clearly struggled to find his voice.
But he was determined to use speaking as a platform to spread the message that games can be both fun and educational. So he kept at it.
This week Stephan is speaking in Japan.
And if he can do it… so can you.
Be My Guest at the “Build Your Speaking Business Boot Camp”
Like I said, my booking increased just in the last three years.
That’s why November 17-19 I’ll be back to Atlanta to attend the “Speaking Business Boot Camp.”
This is my third boot camp. I’m going back because it’s just that good.
Like I said, you always want to learn from people who are where you want to be.
Which is why I’m super excited that they’re adding several other $25,000+ a day speakers to the faculty.
I’d love for you to join me in Atlanta.
I have the opportunity to bring 10 guests with me. And I hope you’ll be one.
Not only will you learn a ton, but I’m also going to organize a little meet-up of everyone who joins me.
That way you’ll walk in already armed with a mighty support group!
How to take advantage of your complimentary “Friend of Valerie’s” guest pass
It’s this kind of proactivity that led the couple to star in commercials for major companies like Lonely Planet and Ford.
Ambitious yes. Worth building toward? Absolutely!
After all, no matter what your dream, somebody’s going to do that cool thing… it might as well be you!
3. Sell Products
People interested in following you and your niche are also prime potential buyers of related products.
Ree’s blog led to her own cooking show on the Food Network. From there she landed an exclusive deal with Walmart to sell her own brand of cookware and other kitchen items.
And this fall she and her husband are opening their own store in an old building they renovated on the main street in their small town in Oklahoma… and they’re hiring!
But you don’t need to run an empire in order to sell products. Nor do you need to stock inventory.
Instead you can work with vendors directly to drop ship exotic or specialty ingredients or other cooking or home-related products directly to the customer.
Want to create your own products?
Companies like CaféPress or Zazzle both supply ready-made, as well as customized, products you design.
Blogging about French cuisine? Supply the vendor with images or fun sayings that appeal to lovers of all things French and they’ll print it onto coffee mugs, calendars, T-shirts, mousepads, or scores of other items. The vendor fills orders as you get them and you earn a percentage of the sale.
4. Affiliate Revenue
A less hands-on approach is to sell products indirectly as an affiliate like Aileen does.
In addition to ad revenue, Aileen also earns money by recommending or otherwise featuring products she likes.
If someone makes a purchase using her affiliate link, she’ll receive a referral fee of anywhere from 5 to 50 percent of the sale price.
Another couple earning affiliate income are Chris and Rob Taylor of 2TravelDads.com.
Because the couple are traveling with their young kids, the 2 Dad’s Amazon store features kid-friendly products and camping gear they use and recommend.
5. Write for Others
Just because you have your own readers doesn’t mean you can’t get paid to write for other publications.
In addition to her own posts, Canadian food and travel blogger Mayssam Samaha of Will Travel for Food writes extensively for the Montreal Tourism bureau and numerous other popular travel and airline publications.
6. Sell Your Photographs
When you see Erick Prince’s, AKA the Minority Nomad, stunning photos, you’ll understand why he’s able to sell his images and videos to clients like Facebook, Shangri-La Hotels, and SAS.
Like most of the bloggers featured here, Erick has multiple profit streams of income.
In addition to making money from photos, he’s also a travel journalist for Yahoo Travel and other outlets and also serves as a luxury travel consultant for brands seeking to reach other millennials.
7. Lead Tours
Have you ever wished you could turn others onto your favorite shopping and dining spots?
I decided to take the Work @ What You Love Workshop and also work one-on-one with Valerie. The workshop explored so many unusual and unexpected solutions to my specific questions. I made so many new connections to what clearly works for me in crea...