How to become a motivational speaker

Q: I am a current student at International Coaching Academy.  I am looking to make a career change from teacher to college speaker.  I have a BS in human development and learning and an MS in leadership and policy studies. I have already quit my day job so I am a bit panicked about income.  My question to you is about marketing yourself.  I have been told that a brochure is the way to go, but I don't have a model to emulate. I was wondering if you had one or even a better idea about how to get started in the business.  I know it is a lot to ask for without even knowing you, but your website was informational and it seemed you were on top of your game.  How about sharing your expertise?

Q: I am interested in becoming a youth motivational speaker. What can you tell me about how to get started? Any books or articles you would recommend?

A: Here are 9 steps anybody can use to get started in the professional speaking industry.

By no means are these steps a complete guide. They are not enough to make you a dominant force in the speaking industry, but it is impossible for you to be successful without them.

There are plenty of steps--such as setting your fee--that I won’t go into. Nevertheless, reading this article and implementing what you learn will help you get started on your dream.

1. Get a mentor

2. Get a mentor

3. Get a mentor

There’s nothing more important in developing your pro speaking business than a mentor. Someone who is successful at what you want to do. A great mentor is priceless. As a matter of fact, once you find the right one, he or she will knock years off of your learning curve.

Make sure that your mentor is an individual who has experienced a high level of success in the industry. There are hundreds of broke, unsuccessful speakers who are able to turn the tide of misfortune and sheer ineptitude into a profitable ploy by preying on hapless souls looking to pursue their dreams.

In not so eloquent terms, make sure your mentor isn’t full of it.

With a good mentor backing you, the frustration, disappointment, and confusion that accompany any endeavor will be much easier to deal with. Also, you will learn what NOT to do. There is nothing worse than wasting your most precious asset--time.

A final thought about mentors: a reputable mentor can provide you with a strong reference when you don’t have one. This could be the difference between getting the gig or not.

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