Once upon a time, record labels, event professionals, and book publishers took risks on new talent by presenting advanced honorariums for the "future" sales potential of relatively unknown artists and experts. Today, the market has completely changed to a self-funding model.
It's hard now to get noticed without a proven track record. The rise of self-published authors and artists leaves them feeling the pressure of creating consistent content to prove their value upfront.
This is especially true for speakers in today's market. Without a consistent résumé of media coverage, high profile publications, and influence, event professionals will request highly ambitious speakers and lecturers to volunteer their expertise. With an abundance of high-profile experts teaching "how to get paid to speak," there's one step that you must add to your business model today to avoid getting trapped into volunteering your time: Host your own events.
Hosting your own events is a great way to increase the value of your marketing collateral by featuring footage of you speaking in front of your ideal target audience. In addition, it will give you financial leverage to negotiate higher speaking and appearance fees when approached by event planners at conventions.
Hosting your own event adds infinite possibilities to the value of your brand and will increase your demand. Here are the three most important reasons why:
1. It increases your visibility .
If you haven't spoken at a large-scale convention/conference before, this is an effective way to introduce yourself to the market. Photos, videos, and social-media testimonials will guide an executive meeting planner's decision about your qualifications. In addition, you're building a platform to substantiate your expertise.
Local events also attract local media attention. News outlets are always seeking tips which highlight upcoming attractions in their city. A local news story can help you attract more media exposure to discuss your expertise in the future.
By doing this over the past five years, I've managed to build solid relationships with morning show producers in several cities, where I host most of my events--primarily New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and Charlotte, North Carolina. The media coverage has undoubtedly accelerated my speaking career and demand.
2. You can use prices to set your value.
If you want premium honorariums, pricing your own events becomes imperative to corporate event and meeting planners. My events are priced according to my honorarium when approached by event coordinators.
The price of your event highlights your confidence level about the value of your experience and expertise. For example, you cannot host a $40 event and expect a $40,000 speaking fee. Price your event parallel to the level of conference/convention where you would like to speak.
3. You can focus on quality, rather than quantity.
I host 10 small-scale live events each year, which are committed solely to value. Most of these incubators are invite-only. Some are only 15 seats per event.
You can make a huge impact with 10 to 20 attendees that may be impossible with 200 or more, especially in the initial stages of developing your platform. I've hosted large-scale events in the past, and they inevitably ended up focusing on cost over quality. Now, I haven't done one in years--and I doubt I ever will again.