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Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

 

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So... You Want to Become a Professional Speaker?


Almost every week someone like you asks me to help them out getting started in the speaking business. I've created this webpage to direct you to some great resources to help you get started.

Professional Speaking 101

I won't candy coat this. The speaking business is a tough business. 95% of this business is selling yourself and marketing yourself to prospective buyers (meeting planners). Delivering the speech is simply delivering the product after it's been sold.

If you don't like sales or cold-calling, or if you can't take rejection, I suggest you do something else. I'm not trying to scare you away. I'm simply letting you know how it is.

I'm lucky enough to have a great hook (Four-time Olympian) and I'm told that I'm a very good speaker. Even so, I have to work my rear end off to get gigs.

It took me about three years of consistently and persistently marketing myself (10-12 hours a day) to develop some good momentum. Along the way I was willing to try anything; cold-calling meeting planners, internet marketing, direct mail, anything to get the job done.

The money can be great but you will work hard for it. There's enough business out there for anyone that is willing to make the effort. The only competition is yourself.

I could write a book about how to build a successful speaking business, but I'd rather spend my precious time growing my business. So, rather than rewrite what's already out there, I'll just refer you to some good sources of information.

 

Public Speaking Tips from Ruben:

  • From a 2006 Interview conducted by Johnny Blue Star: Click here

 

Write a Book!

You will need to write a book to make it in this business. It's a big project but anyone can do it. A book gives you credibilityand sets you up as the expert because you wrote the book on it.

More information below on how to do it. Self publish it.

 

WARNING!    There's a whole industry of people that prey on beginning speakers. It's no different than the get rich quick industry. So be careful before dishing out thousands of dollars on useless information. Before investing a lot of money make sure the so-called experts have fruit on the trees. Make sure they have built successful speaking businesses.

 

Note: One of the groups I would stay away from is called International Speakers Network - www.isnworks.com . Don't give them your hard earned money.

They called me and wanted me to pay them $500 for them to represent me like a bureau. NEVER pay a bureau to represent you. ISN explained the $500 was to pay the cost of putting your information up on their website.

I asked to speak with the owner. I told her I do not pay for representation BUT I'd pay her $500 plus her commission AFTER she booked me. She didn't go for it!

That told me she didn't intend to promote me in the first place. After all, with my Olympic hook, and my testimonials I'm an easy sell.

But she would not go for it. Why? Because obviously, ISN makes their money by signing up hundreds of speakers at $500 each!

Another thing to know about bureaus... when a bureau books you, they keep 25%. Don't pay them more than that. 30% is highway robbery.

 

But you will have to invest money. You need to learn how to market yourself. There are many techniques. You need to try them to find out what works for you.

Here are some of the best...

Speaker Marketing and Building a Speaker Business

www.SpeakerLauncher.com Jane Atkinson helps speakers build their businesses. She has helped some pretty impressive people.

"The Wealthy Speaker" by Atkinson is a must read.

www.Antion.com Tom Antion is an expert on how to market yourself through the Internet. He also has some great CDs on building speaking businesses.

"Electronic Marketing for Small Business" by Antion is a must read.

"Maximize Web Site Traffic" by Robin Nobles is a must as well.

www.NSASpeaker.org You can buy tapes and CDs on just about anything having to do with building a speaker business right out of the website.

www.LarryWinget.com  You MUST get his speaker books.

"60 Ways to Get Rich in the Speaking Business,"

"60 Ways to Manage Your Speaking Business," and

"How to Write a Book One Page at a Time."

Then, for $500, I highly recommend his 8 CD set of his speaking Boot Camp. The information in this 8 hour CD set is an absolute gold mine - as long as you apply it.

 

Becoming a Better Speaker 

www.StoryTheater.net Doug Stevenson will take your speaking to the next level. I attended his camp and it made a huge difference in my presentation skills. Get his book, "Never be Boring Again" and sign up for his newsletter.

"Stand Up Comedy - The Book" by Judy Collins is another must read. If you are funny, you'll command a higher fee.

"Million Dollar Speaking" by Alan Weiss is a great book on coaching and consulting type speaking.

www.GreatPublicPpeaking.blogspot.com  Tom Antion's blog on public speaking. Is filled with great tips. Get Tom's book on public speaking.

 

Final Tip - The Real "Secret" to Success...

Don't just read all this stuff. Take massive action. Your attitude needs to be that done is better than perfect. Work your rear end off and clean up the mess later. If you're not willing to do that, don't waste your time trying to become a professional speaker. Like I said before, this is a tough business.

But, I believe anybody can do it. The question is... are You willing to do it?

Good Luck,

Ruben Gonzalez

 

Software and Services Ruben Uses

Website Software

I used Front Page to build my website (It's called Microsoft Expression now). Dream Weaver is harder to use. Antion uses Front Page and that's good enough for me. By the way, I'm getting about 50% of my gigs from people who find me on the Internet.

WordPress is the way to go today. Cheap, easy, and thousands of website templates.

 

Important note: I have worked very hard to get great testimonials and develop great videos for my website so that once a meeting planner stumbles across it, they will be impressed. I was not getting 50% of my gigs from the Internet two years ago.

I'm constantly doing things to improve my website. This business is a work in progress.

Read some good books on writing good copy.  Joe Vitale at www.MrFire.com is a good place to start. The CopyBlogger is good too.

Graphics Software

I used to use Microsoft Publisher because of its simplicity, but not too many printers use it. I've had to learn Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is a tough software to learn, but it's the industry standard. You might want to take a beginners Photoshop class at your local community college.

 

Audio Software

Record all your presentations. Then review them to improve.

I use an Olympus DS-330 digital voice recorder (around $150). To record my presentations and to create audio products. I use a lapel mike with it to get a higher quality recording ($25).

Then, I use Sony Sound Forge to edit my recordings and create CD products.

Today you can use an iPhone with a lapel microphne.

Voice Recognition Software

Dragon Software is the state of the art voice recognition software that will allow you to dictate a book instead of write a book. This will save you a ton of time.

Shopping Cart, Website Back End Software

Monthly newsletters are a must because that's how you create a following of people that purchase your products and refer you as a speaker.

You're not in the speaking business, you're in the email collection business.

I use MailChimp for my newsletters, autoresponders, and much more. It automates my internet business.

 

 

Other Speaker Resources Ruben Heartily Recommends

 

Freelance Help of all Kinds
  • www.elance.com is a place where you can get people bidding to do all kinds of things for you. Writing a book, editing, virtual helpers, duplication, etc. I know top speakers who have sent a bunch of notes to eLance people and $1500 later gotten great books written for them. You're going to have to write a book in order to increase your credibility. Mainly your credibility to yourself that you've actually got something worth people paying you top dollar to speak about. If you don't believe you have value, it's going to be pretty hard to convince a meeting planner that you do!  www.oDesk.com is great too.

 

Video Taping & Editing:

 

Voice Overs and Audio Production:

 

CD Packaging:

 

Book Editing and Ghostwriting:

 

Graphic Design for CD Covers, Book Covers & Package Design:

 

CD & Video Duplication:

 

Royalty-Free Music:

 

Travel Agents Top Speakers Use:

 

Printing (from business cards to books):

  • Data Reproductions - 248-371-3700
  • Vaughan Printing - 615-256-2244
  • Star Printing - John Stephens - 281-951-5808

 

Copy Writing (sales and marketing copy):

 

Transcription Services:

 

Bar Codes for Books:

 

ISBN for Book:

 

Print on Demand and Distribution for Books:

 

Cartoons for Books:

 

Printing (promotional and bonus items):

 

Professional Photography:

 

Media Packaging and Blank Media:

 

Professional Organizations for Speakers:

 

Social Media:

  I use HootSuite to help me set up my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook messages. 

 

 

Ruben's Recommended Reading List:

  • These books will help to transform you into the type of person who can accomplish just about anything: Ruben's Reading List 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic Motivational Speaker

Ruben Gonzalez

Salt Lake City Olympics - 84 MPH - click here

 

 

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