Archive for September, 2010

Getting Paid as a Professional Speaker

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

A few months ago I was at a network meeting and we were giving our 30 second pitches. The guy before me said he was a “public speaker.” When it was my turn I said “I’m a professional speaker, which means I get paid to speak.”

Big difference, in my mind, between a public speaker and a professional speaker.

A friend sent me an email about getting paid to speak … here is parts of the email and my responses:

>> [This is in regards to someone who is] the author of a best-selling book.

>> she was bemoaning speaking engagements she does being free.

Free isn’t all that bad – there are times, and reasons, to do free.  For example, if you have a method to get email addresses of people in the audience you will build a prospect database…

>> She was saying that corporates that she speaks to always put really strict constraints on her talks/presentations.

If she has a problem with it, and she isn’t getting value out of the opportunity, then she has to say NO.  SHE has the cookie… it is her decision to agree to speak.

>> For instance, she can’t sell her book

Most books sold in the back of the room make very little money anyway.  Assume she gets $10/book (which is not usual – especially if she didn’t self-publish) and she sells 100 books (that is not easy to do) – she gets a mere $1,000 … not much money.

>> or any product at the end

There is a lot of opportunity to make money on non-book products… does she have high-margin products that she could sell?  If so… (read on :))

>> and she has to pay her own way to get there and she gets no fee etc.

It sounds to me she is making bad business decisions.  No fee, no opportunity to sell and she pays expenses?  What does she get out of the engagement… does she get “her name out there?”  That doesn’t put food on the table.

>> … I remember you a few years back now when you said that you’d just gulped, added a few zeros to your speaking engagement fee and they accepted it without blinking.

My first paid speaking engagement was priced at the same price I charge right now. I doubled my rate for a while but that was because I was getting over-booked… I went back to my normal rate once my schedule calmed down.

I did, however, get solid advice from Andy Sernovitz to triple my rates – not necessarily my speaking rates … but I love the advice for various reasons.

>> So I’m thinking; how is there such a difference?

It is a matter of her saying: My fee is $x,xxx plus expenses, and then quietly waiting for a response.  If they say no, that’s fine.  Her time is valuable and I’d argue that one speaking engagement eats up at least four hours of her day.  She can’t do that for free.  If they want to negotiate down she has a business decision to make… which she can do on a case-by-case basis.  But speaking for free, especially if she is a best-selling author, is a great disservice to her capability, knowledge, experience, etc.

>> Is it the groups that you speak to are different corporate groups than her?

I don’t know where she is getting asked to speak but I’ve gotten fees from places/organizations that others said don’t pay.  SHE has the cookie… she has to make a business decision. She has to respect her abilities, and what she brings to the table, enough to say “my time and experience merits $x,xxx,” and if they don’t want her for that then that is fine – she can work on other revenue-generating projects and pass up an opportunity to lose money.

>> Why would she get nothing for her talks and you can name a price?

Because she hasn’t figured out how to name her price, and say NO if they don’t pay a certain amount.

>> I’m just curious how you have obviously been able to get it to work for you, but not her.

Without knowing more about her situation that’s my guess… it is as simple as stating a fee without flinching and then waiting, quietly, for the response.

>> Do you think this is odd?

No.  I think many people do this because they are excited that anyone would listen to them in the first place and they are proud to have an audience.  But you do that a few times and then wonder why you do it for no money…

Another common thing, unfortunately, is speakers who will do it for a couple hundred bucks.  No one is making a living on a couple hundred bucks…. speakers who say they are raising their rate to a couple hundred bucks are still in the “I work by the hour” mode, and they don’t appreciate the power of the message they (can) give.

NOTE: I don’t know if she’s a great speaker or a boring speaker… which could have an impact on her getting jobs…

Herriman Fire: We’re Safe

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Hi folks… I’m sure I’ll share about 40% of what I want to share here but I need to get this off my chest so I can get back to work.

One of the best pictures of the Herriman Fire I’ve seen, I think our house is around one of these two arrows.

I’m writing this from a Radisson hotel in Salt Lake City, preparing to do a workshop and a keynote presentation this afternoon.  If I had a real job I’d probably take a vacation day but duty calls :)

Last night we left Herriman about 4pm to go to a family birthday party about an hour south.  We noticed a fire in the Camp Williams area and it looked pretty big.

There’s a hill between Camp Williams and my neighborhood.  About 6 years ago, when we first moved in, there was a fire up on the hill and it was kind of a spectacle, but we didn’t feel threatened.

We didn’t think much about it as we went to the party.

On the way home the smoke/fire was much larger, but still not anything we were concerned about.

We went to a friends house and picked raspberries until it was too dark to see anymore.  About that time we noticed a bunch of gawkers… neighbors of our friends were getting on their roof with cameras and binoculars.

We could, through the houses, see the fireline way up on the hill.  It was brilliant, in the dark… an orange line across the hill.

Still, not too worried.

As we drove home (about a mile) everyone… everyone seemed to be out.  Cars were parked along the road and people where on the sidewalks just looking.  Families where out on their porches with cameras.

Still, not too worried.

We finally got the news on about 9pm (Twitter had much more info (hashtag #herrimanfire)) and learned there were about 250 houses evacuated from The Cove – a nice neighborhood very close to the hills, as well as all the houses up the canyon.


Just a few weeks ago we were camping in those canyons and I was admiring all of the houses there with nice, private property :p

Soon we heard there were 750 houses evacuating… unfortunately no one had a map available (my biggest beef with the emergency response).

My family was out in our backyard looking and I heard a police loudspeaker (or something like that) but I couldn’t understand it… so we walked to the corner of the main busy street (about 5 houses away).  It was amazing – LOTS of smoke, lots of ash and lots of congested traffic trying to get out.

A neighbor said they were leaving because of the smoke, and that’s when I thought that sounded like a good idea. I didn’t want to wake up to 5 kids crying at night with smoke/breathing problems and have to leave in the middle of the night.

I got home and we started packing… it went well, even though my two young daughters were scared and traumatized.  I gave them jobs to get their mind off of scary stuff… and eventually we piled in the van.

I thought we would be stuck trying to get out of Herriman but we were on the main highway, with no traffic, within 10 minutes (usually a 5 minute drive to get there), and rolled into my in-laws’ house at about midnight.

The kids dropped quickly and my wife and I watched the news for about 30 more minutes… then we crashed.

Today I’m speaking and tomorrow I get on the road for a conference in Dallas. I was supposed to pack, at my leasure, tonight… hopefully I got all I needed to because I don’t think I’ll be sleeping at home tonight.

Thank you to all who have called, chatted, tweeted, texted, facebooked, etc… we are okay and feel loved and blessed.

This is a traumatic event, and I know some families lost homes, and many people are scared.  However, we are so blessed and not alone, as the community has pulled together in a big way – we had friends prepare beds for my family last night, in case we wanted to stay there.  Stores and businesses have donated food and water, etc.

I think about those in Haiti, who didn’t get that support, or those in the recent California pipeline blast who lost their entire neighborhood,… or what if the fire destroyed lots of homes (so far only 4 or 5), etc.

Not to trivialize what’s going on but it could be so much worse.

Thanks again for your thoughts, prayers, concern,… we are and should be okay.

Phishing Scam Spam

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Here’s another scam… these will never, ever end, and they will always be slightly different.  They are getting smarter… here’s a my post called Scary Spam where I break down the components of a scam email.

This one looks good enough at first:

But, if you mouse over the link you’ll see, at the bottom left of the browser, that it doesn’t go to a google page at all… it goes to this page where they’ll probably try and get your credit card info:

What I do, when I get this, is not just delete it, but I report it for spam, or in a worse case like this, for phishing (this is a gmail option)… I hope that by doing this I (a) decrease the amount of this crap in my own inbox and (b) somehow penalize the email sending the crap.

Please be careful on what you click on!  First mouse over it and look at the URL… that’s the first thing to check out!