I started my speaking career shortly after my book came out. I didn’t think I would become a speaker, but the first money offer was a real eye-opener.
I learned about the International Speakers Network from… I don’t remember. I probably googled something about speakers and found them. I was intrigued, got on their mailing list, and thought they provided good stuff.
I was particularly encouraged by a list of speaking opportunities they were looking for speakers for. Each time I saw the list I thought “man, I gotta be an insider here – these guys are obviously finding good jobs, and I might qualify for one!” I also thought that my topic was unique enough (it isn’t anymore) that they might be able to drum up business just for me. I remember in their emails they had lists of companies that I thought they were prospecting, or marketing their members to.
I eventually decided to join their organization. At the time $525 was a big investment for my new company, but I knew that one gig would pay that back tenfold. I knew it was one-time, lifetime, and probably non-refundable.
Shortly after I joined it seemed the nature of the newsletters stopped. Since then I remember ONE email that had speaking opportunities, and I don’t remember any more that had lists of “here’s the conferences or companies we are prospecting.” Instead, every email seems to be a reminder to sign up for one of their conferences (in Tennessee) or buy their marketing services (to make a one-page or other marketing material speakers use).
It just isn’t what I thought it would be. I know they’ll see me forever-more as a thorn in their side, but I have to say it, and if any speaker asks me, I’ll tell them:
“Don’t spend money on an ISN membership. It isn’t worth it. I’ve gotten zero value out of it.”
Have you had a different experience ? I’m happy to let you share yours. When ISN reads this they are welcome to send their members here to leave their own testimonials of the value of ISN. I’d like to hear them.
What comes to mind as I read your post is this: One of the best things I believe we can do to protect ourselves from “scams” is to be active in our professional organizations, and participate in the forums where we can check out organizations with our colleagues. They keep a pulse on what’s legit and what’s worthwhile to invest in…and what’s not.
Perhaps also using Google’s blog search would yield beneficial information about organizations.
Weddle’s (www.weddles.com)also has an online list of professional associations…for free.
Sorry you got taken by ISN; I think many of us have been ther a time or two. Hence the value I see of membership in professional associations and affinity groups.
Hope this helps you and others.