If you’re in business for yourself, you may (or may not) know that speaking as an expert can help your business by leaps and bounds.

I’m here to share with you how to make money as a speaker at conferences. When you accept an invitation as a breakout session speaker (or platform speaker) it:
– Pits you as an expert
– Gives you opportunity to find new clients
– Creates a new source of income

Let’s dig into how you can make money as a speaker and where you can start looking for speaking opportunities.

For starters, you should know that, in general, there are two kinds of public speaking from which you can profit:
Keynote Speaking – This is where you address an audience at a business or organization for an agreed amount of money and go home after the talk with a check.
Conference Speaking – This is where you address a room as a breakout session speaker at a large conference, and don’t go home with a check. 

So if you don’t go home with a check as a breakout session speaker at a conference, how do you make money?


1. Collect Names

How to Make Money as a Speaker at ConferencesThere are hundreds of business owners that use conference speaking as part of their business plan. This is because they know if they have an hour to teach in front of a room, they can convert some of those attendees to paying clients.

So how do they do it?

For starters, they aren’t afraid to follow up.

When I speak at a conference, I collect the names, phone numbers, and emails of those in attendance. I do this by collecting business cards to offer a giveaway, or I pass around a sheet and encourage attendees to join my mailing list.

How you do this is up to you. I don’t pass my sheet around or collect business cards until halfway through my talk. By this point, the room is comfortable with me and has decided they either like me or they don’t. If they like me, they’ll gladly give me their contact info.

Some approach me after the talk to set up a call with me. They want to learn more. SO what do I do? I schedule a time to chat with them right then and there. And then I…


2. Pick Up the Phone

How To Make Money As a SpeakerI realize that sending an email after a conference is convenient. It’s safe, too. You don’t have to talk to anyone and it can be sent in seconds. However,

I encourage you to physically pick up the phone and call your attendees.

Sending an email is a cop out. I’m sorry, but it is. I realize this is the technical age and we all communicate via messaging, but a phone call is personal. And frankly, physically talking to someone will take you miles further.

I typically call the next day after a speaking event. Or the day after that. I never wait longer than two days. When they answer, I say something like, “Hi Mary. This is Joleene Moody. You were part of my breakout session at XYZ Conference. How are you? I was just calling to see what you thought of the session. Did I bring value to you?”

If I was awesome and blew their socks off, they usually tell me it was wonderful and they learned a ton. I then ask, “We show up at these kinds of conferences looking for something. Did you find what you were looking for?”

This question typically gets them talking about what they found most valuable, and what they wish they learned more of. This is your opportunity to connect what you do with what they need. “I can help you with that. Why don’t we set up a consultation and I can walk you through how we can turn things around for you. If you like what you hear and you want to learn more about what it’s like to work with me, we can talk about that too. But first, let’s start with getting your questions answered and easing your mind.”

BAM. Then set up a time on the calendar.


3. Serve, Don’t Sell

How To Make Money As a SpeakerWhen I was business coaching full-time, I could easily make 5-figures after one event. At the time I was selling high-end coaching. If you sell a service that’s in the neighborhood of $3000 – $8000 dollars, connecting with authenticity can get you a 5-figure event, too.

All you need to do is sell three to five packages to get there. And if you have a room of 40 people and a strong desire to serve, you can. 

To do this, you must come from a true place of service during your consultation. 

Never go into a consultation making it about YOU. 
Go in and make it about THEM.
Serve them, don’t sell them.

That means from the moment you pick up the phone to calendar the consultation, to the actual consultation, don’t make the closing of a sale about you. You never should. The second you do, is the same second you become desperate and manipulative. Stay in service, and you’ll discover that closing a sale comes naturally and actually feels good.


4. Where are the opportunities?

How To Make Money As a SpeakerFinding clients can be a challenge sometimes. That’s what speaking as a breakout session speaker at a conference can alleviate that challenge. Give a conference a shot. You may discover that speaking is not only profitable, but very gratifying, too. To share your expertise with those that need you is exhilarating.  

To seek out conferences that need speakers like you, pop over to my post, 3 Ways to Find Paid Speaking Opportunities. These are simple, effective, search options that you can do yourself. All it takes is passion and drive and a hunger to succeed. If you have those three things, you’ll find yourself in rooms sooner than later.

If you want more, I have an e-book for $3.99 that dives deeper into finding paid opportunities and writing a talk that sells. 


Joleene Moody is a former television reporter and anchor turned freelance writer, blogger, and speaker, based in Central New York.
(No, not New York City. Not even close. 🙂
Learn more at www.joleenemoody.com