photo credit Kane Reinholdsten

How to Leverage Free Speaking Engagements into Big Paydays


As an entrepreneur it’s quite clear that we are always looking for new clients.  One of the best ways to do so is to share your expertise  at one time, infront of a large group of your ideal clients.  What better way to do that than with speaking. Lately I have been having alot of conversations with entrepreneurs who have been habitually speaking for free. They went in with the expectation of gaining new clients and it never seemed to work out that way.

As an entrepreneur and expert speaker myself, I can’t but dispel one of the biggest myths out there. The myth of:  Speaking for free equals speaking for free. Allow me to share what I mean…

When you share your expertise on any platform, never forget your worth and the fact that you are in business.

Too often speakers are leaving with nothing but an applaud from the audience, and a thank you from the event coordinator.


Many events are asking experts to spspeaking-for-free-does-not-have-to-mean-speaking-for-freeeak for free with the promise of gaining exposure…which is not a problem. However, when there are 5-20 other speakers aiming to get the same “exposure”, the exclusive opportunity of “exposure” in no longer exclusive to you alone. The reality is this, how much can one audience retain or remember when sitting down and listening to speak after speaker?!

The same way you are being asked to speak for free, is the same manner in which you should ask a series of questions before you accept.  The intention is to assess if the speaking opportunity is worth your valuable time, and if it will truly further the growth of your business. Or if is it just meeting the needs of the event organizer.

When you keep speaking for free it can often become an expense; your gas, accommodations, food, your time etc., it all adds up.

Here are a few questions to ask before you accept a free speaking engagement:

1.  Will I be able to receive the email address of all of the attendees from you?

2.  Will I have an opportunity to offer something from the stage (paid offer)?

3.  Will I have the opportunity to offer something for free from the stage?

4.  Will I be able to have a table to sell from, before, after or during the event?

5.  Will I personally be able to collect business cards from all attendees?

6.  Will I be able to leave all attendees with a free gift?

The responses to these questions should help you assess whether you accept or decline the speaking engagement.

The intention is to leave having getting paid and growing your business.  I define getting paid as: paid for speaking, product sales, program sales, list building, leaving your content in the hands of all attendees with a clear CTA etc. Essentially you want to leave with; warm leads, new clients or hard cold cash.

Let’s be real, free can’t pay our bills. Never forget: Speaking For Free does Not Have To Mean “Speaking For Free   

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Best Selling Author Karen Donaldson is an international speaker, personal growth strategist and speaker coach for entrepreneurs, experts and authors who want to increase their capacity to authentically connect and engage on any platform, quickly build a profitable speaking business or create and live a life with no excuses.

http://karendonaldsoninc.com and http://noexcusesinnercircle.com

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