Every Tuesday I’m on the Christian Women Affiliate radio network on BlogTalkRadio to talk about building your speaking ministry! You can listen for FREE, so do tune in, or listen after the fact to the archives.
You can find this week’s show here.
Here’s the low-down on this week’s show!
Basically, you need to know where you’re going, or what you’re aiming for, before you launch, or it’s hard to measure how you’re going to get there.
And we can measure our goals in three areas: financial, professional, and spiritual. Let’s take them one at a time.
1. Financial Goals
There is nothing wrong with having to make money. Many of us need to contribute to the family income simply because the economy is bad. We’d love to speak, whether or not we were getting paid, and we’d love to just serve God, but we need money. And we can’t dedicate the kind of hours we need to to have an effective speaking ministry unless we’re making an income. Otherwise we’ll have to get a job elsewhere.
So understand what you do need to earn in terms of income, and then figure out how many speaking engagements this represents. And a little warning: it’s very hard to make $50,000 a year speaking, especially when you’re just starting out. If you charge $300 for an evening, and $600 for a Saturday, you’re going to have to speak every single Saturday during the year, and then 60 more evenings, to even reach that goal. Nobody can do that. It’s too much and it will burn you out.
You can make that kind of money if you’re selling a lot on your book table, and if you get good enough to raise your fees. But just be careful that you’re not launching into speaking thinking that it can deliver an income to you which is unrealistic. Some people think, “if I can charge $300 for an evening, then it’s like I’m making $300 an hour!” Don’t think of it like that. That $300 has to cover your prep, your travel, your networking, and your speaking.
Also factor in expenses, and charge them separately. If you have to pay for a hotel, or pay $150 for gas, driving four hours there and back, then $300 isn’t enough. You’ll start to wonder why you seem to be making no money at all (and that’s because you’re not!).
If income is an issue, think of easier ways to make it! Write magazine articles, or write for websites. Write for parenting magazines. Write for charities, or write on contract for non-profit organizations. It’s okay to need to make money!
2. Professional Goals
I decided early in my writing career that I wanted to write a book. But I knew that finding a publisher was going to be difficult, especially since I didn’t have any published credits to my name. So for four years I invested in writing magazine articles for some of the biggest Christian publications. Then, when I approached book publishers, I had something to share with them.
If you want to reach a certain niche, or if you want to publish a book or start speaking at a certain conference, remember that there are often several steps you need to take first in order to get there. If you want to speak for women on depression, for instance, it’s easier to speak to women in general for a few years first, and get well-known, before you try to hit that target niche. Speaking to a niche market is hard enough; you won’t get hired until people have heard of you first.
Similarly, if you want to publish a book eventually, it’s better to take three or four years to build your platform. Get well-known on the internet. Start speaking. Invest in the kind of things that give you name-recognition.
Note that this building period may be not what you envisioned. It may feel as if you’re not pursuing your goals; but you are. Just break them down a little bit.
When I made the decision to write a book, my income actually dropped. I was making more money writing magazine articles than I ever did writing my first few books. But I wanted to go in that direction so that I could build a speaking ministry. So I sacrificed a little bit, for a few years, so that I could get where I wanted to be.
3. Spiritual Goals
Always keep in mind the REASON that you are speaking and writing. God may bless some of us to become wildly well-known; most of us will not. In the end it’s His decision. But what you don’t want to do is to spend a lot of time and energy being tremendously successful at something that doesn’t matter.
There are ways that we can speak and write that may make us more popular. We can compromise on certain issues. We can become flashier or edgier. We can become more politically correct.
Don’t water anything down. Certainly we need to be culturally relevant, but always keep in mind the main reason that God has put you in this ministry. What is the message that He wants you to share? And then keep coming back to that message. Let it resonate out of every pore of your being. When you are doing that, your ministry will be so much more effective!
If you want to listen to me dive deeper into this subject, listen in to the radio show here.
And if you want to go even deeper into how to think about goals, and how to clarify where you should be putting your efforts, my download “Treating Speaking as a Business” will help you tremendously! It comes complete with a handout that helps you clarify your goals, and assign them priority numbers (in fact, it does it for you!). It couldn’t be easier, and it will save you time and money. Find the download here.