I feel the call of God to speak so strongly! I have a great message and I so want to share it. But I can’t do all the training and planning and practicing that I want to do while I’m still working full-time at 10 hour days. I feel like I should be willing to step out in faith and quit my job, but is that wise, especially when our family needs my income?
Excellent question, and one that I know many people struggle with! So let’s break this down and look at how to make this decision.
1. How Often Can I Reasonably Handle Speaking?
Before you quit, we have to count the cost and plan ahead. In Luke 14:28-32, Jesus tells us that we need to count the cost before we do something drastic and commit to something big.
So let’s take a look and ask: what income can I reasonably expect to make from speaking?
Well, that depends on how much you can charge and how often you speak. Let’s say that you’re able to set your fee at $500 for an engagement. To make $40,000 a year, you’d have to speak 80 times. That’s 1 1/2 times a week, every week, including all through the summer and around Christmas.
Now, if your fee were $1500 per weekend retreat, you’d have to do about 27 retreats to make $40,000, or roughly every second weekend.
Just a few thoughts about that: Speaking that often is extremely draining and extremely tiring. I’ve done the 8 weekends in a row thing in the springtime, when churches have lots of retreats, and it isn’t fun. If you have children at home, you can’t be gone every weekend, or even most weekends, assuming they’re in school. You’ll never see them!
If you speak that often, too, it’s likely that you’re traveling a great deal. There just won’t be that many speaking engagements close to where you live. So speaking will mean driving or flying, usually for several hours, and sometimes for up to a whole day.
So you have to ask yourself: assuming that I didn’t have a job, how often would I honestly like to speak? How much can I be away from my family?
2. How Likely Is It That I Can Fill My Calendar with Speaking Engagements?
You have a number in mind: I want to speak this number of times in a year. But can you get those engagements?
Remember, speaking requests tend to grow from word of mouth, not just from doing a ton of marketing. So your calendar will likely fill up only because you have already done some speaking. It grows exponentially from there.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: how many speaking requests have I had in the last year? You may have had some you weren’t able to do because of time commitment problems, but include them. Now, if you went full-time, you can likely expect that amount to double if you spend some time cold calling local churches and networking. But it’s unlikely to triple or quadruple right off the bat.
Having engagements lined up, I believe, is one way that God confirms to us that this is our calling. If you have difficulty getting any engagements at all, then perhaps it’s better to spend some time honing your speaking skills before you take that leap. It may be that God wants you to share your story in a different way, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.
3. Do I Have Products to Sell?
One way to boost your income when you speak is to have a book table. I tend to make more from selling products than I actually make from my speaking fees, which is a huge bonus. Thus, if you decided that you needed to do 27 retreats to make the $40,000, you may only have to do 15 or 20 if you have product to sell that can make you that extra income.
Having at least three things that you sell boosts your income quite substantially. My download on Creating Products to Sell When You Speak can help you brainstorm different products to sell–from traditional books to things you likely never even thought of!
4. Decision Time: When Do I Quit and Speak Full-Time?
My rule of thumb, then, would be this:
Do not quit your day-time job until you have:
- 2 items to sell on a product table, with at least one other idea that you could create quickly once you have time. These items must already sell well when you speak.
- Booking requests equal to at least one half of what you would need to support yourself for a year.
Even then, it’s still very risky. Another option is to stop working full-time but go to part-time work so that you can supplement your income, but still have more time to develop your speaking ministry.
Many of us have a passion to speak, but I believe that God wants us to be wise with what He has given us, including the family that we may have to help support. It certainly is easier to build a speaking ministry when you don’t have full-time job commitments, but before we make that leap, I think we should confirm with God that this is where He wants us to be, by looking at where we are now and asking if God has prepared us for this yet.
For most of us, that will take a few years–sometimes even up to a decade! That waiting can be hard. But if He is building this in you, then He knows the timing, and He will release you from your job when you are ready.
Let me know: what are your considerations for taking the leap and going full-time? Have you quit a job so that you have more time to speak? What advice would you give to others in the same situation?