I picked the phone up one day and it was a corporation wanting to hire me to for a workshop at their event. They asked about my corporate rate. I did not have a corporate rate! I was sweating at the other end of the line. I shakingly made up: “Euh, $250?”. Then the client responded: “Okay, so for four hours, that means $1,000?”. Gulp. I meant $250 for the whole thing!!! There were going to pay me A THOUSAND DOLLARS??? So I responded with a poker face and a very low voice trying to hide the excitement in my voice: “Euh, yes, that is correct, $1,000.” Then he said: “Does that include the flight and the accommodation, or do we pay extra for that?” What? Were they going to pay for my flight too? I responded: “The accommodation and flight are on top of the speaking fee.” Immediately after saying it out loud, I thought: “That’s it! I blew it. It will never happen! I am being too greedy here!” He responded: “Let’s look at dates!” Oh my! That was it! I had a gig! I was so excited! Then I fell off my cloud when I realized I had to come up with some material to talk about sales for four hours to a room full of 200 salespeople. What the story doesn’t tell you is that I was all over the place. I did not have the systems that I have now, and I had to work days and nights to get something ready for this event. I still remember how many rules I broke on that day and all the nonsense that I did in order to get more speaking engagement after that.


Was I ever distracted! So much time spent on wasteful things that are not transforming into an immediate profitable return. I learned a lot from Hugh Culver’s full-day workshop at CAPS Expert Who Speak Vancouver this weekend.


Even after a decade in the speaking business, I realized I had forgotten a lot of basic principles. Great return on my investment. I have a clear vision of what my speaking business will become this year and I know how to get myself in front of more audiences.

Here are the basics of what I have learned:


Mistakes Speakers Do

  • Wait for the phone to ring
  • Think a new website will make you money (most of us would do very well removing half of the content)
  • Going online before you’re successful offline. Before you spend three months creating an online program to sell, make sure you have 10,000 people on your list that will buy it.
  • Using email instead of the phone
  • Not building a list
  • Not creating Products
  • Inconsistent content marketing
  • Not improving skills onstage


Get people to identify the problem they want to work on. Go from a problem to a solution.


  • Get existing clients on the phone for 3 questions.
  • How was your experience when we worked together?
  • Since we worked together, how has it been in terms of?
  • What do you think you need now? Learn what they are doing when it comes to paying someone else instead of you?
  • Then close the call without selling anything, do not turn into a sales pitch.


Add some products to oversell on top of your speaking fee.

  • Handout – make it nice, bind it and sell it for a low fee
  • Coaching
  • Webinars (1/4 of speaking fee for a webinar if they can’t afford to re-hire you this year)
  • Book on Kindle
  • Online course great add-on to the presentation



Make a spreadsheet with your different products and how much you will sell in coaching, speaking, products, community (how many new followers, new people on your list), leads, campaigns (minimum 4 per year, every 90 days have something to have people look at you), interview somebody, do a quick video, list size, site traffic, my team. Check what you are measuring? Website traffic, google analytic, aWeber list.



Stop believing you are irreplaceable. If we have to address all the moving parts yourself, and go down to every single rabbit holes, you will not really have value. Deep work, doing research or original work is what you need to do. Do it before you think you need to do it.


UPWORK & fiverr® are two different website Types of outsourcing:


Task – 3D cover for book – design book cover – hire someone to do research for your book – posting ebook on kindle – converting the ebook on kindle and make sure to test it on every single device to make sure it looks good.


Responsibility – edit post – promote post – posting your blog – soliciting associations to look for speaking engagements – signing up for webinars – set up a landing page and make sure everybody talks to the other – leadership podcast. SOP standard operating procedures to complete a task. Do that now even before you outsource it. Create SOP for everything.




Main street markets

Large associations

National companies

Charter Banks


Canada and United States. Keynotes. Lots of competition.


Side Streets Markets

Municipal Governments

Regional Districts

Credit Unions

Not For Profit Societies

School District Administrators

University staff

Health Authorities

Indian Bands

Start-up businesses

Local Agencies


You can make an entire income on the side street business.  Bread and Butter. You are not the keynoter on the main stage and it doesn’t matter. The side streets markets, you don’t have competition. You get to be awesome and work for them over and over again. Lower their incidences of conflicts, self-sabotage, efficiency, etc. you become a trusted advisor year after year.





Speakers bureaus

Look at speakers’ bureaus website and see what are the ones featured on their home page.  Find what it is about this that particular speaker or their topic. Who is selling the most?



Go to Amazon, which is live time updated to see what people are actually buying, look at kindles and find what are the top sellers in your category? See the top selling kindle books in your area. Look at the top books and if they all talk about decluttering in stress management, you can


Associations event agendas

Research their agenda. They are consistent and they need to have a conference every year, on the third weekend of May. They are predictable. The associations all have their agenda. See who they hire and what do they speak about. What do they hire in my genre.

Google association find event agenda scroll down and find outside speakers. Then you figure out that this association is liking speakers talking about negociations.


Get someone to go through the list of associations and figure out where I would fit best. They get on the phone and contact them to offer your services.


The main street market is extremely competitive and very profitable. The side street market is less competitive and very repetitive.




Create awareness, get people to follow you, get them to enjoy content, attend events or make a decision, small commitment $, loyal fan, move them towards a big commitment.


Set up your goals for the year. Get people to look at you for a period of time. The work will make sure to fill the funnel.



  1. Capture campaign
  2. Nurture campaign



Now you have your 120 leads and you need to pitch your product.

Your website needs to have just a few things as it is where people will look.

  • Headline
  • Sub Headline
  • Blurb about you and what you do 200-300 words with a proof that you are successful in your market.
  • Bullets, ideally on one-line, valuable problem solutions
  • Testimonials – third-party validation
  • Bio – expressive authority and expertise and experience
  • More likely for them to scroll than for them to click. Have everything under one scroll. Make it a logical one conversation.


5 ways to make any speech better.

  1. Start with a problem.
  2. Promise a Transformation.
  3. Make them work.
  4. Get a Commitment to Change.
  5. Teach with stories.








Hugh Culver co-created the world’s most expensive tours (to the South Pole), has presented to over 1,100 audiences as a professional speaker, is the CEO of BlogWorks and author of Give Me a Break – the art of making time work for you. His blog is at


You can also get Hugh’s business, SOS Stand Out Social, to do the work for you and create smart traffic for your brand and grow your list. Go to if you want to reach more readers and give SOS the hassle of getting the social media done for you so you are free to focus on what you do well. You can also visit his new website:


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