Have You Thought About Becoming a Motivational Speaker?

Thom Singer just wrote a post called Busy, but no complaints! The life of a motivational speaker.  Thom has been a speaker since I knew him, and was one of two authors I spoke with before I came out with my first book.  For most of the time I’ve known him he has had a JOB, but almost a year ago that came to an end as he pursued, in full force, his speaking career.

And he’s done well!

You can see in his post he shares his week of speaking, which is packed. Thom has a presentation each day this week (two on Monday).  Assuming he charges for each of them he’ll do very well this week.

Last week I emailed an old MBA professor and said “how come no one in school talks about how much money speakers make?”  School seemed to have a focus of going to work for a big, established company, without any exploration of alternative careers.

Speaking is a hard life – I’ve been doing it for a while.  For me it is one revenue stream, but I know many professional speakers who only do speaking (and some of the stuff that comes with it, like products, books, etc. that they develop and sell).

Some speakers make very good money – over $500k/year.

Other speakers hardly squeak out an extra $20k/year.

If you are a speaker you run your own business.  You are an entrepreneur.  Not only do you speak, which might be the thing you love to do, but you also drum up your own business, do lots of marketing to keep your schedule full, keep track of your logistics, etc.  If you make a lot of money you have a staff help you with this, but this is not always the case.

Back to money… let me assume that Thom charges low: $2k/presentation.  For this week, with 6 presentations, he would make about $12k.  If he were to charge $5k/presentation he would make $30k this week.

Assume he can do this once a month (6 presentations a month), Thom would make between $144,000 and $360,000/year.

That is a lot of money!  Again, why don’t they teach this to us in school?!?

Any speaker who is making that kind of money is working and travelling a lot.  It’s not an easy career but it can be rewarding beyond the finances.  In Thom’s post he talks about speaking to more than 1,000 people this week – imagine having the opportunity to touch a thousand people each week.  You can change lives.  It’s amazing.

Are you thinking about a career as a speaker?  I’d encourage you to check it out… read other speaker’s blogs, check out the National Speakers Association, and try and get a few free gigs to see if you have what it takes and really want to pursue it.


  1. thom singer on March 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm


    great post. I wanted to do this for years before I ever was brave enough to actually go for my dream.

    Yes, I charged, and yes it was a good week, but it is not about the money….. it is the difference between having a job and having a calling.

    Have a great day.


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