If you are thinking about quitting the rat race, the concept of becoming a professional public speaker may appeal – not only do you get to spread your ideas and talk about topics that you love and know a lot about, but you get to meet a lot of new and interesting people, and get paid to do so. Before jumping in, however, there are a few pros and cons that you should be aware of.
First, being a motivational speaker means you are self-employed, so not only do you have the freedom to set your own schedule and fees, but you are also able to deduct a variety of business-related expenses from your taxable income, such as advertising costs, professional training, and phone and internet bills.
Businesses and organisations will do the hard work for you by organising speaking events and conferences for you to attend and share your thoughts and experiences. As a bonus, organisers tend to pick interesting locations for their events, so you have the chance to travel to locations that otherwise you may not have the chance to visit.
A lot of the time, the organisers will foot the bill for your accommodation, travel and meals, on top of your regular fee, so that they may have the privilege and prestige of having a top motivational speaker at their event.
While an all-expenses paid jet-set lifestyle may seem like a dream come true, it does come with its downsides. For one, being a professional public speaker is not for everyone – it requires a lot of motivation and discipline to break into such a demanding industry, and you constantly need to promote yourself, which can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
In addition, being a full-time public speaker means that you will have peaks and troughs in your schedule, and you need to be able to ride out both. If you are just starting out, you may find that speaking engagements are few and far between, and you have to spend a lot of your time networking and promoting yourself both online and in person. In contrast, once you have some experience under your belt, you may find that invitations for events start coming in thick and fast, which can mean late nights, hectic schedules and chronic jet lag.