Why does everyone want to be a speaker or coach? The harshest and perhaps meanest post I have ever written. By Douglas Vermeeren, The Speaking Business Multiplier
Why is it that everyone wants to be a speaker or a coach? Do they think they really have something to teach or are they thinking its an easy ride? And if they have something to teach today are they really committed to step up and put in the effort to make themselves valuable long term. In my more than a decade as a professional and profitable speaker I’ve seen lots of successes and miserable failures from people that felt they wanted to be speakers. One of the biggest challenges that the failures all had is they thought they were ready to teach and were not. Or they became inspired by someone else and tried to duplicate that person in terms of personality or teaching. A common example of this has been seen by all (you’ve seen it too) where someone read the secret and thought they knew enough to teach it or where someone felt the power of Tony Robbins and then tried to imitate Tony. A feeling of inspiration is not necessarily an invitation to duplicate. If you are going to be successful in this business the first thing you need to realize is that your success will be found only as you find your individual and unique voice. Impersonators, imitators and plagiarists never rise higher than the pioneer. You have got to be an original.
Having said that the other important thing about being an original means being valuable. You need to solve real problems and have real solutions. You also need to add to the conversation. In order to add to the conversation you need to know the conversation and understand it well. It’s not enough to read one or two books or what a movie or youtube video and think you are an expert. I recommend to my students that they need to study their subject matter at least one hour per day. No Holidays. I know of top professional speakers that are spending far more than that. If you want to be an expert you’ve got to know what everyone is saying and develop your own unique points of view on the subject. This is a full time job people. Yesterday I spoke with a husband and wife couple and the husband wants to be a speaker or coach. He has achieved no real great success in his life but feels he has something to teach others. In addition, he has spent lots of the family money pursuing other interests and trying a variety of business that have all reached minimal levels of either success or failure. If you are int he same position and considering that you want to be a speaker or leader to others. The first thing I am going to say is reconsider. You really aren’t ready. But if you must persist before you spend the money and effort to come and play with us let’s see if you can actually consistently put in an hour into your subject each day for a month. If you can’t do it – we don’t want you to come and share the stage with those of us that do this for a living. You are not committed enough and you’re getting in our way. You are also doing a disservice to your audience. They deserve better than someone who is there from an ego point of view or to make a quick buck.
Maybe this is the harshest rant I’ve ever published but it is not uncommon for this industry to attract people who feel that speaking is just a matter of talking and sharing personal stories. People expect more and there’s no need for you to waste everyones time. I recently read an article on how trust levels for speakers, coaches and gurus are losing a lot of ground in the marketplace when it comes to credibility and trust. I believe the reason why is that there are too many people out there who don’t really have any value. If you are considering this as a career take a careful look at what you really offer. And if you find yourself lacking either own it and fix it or find something else to do.
Recently I was at an event where a lady approached me after I spoke and told me of her aspirations to be a life coach. It didn’t take long to understand that her personal life was a mess, her financial life was on the verge of collapse, her relationships were very messy and she had substance abuse challenges. I don’t understand where people like this can even consider life coaching. the role of coach must be very misunderstood. Your responsibility is to lead people to higher ground. It would seem that anyone she would encounter as potential coaching clients would generally be in a better position that she would be. Unreal.
I want to dispel the rumours that this is an easy job. Like anything else there highs and lows. There are moments that are easy and days where the woe is hard. You can’t just have the happy moments you have got to be willing to put in the efforts as well. If you ultimately choice to be a speaker (And I haven’t discouraged you) then by all means do it – but get committed to being the best you can be. Don’t settle to just do the job. Become an expert and a source people can trust and have confidence in. And strive everyday to become better. If you teach personal development or self improvement practice it damn it.
Are you ready to level up your speaking business? You’ve come to the right place. Douglas Vermeeren is The Speaking Business Multipier. He is considered by many to be the modern day Napoleon Hill for his extensive research into the lives and psychology of more than 400 of the world’s top achievers.
Vermeeren is the author of 3 books in the Guerrilla marketing series and one in the Dummies book series. He is also the creator of the personal development films The Opus, The Gratitude Experiment and The Treasure Map. He is a regular featured expert on FOX, FOX Business, CNN, ABC, NBC, CTV, CBC and others.
As a speaker he earned more than 1.3 Million dollars in his first six months as a speaker. He currently teaches speakers how to duplicate his level of success in a top rated program called High Profit Speaker.