Rarely do I talk to a speaker who is indifferent about having products in his or her business.
Most speakers are either enthusiastic about the benefits products bring to their businesses, or they hate products and say, “I don’t want to sell anything!”
It’s unfortunate that products have come to have this negative connotation to some. Is anyone calling Apple “sleazy” for churning out product after product each year? No. They’re creating products people love, and building a very successful business doing it!
There’s no reason you can’t — and shouldn’t — do the same thing.
I know of at least five reasons you need products in your business:
If you see one speaker whose website only promotes a keynote presentation on Leadership, and you see another speaker whose website showcases the same keynote presentation plus a training program, webinars, e-learning courses, CDs, DVDs and books, which one appears to be more of an expert on the topic?
The more products you have to share your expertise on a topic, the more of an expert you are perceived to be… before anyone even looks at your bio to review your credentials.
We’ve talked about this one before, but if more than 75% of your revenue comes from your speaking fees, then what happens if the meetings industry collapses — even for a short time? What happens if new regulations change the way organizations can invest in speakers? What happens if you fall ill for an extended period? As they say, “Expect the unexpected.”
When you diversify your business with multiple revenue streams, you have a stronger business when everything is going well, and you have fail-safe mechanisms in place in the event one system fails.
3. New World, New Economy
One of the speakers at the IASB Convention earlier this month, a futurist, shared some news that should sound very good to you: “Intellectual property will define wealth in the future…”
As a speaker, isn’t “intellectual property” the foundation of your business? Absolutely! That means you are positioned perfectly for this new economy. Lois Creamer said on #speakchat last night, “Remember, you all are in the intellectual property biz.”
The second part of the quote from the IASB speaker puts a little more urgency into the need for you to develop products, though: “…as we are moving to a non-physical reality.”
Live speaking engagements are a very physical means of delivering your message, and I don’t believe that is going away. But there is no question that more and more of our life is going digital/virtual, so make sure you keep up with that in the way you package your content.
4. Exit Strategy
Whether you’re just starting your speaking business, whether you’re in your prime, or whether you’re thinking about the next phase of your life, do you have an exit strategy? If you owned a convenience store and wanted out, it’s simple: you sell the convenience store. As a speaker, though, you are your business. You can’t sell yourself — or at least, I wouldn’t advise it! 🙂
Developing products or licensing your content to allow others to develop products adds another dimension to your business so you can either continue generating revenues long after you’re off the road, or you can even sell the product portion of the business as a “training company.”
I mentioned Apple at the beginning of this article, and I want to circle back to them. Do you know why Apple was recently recognized as the Most Valuable Brand? Look at the emphasized words in this statement for some hints:
“The company will most likely maintain its momentum as an image and financial leader with products like the iPad 2, as well as the anticipated debut this fall of the iPhone 5.”
You can apply the exact same strategy to your brand and your business.
Not so much with a single keynote, but it’s a different story if you have a keynote… which gives way to a book… which gives way to an iPhone app… which gives way to a membership site… which gives way to a DVD series… which gives way to a coaching program… which gives way to a spin-off keynote… and a spin-off book… and on and on.
(By the way, if you want to see a real example of this in the speaking world, go to Ken Blanchard‘s website and type “one minute” — no quotes — in the search box in the upper right corner… You’ll see all the number of ways he has spun The One Minute Manager into products, which has kept him and his brand relevant for over 25 years!)
Does this give you some ideas about possibilities for your content and your business?
If so, pull out a piece of paper and list your ideas right now.
Then pick ONE you can tackle this week, and create a plan of attack.
You don’t build a product empire overnight. You build it one step at a time.
(And as a side note, everything I’ve written here applies to my business, too, so I’m going through this process with you right now!)
Let me know how can be more helpful to you.
FREE Teleseminar – Tomorrow
I just found out about a teleseminar led by Brendon Burchard that happens tomorrow, Wednesday, on the topic of product creation. He’s going to be grilling two guys who have been behind some multi-million-dollar product launches about how to create and package high-value content, and how to market it in a way that generates excitement just like Apple. Register now!