What the Top 1% Do Differently

Most of my time is spent working with established speakers — usually booking them for our speakers bureau clients or consulting with them about effective marketing strategies — but through the years, I’ve also been honored to have hundreds of aspiring or emerging speakers contact me and ask me how to get started as a speaker. Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to offer much help, but I’m currently writing an e-book to compile my best tips and advice on building a successful speaking business. Below is a rough excerpt from that e-book which contains my #1 piece of advice for those who are launching a speaking business (and it’s not a bad reminder if you’re an established speaker!).

When you ask some people about the key to building a successful speaking business, they’ll tell you…

You need to be a great speaker. Pursue the craft of speaking. Hone your talent.


Being a great speaker has as much to do with building a successful speaking business as being a great writer has to do with publishing a best-selling book… or as being a brilliant musical talent has to do with being a successful recording artist. (Believe me, there is some amazing talent here in Nashville that you’ll never know.)

Now, don’t hear me wrong.

To succeed as a speaker, yes, talent is important. Skill is important. Content is important. You should work at polishing every one of them.

Do you know the difference between the world’s most successful speakers and those who struggle endlessly, though?

Smart business strategy.

That’s why this e-book is titled How to Build a Thriving Speaking Business* and not How to Become a Professional Speaker.

While you may think, “I want to become a professional speaker,” I’m betting that’s not what you really want. “Professional speaker” is a career. A job. And if that’s your goal, you’re selling yourself short.

A career won’t give you the lifestyle you dream of. A career won’t allow you to have the impact you dream of. And…

You can’t sell a career. (Think long-term here: What are you going to do when your speaking days are over? Sure, you can invest wisely through the years and then just close your calendar one day and ride off into the sunset. But, with just a slight shift in mindset and strategy, wouldn’t you rather be able to one day sell a multi-million dollar enterprise, or pass it on to your children?)

When you say you want to become a professional speaker, I’m betting that what you really want to do is own a speaking business. (Or if not, save yourself some time and stop reading this!)

There is a difference between the two.

The top 1% of speakers realize they are more than just speakers.

Those who are in the top 1% see themselves as content creators… and speaking just happens to be one way to deliver content.

If you’ve got something valuable, something powerful, to share, don’t you want to reach as many people as possible?

You should. There’s a limit to how many people you can reach as a speaker, though — you can only speak to so many audiences in a year, and you can (and will want to) only speak for so many years of your life.

So, if you’d like to join the ranks of the top 1% of speakers — or at least move in their direction — you must first see yourself as a content creator, and then think about how you can build a business around your content.

Doing so is the difference between struggling and succeeding.

Would you like to know when the e-book is published? Just sign in below and I’ll keep you posted!

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One Comment on “What the Top 1% Do Differently

[…] recall that I identified being a “content creator” as one of the key qualities of the top 1% of speakers last […]

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