As an inventor who has been through the entire process of inventing a product and getting it on the market, I think the best education for future inventors and entrepreneurs is watching Shark Tank. I love the fact that the sharks are all bootstrapping entrepreneurs, so they have already been through the learning curve.
I’ve put together 5 pieces of valuable business advice from Mark Cuban that could also help you as a speaker. Because these days, if you’re not an entrepreneur as a speaker, making a living at it will be tough.
- Don’t be afraid of failure – Speaking is a performing art. It’s not something you can learn by reading a book. You simply have to get out there and do it. To become good at it you need to constantly be doing it. And in the beginning you probably won’t be very good at it. But by taping every performance and getting feedback you learn how to improve. If you’re afraid of failing you’ll never even take that first step.
- Work harder than everyone else – This is one of Cuban’s biggest tips for entrepreneurs who want to become successful. As a speaker no one is going to do it for you. Not an agent, not a speaker bureau, not a manager, no one. Being on the other side and working with speakers and artists, this is the one thing I see all the time. Most speakers and artists want someone to get them the paid jobs so that they can focus on the creative side. If you happen to be lucky enough to have someone to do that for you, great! But that’s not the way it works for most speakers and artists. Which brings me to my next point.
- Learn how to sell – Cuban first learned to sell as a 12 year old when he asked his dad for money to buy new shoes. His dad said if he wanted them he would have to work for them. So at 12 he got his first job selling garbage bags door to door. He learned how to connect with people and solve their problems, so it would be a win-win for everyone. If you know how to sell, you can do anything. As Cuban says “every no gets you closer to a yes”. That’s the way it is with speaking and also with sponsorship. It’s simply a numbers game, so get used to selling and learn to love it.
- Love what you do – If you love what you do, selling should be easy. I’ve never been able to sell anything I didn’t like or believe in. I know what you’re thinking. “I love speaking, but I hate selling”. Well, if you really believe you have a message that needs to be heard and you have proven that it’s valuable to other people, then just think of it as communicating your passion to someone else. Which leads me to my last point.
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – A meeting planner’s job can be stressful, and they are usually having to please everyone, sometimes on a limited budget. Put yourself in that person’s shoes and think about how you could help them. Find out what they need and offer to lend your support in the best way possible.
Today, being an entrepreneurial speaker is a necessity. But if you follow Mark Cuban’s advice, you’ll see that opportunities to make money as a speaker are everywhere.