If there is a speaking topic out there, it’s a pretty good bet that someone, somewhere is making money speaking about it. Some speakers have a unique background in the topic or work in a particular industry, and some choose the topic based on a burning passion to learn more about it and share that knowledge with others.

Here are three speakers with niche speaking topics who have made a career out of a passion:

Tom Ingrassia – Motown

Tom is an example of a speaker who took a passion and turned it into a book and speaking career. He’d had a long, successful career in education, but in 2001 he decided to act on a lifelong dream of working in the entertainment industry.

Tom is an accomplished music journalist, with more than 25 articles printed in publications ranging from Billboard, Record Auction Monthly, and San Francisco Hot Ticket. He collaborated with Barbara Alston (of The Crystals) on her autobiography, “There’s No Other,” and Carl Gardner’s (of The Coasters) autobiography, “Yakey Yak, I Fought Back” before writing his own book “Reflections of a Love Supreme: Motown Through The Eyes of Fans”. Tom is also the host of  “The Motown Jukebox” on WCUW 91.3FM, in Worcester, MA.

His pop culture programs, “Motown and The Civil Rights Movement” and “Girl Power: The Supremes As Cultural Icons” have been presented at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity, on college campuses, for performing arts centers, museums, senior centers, libraries, and business groups.

http://www.ingrassiaproductions.com/

 

John Granger – Harry Potter

John Granger is another speaker who turned a passion into a writing and speaking career. According to John, he became a Potter Pundit in response to the ‘Potter Panic’ of 1999-2007, during which it was widely believed that the popular series was “the gateway to the occult” and poorly written. His books and talks have overturned this narrative — and have earned him the title “the Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” from TIME magazine.

John is the author of several books on the subject of Harry Potter including “How Harry Cast His Spell: The Meaning Behind the Mania for J. K. Rowling’s Bestselling Books” and “Harry Potter Smart Talk”.

His speech “Why we Love the Harry Potter  Stories — Exploration of the Artistry and Meaning of Joanne Rowling’s Hogwarts Saga” has been given at universities, academic and fan conferences, and churches.

http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/johngranger/

 

Julianne Soviero – Sports Scholarships

If you read through Julianne’s website you will see that she is absolutely obsessed with pitching. In fact she says so on the first page! And she has the credentials to back it up. She was an All-County Athlete, the recipient of a Division I athletic scholarship, and an academic All-American.  She has over twenty years experience pitching and over fifteen years of experience teaching pitching.

She speaks on the topic of sports scholarships, which is a surprisingly complex topic and is usually hired by travel teams. She’s even written a book on the subject called “Empowered Recruiting”. She says she got started on this topic because of working with female pitchers, many of whom earned scholarships in an increasingly complex market.

http://www.flawlessfastpitch.com

 

These speakers have turned their passion into a lucrative speaking career in a specialized niche. Do you speak on a niche topic?

 

 

If you’re working as a speaker, you must be an expert at something. But what makes someone an expert? Does writing a book make you an expert? I could write a book about scuba diving. In fact, I could write a whole series of books about scuba diving, but it’ll never make me an expert.

sexpert speaker

expert speaker

I have a crazy theory that you should have actually put in a certain number of years into practice that which you claim to be an expert in. My doctor’s been practicing medicine for 30 years, but he’s never written a book. I would call him an expert.

But I’m not the one who makes the decision to hire speakers, and having a book and being high profile does appeal to plenty of meeting planners. Of course, if you have the experience and a book and you’ve gotten a lot of press, you are way ahead of the game. (more…)