How to Quit Your Job And Become A Full-Time Speaker: A Step-by-Step Guide

Many of us dream of breaking free from the confines of our 9-to-5 jobs and pursuing our passions. I spent five years in corporate America and learned some valuable skills but knew that I was meant for something more. Each day that I would show up at the cubicle to clock in at my job was another day that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. 

If you’re passionate about sharing your knowledge, inspiring others, and making a living from public speaking, then quitting your full-time job to become a full-time speaker might be the right path for you when the timing is right. While it’s a bold move, with careful planning and dedication, you can turn your dream into a reality. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps to make the transition smoothly and successfully.

Step 1: Define Your Niche and Expertise

Before you can embark on a career as a full-time speaker, you need to identify your niche and area of expertise. What knowledge or experiences do you have that can provide value to others? Are you passionate about leadership, personal development, technology, or any other field? Narrowing down your focus will help you target the right audience and establish yourself as an authority in your chosen niche. By defining your niche, you can choose what problem you solve for people.

Step 2: Get Reps (For Free)

First, you will have to speak for free. Unless you are a celebrity, you must start by first speaking for free. I have talked with many speakers who said that they gave 20 or more free talks before they ever collected a paycheck. These days with social media, I don’t believe it takes 20 talks to get to your first paid gig, but you will have to initially do a few for free to get experience, receive testimonials, and have pictures of you speaking. 

These initial free talks you give, provides a great testing ground for your content and message. Take the feedback you get during these first few talks very seriously. 

Step 3: Create Compelling Content

As a full-time speaker, your content is your product. Develop a portfolio of captivating speeches, workshops, and presentations. Craft engaging stories, use visuals effectively, and provide actionable takeaways for your audience. Your content should not only educate but also inspire and entertain.

Step 4: Establish an Online Presence

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any career, including public speaking. Create a professional website that showcases your expertise, highlights your speaking engagements, and provides a way for potential clients to contact you. Utilize social media platforms to connect with your audience and share valuable content regularly.

Step 5: Network and Build Relationships

Networking is a key component of a successful speaking career. Attend industry events, conferences, and seminars to connect with other speakers, event organizers, and potential clients. Building relationships can lead to speaking opportunities and collaborations that can help you grow your career.

Step 6: Start Small and Gain Experience

Begin your speaking career by accepting smaller speaking engagements, such as local workshops, webinars, or panel discussions. These opportunities will allow you to gain valuable experience, build your reputation, and refine your presentation skills. Over time, you can aim for larger events and higher-paying gigs. When I first started speaking, I was able to find multiple places within my town that I could speak at for free. There are opportunities right in front of you, but you have to be willing to pursue those initial opportunities and put yourself out there.

Step 7: Plan Your Finances

Transitioning from a full-time job to a full-time speaking career can be financially challenging, especially in the early stages. Create a financial plan that includes a budget, savings, and a backup plan in case speaking opportunities are slow to come in. Consider part-time work or freelance gigs to supplement your income as you build your speaking career. It took me four years of speaking as a side hustle before I was ready to make the full leap. 

Step 8: Market Yourself

Invest time in marketing yourself as a speaker. Create a compelling speaker’s kit that includes your bio, headshots, testimonials, and a list of topics you can speak on. At Speaker School, we create these assets for you and help you organize your speaking business. Successful speakers that we see come through our Speaker School program are ones that view their speaking as a business rather than just a hobby. The more proactive you are in marketing yourself, the faster you’ll build your speaking career.

Step 9: Seek Mentorship and Guidance

Consider finding a mentor or coach who has experience in the speaking industry. They can provide valuable insights, offer guidance, and help you navigate the challenges of becoming a full-time speaker. Learning from someone who has been where you are can be immensely beneficial. That is why I created Speaker School. Our team has a wealth of knowledge in the speaking industry and we want to transfer that knowledge to you so you can build and scale your speaking business.

Step 10: Stay Committed and Persevere

Becoming a full-time speaker is a journey that requires dedication and perseverance. There will be ups and downs along the way, but if you remain committed to your passion and continually work on improving your skills, you can turn your dream into a fulfilling career. Remember that success may not come overnight, but with persistence, you can turn your passion for speaking into a thriving profession.

Interested in learning more about Speaker School?

Alex Demczak started Speaker School to help individuals launch and scale their speaking business. Alex previously worked in corporate sales for five years. On December 21st, 2021, Alex quit his full-time job to pursue his speaking business full-time. Alex now performs around 50 speaking engagements per year to audiences across the country. Alex and his team at Speaker School are on a mission to empower others to do the same.