How to Turn Your Dream of Becoming a Speaker into a Workable Plan
As a coach, it can be difficult to watch the lack of progress of so many promising speakers. They’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, all they do is dream.
You know the people I’m talking about. They attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, they fail to make any progress toward their dreams.
Are they just lazy? No. It’s something worse. They don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan and they’re stuck. I know because I have been there.
Start With the Long-Term
If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, (yes, speaking is a business) this might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.
Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:
-Enough income to cover travel costs
-Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
-A staff who can manage the business while you’re away
With this list, you can then work backwards from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:
Year 1: $70,000
Year 2: $85,000
Year 3: $105,000
Year 4: $125,000
Year 5: $150,000
With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Create Small Goals
If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish!
You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week.
Money May Not Be the Goal
You also need to take into consideration whether or not money is the goal of doing what you’re doing. If not, what is it?
For me, mine is a “lifestyle” goal. I can live with a lot less money and be happy compared to working my self to death to be “successful” by other people’s standards.
Here’s some examples:
-Being able to take my kid’s to school or attend their games, school functions, etc., more times than not.
-Work from home when I’m able
-Work from anywhere-including vacation or my kids’ ball field.
-Take my kids’ or my spouse with me on the road
-Live by my “happiness factor”. If my job as a speaker is constantly stressing me out or making me unhappy, I won’t continue. I consistently check in to see if I’m happy doing what I’m doing. If not, then I look at what parts need to change and either educate myself to make it easier, adjust what it is that I’m doing, or I consider getting a “real job”. Life’s to short to constantly be unhappy.
How to Make the Plan
Ask yourself these questions:
What is it that I want when it comes to being a speaker? (Be specific)
Is it realistic?
Do I have the knowledge, talent, drive, time or means? If not, do I know how or where to get it?
What tangible steps can I begin scheduling in now?
Then create your 1, 3, 5 year plan. BUT
In order to keep yourself on track AND keep yourself from becoming miserable:
This doesn’t mean you have to hire a coach or buy more programs. This means involving REAL people in your life who know what they are doing. Some people or places to consider:
-National Speaker’s Association local chapter
-Any business person who is currently accomplishing all or part of the goals you have listed above. I like to surround myself with people who are better than me at what they do. This inspires me, motivates me and educates me.
One of your first tangible goals is to get with someone, pay for their coffee, lunch, etc., and ask for advice in accomplishing your plan. Do this regularly.
At some point, you may want to pay someone such as a businesses coach, if you are gaining traction in your speaking business.
One of the Most Important Tips: Let Go of Your Plan
Plans fail. Life happens. Be flexible. How often have you been driving somewhere to find out there’s an accident ahead, a road closed, or construction. You adjust and keep going.
If you consistently look at your 1, 3, 5 year goals and it is not going as “planned”, simply make adjustments. Getting frustrated, miserable and unhappy is not going to help. Don’t let your plan become a negative four letter word! Keep an open mind, as sometimes you may not get to your destination as quickly as you had hoped, but you got to take the scenic route. This is a positive in the long run.
-Make a Plan
-Work the Plan
-Adjust the Plan
-Work the Plan
-Live Out the Plan
-Let Go of the Plan if You Need to
Only you know the life that you want to lead. A life that is meaningful, and has the power to make you happy, is solely defined by who you are as an individual. Your GOALS, your talent, your values, etc. Anyone can exist, but it takes work AND a plan, to make it meaningful.
This is your one and only life. Live it well.
Stacy Pederson is out adjusting her plan to include more caffeine at the moment. You can learn more about her, including her speech coaching and funny speaking at StacyPederson.com.