Are You Stuck in Your Business Model?

iStock_000005304585XSmallBack in 1992 when I entered the speaking business, things felt much less complicated.

I worked with a speaker who was a leadership expert.  We worked the ‘call-send-call’ process to book speeches and workshops.  And she had a book which we used to leverage her expertise.

We didn’t offer consulting, teleseminars, membership clubs, webinars or podcasts.  There was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter, Technorati, Digg or Flickr.  Yet, we doubled our business every year.

I was a bit surprised by the climate at the National Speakers Association conference this year. Several very successful speakers confided in me that they were in transition and were not entirely sure which way to turn.

Business has been down and they haven’t been on the road as much as usual.  That part isn’t a shocker, but they enjoyed being at home so much that they were questioning how much they wanted to speak in the future.

I can totally relate as my coaching has been down these first two quarters and I’m considering taking a sabbatical to see if I miss it.  I can find other ways to deliver my message, building a different and perhaps better business model.

If this sounds familiar to you, perhaps you are stuck in your old model.  So how do you get unstuck?

Let’s say you set out to make keynoting 70% of your revenue, products 20% and consulting 10%. With keynotes down right now, you might want to consider adding something that allows your audiences to hang out with you after the event.

Some will use podcasts, teleclasses or membership clubs to keep their message alive.  So now your model is more balanced and not nearly as dependent on keynotes for survival.

Or perhaps a new product becomes your focus.  In my mind, there is no better feeling than to have an income stream set up that requires 0% of your attention yet brings in a nice revenue.  (If you want to get inspired around this read ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss.

Ask yourself…. ‘how can I deliver my content in a way that no one has thought of yet?’

Speakers who are able to shift and deliver their message using different outlets will ultimately be able to bob and weave with the economy.  They’ll be able to shift their focus towards the new and different learning methods that future customers will demand.

ps:  Are you stuck in an old business model?  If you need help gaining focus, check out my ’40 minute focus’ coaching session at a special price.

  • Jane,

    Sorry I missed you at the NSA Conference – I was hoping to finally meet you. There was definitely a different vibe at this one.

    Anyway, your post here is very relevent not only to speakers but to any business. Many industries are looking at moving out of their comfort zones with new ways of engaging their customers. Banks, for example, are struggling with the reality that fewer and fewer customers actually enter their branches where much of the cross-selling has traditionally taken place. Certainly they’re increasing their electronic channels such as online and mobile banking, but also doing community outreach, free financial seminars for teenagers, Webinars for parents preparing for college expenses, etc. These are all approaches that might not have an immediate payoff, but build personal relationships with customers with an eye toward future value.

    Anyway, your post struck home with me and I appreciate your perspective. Also, I’ve recently hired a sales and marketing person and his first order of business was to absorb your book, The Wealthy Speaker!

  • People also need to update their materials. Because of the web, people can see what you did at your last gig and want to hear something new. They are also tired of rah rah go speeches. People are looking for information they can use, not something to make them feel good.
    Dr. Letitia Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show

  • Jane, Great insight as always. I am finding that being more creative and innovative in my marketing is what’s working these days. Using personalized video in my email and online marketing is helping me really stand out from the masses. People like getting these clips and I always try to include something they can apply immediately. If any of your readers are interested in breaking through the clutter check out this link. (

    Thanks for all you do Jane.
    Kim Jones

  • Excellent site, keep up the good work