BY TJ Walker
Many people who want to “follow their dream” never find a way of making money or they have too many ways of making money. You can spin yourself into an early grave chasing $9.95 by selling a PDF of your book, or trying to get people to join a membership to your web site for $39 a month. Those might be nice extras, but they won’t pay your bills, they won’t sustain you, they won’t make what you are doing REAL.
A lot of books are written about how to be a professional speaker, but it’s not about being a speaker for most people. Many people chase the dream of making $30,000 giving a one-hour keynote speech and they don’t realize that they spend 1000 hours trying to get that speaking gig, so they are only making $30 an hour. That’s better than shining shoes, but not by much.
They key thing is to find that one thing you do well, and that you have a passion for, and then to find the form and size and delivery mode where people pay the most for it. As much as I love giving speeches and being a commentator on TV and radio, I have made most of my money selling a one day, 8 hour, media and presentation training workshop for a fairly large amount of money. When I started my practice it was $3500 a day, then quickly to $5000, then $7500 and now sometimes $10,000 a day. If I’d just chased my dreams of being a platform keynote speaker or a TV commentator, I’d still be living in a rat-filled commune near Harlem.
If you don’t find that one thing you do well that is also rewarded by the market place, it won’t matter if you work 23.5 hours a day on websites, social media, blogging, writing books, giving presentations, attending networking events and creating podcasts. You will fail, not just monetarily but in other ways. You won’t be reaching people in a meaningful way. After awhile, your “mission” or your passion will feel like just a silly personal indulgence.
Smart, creative people are often good at doing many things. You may very well be able to do many things well, but I can virtually guarantee you that you aren’t able to market yourself well doing many things. Instead, market one thing you do well and make sure you become successful doing that. Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern both have had successful books, TV shows, ties, special events, live appearances and Howard’s even had a movie. But both of them focused on doing one thing well for years and years and years before they ever did any of those other things—they both focused every waking moment on doing a good 3-4 hour radio show a day. In fact with all of their successes, they both still spend most of their energies on that ONE Thing.
What is your ONE thing that people LOVE and are willing to PAY for? If you don’t know, focus all of your energies on finding out what it is. And stop doing everything else!