Aspiring motivational speakers usually have a bank of knowledge as part of their preparation to fulfill their goals, most of which consist of skills and stories learned from experiences. However, there are also a lot of lessons that they learn the hard way. For some, it is already too late.
We want to prepare for the tough lessons this early. Here are five of them.
1. Sounding like a preacher can hurt your career:
A preacher and a motivational speaker are essentially the same. Usually, they also speak in the same way and tackle many similar topics. But why do you have to avoid sounding like a preacher.
The latter tackles the spiritual aspect of life. While taking this route may breed inspiration, it can also make a lot of people alienated for the simple reason that their spiritual life is not always involved in their everyday life. Furthermore, spirituality is always placed in the highest order of realization, which may be too soon for a lot of people who are just starting to understand what they need in life.
The legendary Zig Ziglar used to discuss Christian values. However, he was able to avoid the label by combining business matters with spiritual teachings. His audience could choose a predilection that suited their beliefs better.
2. Motivational speaking can end up in financial trouble:
Tony Robbins may be a millionaire, which can be said to a dozen more motivational speakers today, but what you do not see are the failures that have already put more aspiring speakers in the brink of bankruptcy. Yes, there are more failed attempts than the successful ones. The only reason why success is overrated is because the media always love something inspiring.
We are not saying that you are likely to experience financial trouble, but never rule it out as the early stage of motivational speaking can be really expensive especially for someone with no wide industry connection and no extensive experience in free marketing. Do not be blinded by the successes of your predecessors because your venture in this industry is no different from a startup business that may earn or lose you money.
While starting out, you have to think about where to get your resources for your research, marketing strategies, styling, personality development, and event management (because sponsors are scarce during the earlier stages of your career).
3. The audience do not care:
There should be a compelling reason for people to care and be willing to pay at the same time. Unfortunately for you, there are a lot of free sources where they can get inspiration and motivation from. They can go to church for a sermon as inspiring and enlightening as yours. They can read inspiring stories online, such as the free version of the Chicken Soup series. They can watch at home and find motivation from the people around them. So, why should they care about you?
Do not expect to have the people’s support right away. You are not the first motivational speaker to be ignored, so do not take it against your audience. What you should do is give people something new—something interesting without obliging them to adopt your beliefs and principles right away.
4. There is no such thing as a full-time motivational speaker:
Believe us when we say that motivational speaking is never a full-time job. It can be a lucrative profession, but motivational speakers normally need other sources of income to maintain this profession. It may take a year before you start earning ample amount to cover your expenses and another year before you start earning more than what you are spending. Hence, not having other sources of income can put you in great financial trouble.
Even after you start reaping the benefits of your hard work, you may still have to branch out into other professions to maintain your status. Most successful motivational speakers are also writers and private counselors. Many of them are also the boss of their own company, like in the case of Robert Kiyosaki who currently runs Cashflow Technologies, Inc. and Rich Dad Company.
Be prepared to venture into other media and learn more skills. You will need them regardless if you succeed quickly or struggle at the beginning.
5. Practice does not always make perfect:
It is probably true for singing and dancing, but definitely not for motivational speaking. Motivational speakers need an infectious personality, empathy, and charisma—all of which cannot be developed through practice alone. Perfecting your oral skills is just the easier part.
Developing the right mix of personality, emotional quotient, and charm takes time and it always starts with your mindset. Motivate yourself to learn and relearn a lot of things before you try to motivational other people.