Are you a patchwork professional.?

You might be … if you believe investing in any single career could be a hazard to your economic health.
Nancy Shenker, CEO of the ON Switch, was interviewed by and offered this prediction:

Due to continued economic uncertainty, distrust of big companies and a desire for a better work/life balance, people will increasingly opt to work several jobs at the same time as well as serially, giving rise to what [Shenker] calls the “Patchwork Professional.” Because workers have a “safety net” with multiple income streams and expanded skill sets, this approach enables individuals to avoid being left out of the workforce if they lose a job.
I was fortunate to have a “safety net” a few years ago, when I was newly divorced and staring at over $12,000 in credit-card debt. Thankfully, I had stitched together a career that included not only my day job but also a side gig doing paid speaking engagements. My personal patchwork allowed me to climb out of debt. I also got to do some pretty cool things along the way.
Writing a book is just one of them.
Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012 (or, as the gods would have it, in early 2013).
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

Three Ways To Build A Speaking Website

When I graduated college in the 1990s, the web was a new shiny object. I wrote an article for the daily newspaper where I worked about how businesses were starting to use the web to increase sales and lower costs … and it actually won a journalism award. One guy I interviewed for the article said he thought the web held potential, but he was sticking with CD-ROMs for the time being because they were much faster.

Back then, there weren’t many ways to make a website. You had to know somebody who was technical. Many major companies had no web presence—they were satisfied instructing customers to search for their keywords on AOL. When you did find someone who could build a site, it had to be coded from scratch, often for tens of thousands of dollars.
Today you can still pay an awful lot of money to get a customized website … but there are also many other options that speakers on the side can choose. Here are a few of them:

  • Make your website a blog. When is a blog not a blog? When it’s a website, of course. The software that lets you create blog entries on WordPress, Typepad, and Blogger can also be used to build “pages” for your speaking business. For example, I created a small site on to promote my consulting offerings, and simply disabled the blog part.
  • Get a site from your web hosting company. It’s easy to see why GoDaddy would sell website design services: The more web domains you own, the more money they make! When you add a web domain to your GoDaddy shopping cart, you can also add a template site that will live at your new domain.
  • Just point everyone to your social profiles. I’m guessing that most of you have profiles on the major social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social aggregation sites, such as, are guessing this too. On Flavors you can set up a simple, graphical profile page for free (mine is at and link it to all your social profiles. No need to build any websites of your own.

There are plenty of other inexpensive ways to create a speaking website—and grow traffic there—which I’m looking forward to sharing with you in Speaking On The Side. Stay tuned!
Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012.
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

Speaking On The Side? Tell Your Boss!

If you hold a traditional day job with a salary, a boss, and an HR department, you’re probably going to need permission from someone to do speaking on the side. For some of you, this will be quite simple. For others, it’s going to take some negotiation. But it’s not going to stop you. Whether you work for a small company or a huge corporation, whether your boss is tyrannical or easygoing, the only person who can ultimately stop you is you.
Mean boss
One of my first paid speaking gigs couldn’t have come at a worse time for my employer. At the time, I was managing the design of a large website for a very prickly client. The site’s launch was literally a week away. And I was the only one at the company who knew all of the project specifics. Ugh.
Although my president knew ahead of time that I would be away for a couple of days, he wasn’t happy. It wasn’t so much that I was going—of course the timing played a role. But I also think he felt like I was choosing my own opportunity over his business.
Emotions like these do occur, especially at smaller companies. Since I only had one paid speaking gig to my credit when I took that job, I didn’t set up an agreement with my president about future speaking gigs. There was no clear understanding on the table, which gave rise to suspicion and maybe even some hurt. (In case you were wondering, the website launch turned out fine.)
Bottom line: You need to have a discussion with your supervisor and/or HR department before you start landing gigs.
If you’ve done some speaking on the side in the past and then move to a new company, have this discussion as part of salary negotiation.
Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012.
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

Why lots of Millennials will end up speaking on the side

I just read an intriguing article in Forbes that explains how Millennials (aka Gen Y) are redefining their careers to include multiple jobs at once. These “sidepreneurs”–coined by MTV/Viacom–are not defining themselves as having one job or one employer. Corporations, the article notes, are recognizing that they need to adapt to this evolved career path.
Ross Martin, who heads Viacom’s in-house creative agency focused on Millennials, tells Forbes that employers need to see multi-careerism as an opportunity, not as competition. This just makes sense to me because Millennials aren’t going away. According to the Young Entrepreneur Council, they will comprise more than one-third of the US workforce by 2014.
I think it’s clear that speaking on the side will become one of the major career paths pursued by Millennial “sidepreneurs” (I love that term). Here’s why:

  • Teachable skills are emerging earlier in careers. Once, it took a decade or more for you to accumulate enough expertise that people might find you credible as a speaker. Now, cultural and technological shifts have sped up. There are 21-year-olds who know more about online marketing, for example, than most Fortune 100 CMOs. Millennials can train and educate older audiences with surprising credibility.
  • The Great Recession will yield inspiring stories. Great speaking is nothing more than good storytelling, plus a few action items for good measure. When the Class of ’94 graduated college, most of us zipped right into one of the fastest-growing economic periods in our nation’s history. Today’s graduates are going to struggle … and their struggles will serve as great storytelling fodder to inspire future audiences.
  • They’re a highly optimistic generation. In the darkest days of the recession, a Pew Research Center study found that 88% of Millennials felt they would earn enough in the future–despite only 31% saying they earned enough at the time of the study in late 2009. Millennials are almost hard-wired to see themselves as being successful, which will make them particularly motivating trainers and speakers on the side.

Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012.
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

How to make very little money as a paid speaker

Early in my speaking practice, I was able to land several gigs per year at fees of $750-$1500 per gig. This seemed like a good range. Of course, I was wrong. But I didn’t know that yet.
One day, I had some down time, and out of curiosity I tried to figure out how much I was making per hour as a speaker. I had a hunch that all of the custom work I put into each and every gig—which ate significantly into my personal time—wasn’t being compensated fairly. I was thinking it might be time to raise my fees and turn down lower-paying gigs, but I wanted to be doubly sure that my hunch was accurate. So, here were my calculations from that exercise:

Item Avg. Hours Per Gig
Research/Brainstorming 10-15
Writing/Editing Powerpoint Slides 15-20
Practicing; Writing Notes 5-10
Compiling Handouts 4-6
Traveling Time To & From Gig 10-15
Speaking 1-2
Down Time in Hotel, Airport, etc. 8-10
TOTAL 53-78

Now, if you take the median of about 65 hours worked per gig, and divide into the $750 I was paid to speak at one of my first conferences, my hourly rate was:
$11.53 per hour.
That was one of my first epiphanies while speaking on the side: I was earning the same wage speaking that other people were earning on the retail floor at Target. And they never had to set foot in an airport.
Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012.
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

Four reasons why speaking on the side is cool

If you’ve been thinking for a while about doing this, and you need a little more inspiration, I created a list of reasons why speaking on the side is cool. (These apply whether or not you’re paid to speak, by the way.) Here are four of them:

  • Chicago, Seattle, and the great state of Texas. I actually wrote all of these destinations down on a “bucket list” I made about 15 years ago. Thanks to my speaking practice, I’ve visited them all.
  • Frequent flier miles. I flew with my kids to Florida for free, thanks to Continental OnePass and a few thousand miles’ worth of speaking gigs.
  • My LinkedIn network is a lot bigger. By speaking on the side, I’ve met some really great people. I’ve built relationships with influentials in many different industries, and you never know when you’ll need to tap into your network.
  • The money. Look, if your credit card is maxed out and asking for a raise is out of the question, or if your company is struggling, this is one way to take back some control of your financial situation.

Why would speaking on the side be cool for you?

Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012.
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

What’s your “extra” egg?

Want to really learn who you are? My suggestion: Pile up $12,367 worth of debt on a credit card with a $12,500 limit.
This happened to me a few years ago. I was recently divorced, still reeling from the financial shock of attorney fees and extra bills. Then the Great Recession took root. Kind of a financial low point for me.

Fortunately, I learned a lesson:
Never put all of your income-producing eggs in one basket.
Life is extraordinary … and wildly unpredictable. Anything can happen. And so it’s up to you to take over control of your financial future. You can’t rely on one company or one boss anymore. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can’t rely on one client or one industry anymore. You can’t invest in one stock anymore, like our parents and grandparents did. And you certainly can’t bank on getting Social Security when you retire—it’s headed for insolvency.
Instead, you must have a balanced portfolio. A couple of baskets, each with a different type of income-producing egg inside. Of course, one of those eggs could be really big. I’m not saying to quit your job. But should your big egg ever tumble out of its basket and make a mess on the floor, you will have one or two extra eggs to nourish you while you clean up the pieces.

For me, the extra egg was speaking. What’s your extra egg?

Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012.
Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

Coming in 2012

Speaking On The Side, The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, is coming in 2012. Send an e-mail to reserve your copy today.

They’re all around us: in business, medicine, law, fundraising, education, marketing, finance, and many other disciplines. Trends suggest their numbers will climb. Who are they? Trainers, presenters, workshop leaders, and speakers … on the side. They do not earn a living from speaking. They earn a better living. In some cases, they earn a much better living. And they don’t need speaker’s bureaus, “connections,” or a stint as New York’s mayor to do it.
If you’ve ever wanted to make a million dollars as a public speaker, this is not the right book for you.
If you’d rather discover the ins and outs of creating a steady revenue stream through paid speaking,

send an e-mail to reserve your copy of Speaking On The Side today.


Notice: Undefined variable: current_layout in /home/jeffgreene/public_html/wp-content/themes/speaking/sidebar.php on line 13