• Curt Mercadante

Want to get paid to write or speak?

You want to be a speaker? Speak.

You want to be a writer? Write.

"Well, that's easy for you to say, Curt."

Actually, it's no easier for me to say than for you to do.

“I used to tell interviewers that I wrote every day except for Christmas, the Fourth of July, and my birthday," said bestselling author Stephen King. "That was a lie. I told them that because if you agree to an interview you have to say something, and it plays better if it’s something at least half-clever. The truth is that when I’m writing, I write every day...That includes Christmas, the Fourth, and my birthday (at my age you try to ignore your goddam birthday anyway)."

When you give yourself over to the process, you cease being paralyzed by the obsession with the result.

When you try to write with the expectation of writing a bestseller every time your fingers hit the computer keys, you get "writer's block."

What about speaking?

Clients often ask me how they can "get more speaking gigs."

My simple answer: "Start giving speeches."

Rather than spend your time simply polishing your bullet points on that speakers "hub" Web site, or attending those confabs with other speakers (who are all competing for the same speaking gigs), just go out and start giving speeches.

Speak often.

Speak for no fee (at first).

Record your speeches.

Share them with potential new speaking clients.

Several years ago, I began looking for speaking gigs. I spoke for no fee at LinkedInLocal events. I spoke for no fee at DisruptHR. I spoke for free at a local Rotary Club.

Those speeches were recorded. People took photos of me speaking. Those videos and photos were shared online.

Then I began reaching out to potential speaking clients, knowing I had a body of videos and photos to share.

What happened? I began getting paid to speak.

Before COVID. During COVID.

As Lao-Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

If you want to be a writer, take a first step by writing today. Then continue to take those steps every day.

If you want to be a speaker, take a first step by volunteering to speak somewhere. Then continue to take those steps every day.

While you're busy thinking and strategizing and focusing on how you can get that "credential" before people will buy your books or hire you to speak...

Your potential clients are out there paying others who just decided to write and speak.

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