I am waiting for my speaker’s agency to find me more speaking gigs, and they are not forthcoming. Of course, this may reflect the market’s assessment of my value as a speaker. And I bow before this assessment.
On the other hand, I used to talk all the time, and sometimes the crowd seemed to love me, especially when I did my mechanical hand trick (eyes right). It rotates all the way around. Kidding, I’m kidding.
So I am thinking about going out on my own. This may be a good idea. It may be a bad idea. I welcome thoughts, suggestions and advice from my readers. As your comments demonstrate, you’re almost always smarter than me.
There are a couple of issues worth thinking through:
1) speaker’s agencies are subject to new competitive pressure. The worst of these is those "conferences" that draw people from industry, pay them nothing but the honor of this 15 minutes of celebrity. These ventures can drop their prices because there costs are so low. And this floods the market with supply.
I like the peer to peer notion that’s happening here. On the whole, it is probably more interesting to listen to your peers than a pompous would-be guru who thinks too well of himself. On the other hand, we might be looking at a race to the commodity basement here and that’s not a market I want any part of.
2) when you are represented by an agency, you stop looking for gigs on your own. You leave it to the professionals. And if they have more potent speakers, they organize the competition arrayed against us.
3) the speaker’s bureau charges a lot. I am happy to work for single digit thousands. They like to charge in the double digits. I am being priced out of my market.
4) on the other hand, the bureau does beat the publicity drum. They are the place that people go to look for candidates. Visibility is everything and this is where it is, er, this is where it’s at.
5) Going on my own would force me to look for myself, and it would allow me to charge less. Is this benefit worth the risk of diminished visibility?
Thoughts and suggestions, and illuminations from your own experience would be appreciated.