"How can someone launch out on their own and become an author, consultant, and professional speaker?" (or follow another dream?)
I was asked this question after a keynote presentation at a luncheon meeting of business professionals. My answer of; "get laid off", brought a roar of laughter from the audience. But for me it was the truth.
I was working toward leaving my job as director of marketing for a consulting firm a year later, but the international economic downturn had other plans and my position was eliminated on April 1, 2009. That day I declared I was a full-time professional speaker.
Eighteen months later I am still here.
The key for me was that I was not starting from square one. I was already clear about my desire to speak at conferences, trade shows, company meetings, sales kick-offs and other events. I had written several books, launched a website, wrote a daily blog, and created the Networking Quotient Quiz. Additionally I had already been asked to speak nearly 200 times for companies, law firms, associations, and other groups over the previous decade.
I had a strong network of personal and professional contacts with whom I had created long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. I was not a stranger to people who could hire speakers, or were influencers in the business community. Having a network of people who will give you business, talk up your new venture and refer you to potential clients is paramount to success.
I had created a foundation for the future, even though I was not sure when the future would arrive.
There will be naysayers who try to undermine your path. Many well meaning friends (and some not so well meaning) will question your direction. I suggest you smile and go on about your business. Every successful entrepreneur has had people who were convinced they would fail. If your foundation is strong, it will support your efforts.
If you do fail, pick yourself up and keep going. I have learned more about business in the past eighteen months than I ever learned in my 20-year career. If I choose to work for a company again in the future, my boss will have a much better employee because of my entrepreneurial journey. Thus the adventure of pursuing my dream is both my passion and my education.
My family and my business partner at New Year Publishing have encouraged me and kept me going on those days when the stress and pressure to succeed overwhelmed my focus. If you want to start a business you need a support mechanism and network of people who will keep you on on track. You cannot do it alone. People matter --- never forget that!
A positive attitude, continuous learning, and dedication to the your industry will also be instrumental in your path to success. In my case I have become a advocate of the professional speaking BUSINESS. I am an active member of the National Speaker's Association (locally and nationally), and I coach and encourage others who desire to enter the industry. It is a commitment to your craft (no matter what your industry) that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Getting laid off gave me a push, but it has been working with amazing people and following my heart that has made this a career.
If you are one of those people who have helped me along the way -- THANK YOU!!!
Have A Great Day.