By Richard Mulvey
Phew! The end of another busy year.
I don’t know about you but I have had a tough year, I seem to be working harder for every buck I make. I feel like the guy in the picture.
The industry has changed and we have to change with it. In 2007 I was doing 3 or 4 keynotes a month, in 2013 I have done 4 in total. I am doing the same number of public training courses that I was doing in 2007 but the average number of delegates on each course has fallen by 50%. That means I am working just as hard for half the fee. I stopped doing the half day seminars around the country in 2009. Doing 5 towns a month with 2 sessions in each town was very demanding and my health was suffering. At the same time the audiences were declining so it was an easy decision to stop.
In-house training has kept alive I am pleased to say, but DVD sales are slowly declining. (This is an international trend).
Travelling around the country chatting to other speakers I find that I am not alone in this. The industry is dramatically changing and we will have to change with it or learn how to be poor.
It is not all bad news however. There are speakers out there who are still making a good living out of the keynote industry so if that is the way you want to go there is still a market for you if you are an excellent speaker with a great message. If you are an excellent speaker with an ordinary message, however, don’t give up your day job. Content is King now and will be more so in the future.
Industry the world over has become much more cost conscious. That doesn’t mean our fees have come down, rather that the clients want a lot more for their money. Gone are the days where a company would have a 3 day convention just because they always have a convention, and fill the time with speakers giving the same message over and over again. Now they want to see measurable results and we have to deliver if we want our fee. Your content has to be specific to the audience with an outcome that has true value
There will always be a need for training but that doesn’t mean we can sit back and wait for the business. Training needs are changing and we have to keep up. I still believe that there is a real need for face to face training with a trainer and delegates in the same room (and so do my clients fortunately). But there is a growing demand for off site training through the internet. In the past e-learning was very academic and satisfied only the left brained learner. Those of us in training realise that our competition is the growing number of websites selling very good and really inexpensive interactive training. Udemy is the largest but there are many others out there. I have been recording all my public training sessions for the last few months and I will spend the quiet time in December editing those to run on Udemy. The fee per head for the training is a tenth of what I would be charging for live training but the numbers should be much higher (with a bit of luck).
I mentioned earlier that DVD sales are declining but my agent in Dubai has solved this problem by converting all my DVDs into internet training and Apps. I have no idea how the Apps will work and I am delighted that he is making that investment and not me. My agent in London who covers all my European DVD sales has also commented that there is a decline in the market, so a product that I thought would provide a healthy passive income in the future (my DVDs) seems also to have a shelf life. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
I love this industry. I love the people in it, most of them anyway, and I love the work I do. The truth of the matter is if we want to stay in the industry we have to adapt to the changing requirements of the audience, both real and virtual.
It is December now and traditionally most of us go into quiet time. I hope you have a well deserved break, put your feet up…. for about 10 minutes. Then have another look at your business model. Is it appropriate for the coming year? Have you taken into account the changing needs of your target market? Will you be ahead of the game or will you join the growing number of speakers who have had to get a proper job to pay the school fees?
You can find more on Richard Mulvey‘s site. Richard is a past President of the PSASA and the host of The Power Series.
By Richard Mulvey