Tony Robbins, the American motivational speaker, personal finance instructor and self-help author’s quote “Success is what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want” resonates with the predicaments many practitioners in the speaking business face in their careers.
There are several challenges that motivational speakers face in their trade. One of the hurdles public speakers like Robbins have to endure is that money does not immediately start flowing like other jobs.
This is because the motivational speaking industry can be tough to break into, but once you do, it can be a lucrative business. Therefore, for one to persevere and be successful in this field they need to develop fresh, relevant content that people want to hear, invest a lot of time thinking of delivering the message in a way that will inspire, motivate and captivate audience.
In Botswana, the business of speaking has been gathering pace over the years with Kabelo Brown, a radio and television personality being one of the people who tapped into the opportunities the industry has to offer. In an interview with Business Monitor, Brown highlighted that it was not easy to break into the industry because back then many Batswana did not consider motivational speaking as a business.
“I had a strategy, I started by offering free services as a master of ceremonies (MC) and motivational speaker for quite some time, then people started asking me to commercialise my craft,” he told BusinessMonitor. “I then registered my company and started doing things professionally, that was in 2012.” Trading as Big Talk Communications, Brown’s company offers motivational speaking, team building facilitation, coaching, mentoring, training and development and professional Director of Ceremonies services.
His clientele ranges from individuals, corporate companies, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises as well as parastatals. “Our coaching and facilitation emphasise change transformation through topics like emotional intelligence, effective leadership and high performance, innovation and system dynamics,” explains Brown. “I like to use my story as an example.
There was a time when I weighed 150Kg and managed to focus and lost 30kg in five months.” Brown says unlike most of his competitors in the market, he believes in offering quality service, because once the clients are satisfied they pay more and refer more clients, which boosts his business. In addition he utilises social media, approach potential clients, and hands out flyers to market his products and services. Furthermore, Brown structures his services as per the clients demands. He explained that they cater for all groups and they are always open for negotiations. Public speaking business is currently facing a slump as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected gatherings where motivational speakers ply their trade. Just like any other business, public speaking is one of the enterprises affected by the coronavirus as they have to address audiences mostly at large gatherings, which have been regulated since March 2020 as one of the measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
However, Brown says they are currently working on a strategy that caters for the current situation. “The pandemic is here and no one knows how long it will take for the economy to go back to normal,” admits Brown. “Instead of folding our arms and crying we have decided to come up with a strategy that will enable us to be able to offer our services to our clientele during this difficult times, because our services are needed now, more than ever.”
A number of speakers around the world are regrouping and delivering their services virtually to speak to their clients who have been affected by COVID-19 one way or the other. As post COVID-19 businesses have no boundaries, Brown also has plans to penetrate the regional market and leverage on technology to offer his services through webinars and online conferences.