Just Do It When Starting Your Speaking Business with Beth Granger

small child looking at first step of large staircase

When Beth Granger started networking to look for a job 10 years ago, little did she know it would lead to starting her own speaking business. 

When Beth realized her past trainings and talks she had given within the company she worked for were actually skills she could use to start her own business, she realized the difference now would be that you had to let people know what you did. She put in on LinkedIn and all her social media channels. People can’t hire you if they don’t know what you do. What’s one piece of advice Beth would give herself if she could go back 10 years to the beginning? Just do it! 

Other insights in this episode of The Business of Speaking:

  • You probably have more speaking experience than you think 
  • Learn from others and associations (like the National Speakers Association) 
  • You can be shy and still be a speaker
  • Have different verticals for income
  • Experiment – It’s one of the great things about running your own business
  • Understanding your time is an investment
  • Network to build your business

If you have trouble viewing the video, check it out on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and get notified when new shows are added. 

Who is Beth Granger?

Beth Granger is a trainer, consultant, speaker, moderator, emcee, and certified virtual speaker.

She loves helping people who are not comfortable with technology to embrace its power. She works with organizations and individuals who want to grow their business, fill their sales pipeline, and build their professional brand, all using LinkedIn.

Beth helps produce and facilitate engaging and interactive online networking events for American Business Associates and is a host of LinkedIn Local, a series of events designed to let attendees “meet the people behind the profiles.”

Every week, Beth broadcasts on LinkedIn Live to introduce interesting people to her broader network through ½ hour conversations.

You can always find Beth on Linkedin. Other places you can connect with her are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook


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Title card for The Business of Speaking Show with Beth Granger showing small boy looking at first stair of staircase

Below is the full transcript from the show. Please note that there may be some errors as it was auto transcribed using Otter.ai. (referral link that provides us with a 1-month Premium Pass

Tim McDonald 0:01
Well welcome everybody to the business of speaking show. I am your host, Tim McDonald. And today I am joined by one of my friends from that I connected with online. And then in person when I lived in New York for a short time where she still is Beth Granger. How you doing today, Beth?

Beth Granger 0:17
I’m doing well, thanks for inviting me.

Tim McDonald 0:19
Oh, I’m so grateful you’re here with us today. And for everybody that if you’re just tuning in for the first time, the business is speaking show really isn’t the focus on what the speakers talk about onstage. But really their journey on how they got to the stage, and what they’ve learned since they’ve been on the stage. So that, if you’re thinking about getting involved in speaking, are just starting in speaking, or as 2020 has taught us, no matter where you are on the path of a speaker, you never know what to plan for or expect with what happened this year. So it’s really, really for anybody that’s interested in speaking. So with that, Beth, I would love to ask you the first question that I love to ask all of my guests, which is, tell us your story of how you got started in speaking.

Beth Granger 1:10
So it’s funny, I actually looked back to see if I could figure out when my first official speaking gig was. And the funny thing is that I had this head trash as some people would call it. So I started doing some teaching. And then the first time somebody said, Hey, can you come do a talk for us do a speech for us? I said, Oh, I’m not a speaker. So there was some period of time where I was doing a lot of training, training people to use social media and other things like that, that I didn’t think of myself that way. And then I started doing things. I don’t know if it was even consciously where I would moderate a panel, or I’d be on a panel, or the, what I thought was training turned out to be more like a speech for an organization. And then that’s when I consciously said, Well, I want to do more of this, for many reasons, both that it helps bring, bring me clients that it can be something I can get paid for, as well. And I really enjoyed it. Which is funny, because somewhere in my head, I still think I’m shy. And maybe a lot of speakers are are shy, actually. But maybe I’m not. So I would say the first time that I did something that I thought of as speaking as opposed to training was 10 years ago was a conference and I was on a panel. And I loved it. So just sort of happened.

Tim McDonald 2:55
Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. I, you haven’t broken the streak yet. Not one person has said I want to grow up being a speaker. So far, I’m not gonna I’m not gonna jinx it, because I’m sure there is that one person out there that probably has. But I’m kind of curious, you know, did anything change in your thought process of when you were just doing like what you described as like these trainings and educational sessions, versus when you thought of it as being a speaker?

Beth Granger 3:23
I suppose I thought more about the business side of it. So you know, what tools do I need? What skills do I need? How much do I charge? All those kinds of questions? And, those were the main things to start thinking about it more as something that I did not just aside. thing to my basic business, though.

Tim McDonald 3:59
Yeah. And what what, um, I mean, I think this is great, because I think so many people getting started are, you know, like, don’t know where to go don’t know, you know, where they should turn. And so what resources Did you find back when you first started thinking of it as a business that really helped you turn it into a business?

Beth Granger 4:18
Sure. So the biggest one really was National Speakers Association. I happened to go to somebody’s book launch party where I met somebody and we were talking and I guess I’ve said what I was up to, and she said, You have to come. And so I came as a guest. and learned more in that one session that I could possibly implement, and loved the people and the energy in the room, and I’ve been a member ever since. So.

Tim McDonald 4:49
So NSA has definitely been a big resource for you.

Beth Granger 4:54
Absolutely. And then of course, there are a lot of people I didn’t do this Recently, but before way, before I ever thought of doing this, when I, before I had my own business, I looked at a company and they had a Toastmasters chapter at the company. And I did go. And I didn’t progress very far in the speeches because I just, I wasn’t comfortable with it. But I was doing talks or trainings or things within the organization that I wanted to be more comfortable with. So, you know, when you look back, there are times that, that you’ve done things, you know, it could be giving a toast, it could be giving a eulogy could be anything, where you’re speaking in front of a room.

Tim McDonald 5:41
Now, I think that’s a great point. And something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is this whole aspect of, you know, in business and in life, how many times we actually have to talk, but we don’t think of it as giving a talk. It’s just something that we do. And so, I’m, you know, I like to just kind of focus on the business side of, you know, in those early days, do you remember what was like some of the biggest takeaways for you that, you know, you didn’t really think about when it came to speaking and turning it into a business or anything that, you know, really just, you know, you found great value in that you were able to implement and see a big impact from?

Beth Granger 6:26
Well, I mean, there were little things there there. It’s even a matter of telling people that you do it. So if they don’t know that it’s part of what you do, how can they hire you? So adding it to my various social media profiles, talking about the times that I did do it so that other people would, would invite me to speak for their organization? In some cases, I’m a little like the shoemakers, kids, there were things that maybe I should have done, but didn’t. But yeah, all and and the tools, tools of the trade. So for instance, do I have a feedback mechanism? After I give a talk? Do I use slides? Do I not use slides and continual education really, about an experimentation to honestly I mean, look at look at what happened, I’ve always been doing things virtually, because I would do remote training. But there are plenty of speakers right now that with this whole COVID thing. Had to they only fit, you know, keynotes at big events. And so they’ve had to shift what they’ve been doing.

Tim McDonald 7:41
Yeah, no, I know. Well, I know, because we obviously met through social media. And so I know that you’ve been doing live live streaming for a long time. And it was it is something I think and that’s, you know, one of the reasons why I started this whole thing was I started realizing how it was impacting everybody so differently, and businesses were so different, it was fascinating to me to learn, and talk with different speakers. So as you look at your business, you know, today and I, I’ve kind of always preface this, I can’t believe we’re, you know, more than halfway through 2020. Now, but, you know, looking back, maybe before, you know, if, if COVID has affected you this year, you know, looking at your business the last year or two? What, how is your business kind of made up? Like, what role does speaking play in it? And how does it, you know, integrate with the rest of your business?

Beth Granger 8:34
That’s a great question. Um, I don’t know what percent it is. But a huge amount of what of what I do is training, consulting, that type of thing. So, but that is speaking, so whether I’m in front of a room or on the zoom screen, working with people that is speaking, and I’m being paid for it, so it’s business, the more traditional type of speaking where I’m the entertainment at an event or the speaker at an event? I would say that’s less of what I do, but it is a part of it. And what’s wonderful for me, and what’s been very helpful, especially during this time, is that I have those different verticals. So I’m not relying on just one area.

Tim McDonald 9:24
Right? And have you have you looked in, you know, at or evolved into some of your trainings being like, and I don’t I’m, I’m asking because I honestly don’t know. Like, I like either, you know, courses that people can take on, you know, books that you have out any of those types of additional kind of resources that might provide some revenue, even though it might not be the majority of it.

Beth Granger 9:51
Absolutely. I mean, one of the things I love about having my own business is I can be very nimble. If I get an idea I can try it. I can express it. So, last fall, I had a number of people that wanted to work with me one to one, but couldn’t make the investment. So I said, Okay, I’ll do a group. And, you know, a big company would take them two years to put a group together. So So now I do groups. I’m also, building hasn’t been launched yet. I’ll let you know what it is. But I’m building a membership program. And I’m really excited about that. So, yeah, I haven’t written a book, I think if I do ever write a book, it may not have anything to do with what I do for a living and maybe a novel or something. So we’ll see.

Tim McDonald 10:37
Okay. So you bring up an interesting thing about being nimble and being able to test things and try things. And I know from, you know, basically, you know, working for myself for so many years, like you’re you, it’s, you know, one of these things sometimes where even if it might not cost us a major investment, it still cost us a lot of our time, which is an investment. How do you how do you know when you have an idea, because I know we all have plenty of ideas, which ones you are going to move forward with and which ones you’re not?

Beth Granger 11:13
And that is a great question. If I had the answer for that, it would be a wonderful thing. I, I actually recently participated in a brainstorming session, somebody that I know, an amazing sales trainer named Jeff Goldberg, did a brainstorming session with our networking group, to help people come up with a list of things they could do to make money now in this these changed times. And the thing was, I had this list, and some things already were on my list, right things I could possibly do. How do you decide which ones to do? I don’t have an answer for that. Sometimes, for instance, I go live on LinkedIn. I’ve been doing that for about a year. And it takes a lot of time. But I love it. Somebody said to me recently, you know, you could turn that into a podcast because you could take the audio recording and it could become a podcast? And I said, Yes, I could. But I don’t want to, because I’m aware of that being a whole separate focus that I would need to do I need to edit it, I need to promote it. So I’m not doing that. Now, if something is quick to do, and is only my time, I’m more likely to try it, or experiment with it, then something that, you know, would take months and lots of money.

Tim McDonald 12:38
Now, that’s it’s great. No, I don’t think there is a magic answer for any of us out there. But it’s refreshing to hear that. And I’m just, you know, you you earlier, you had mentioned about you know, when you started about what you should charge, and I’m sure over the 10 years your rates have changed? How do you know when it’s the right time to change your rates?

Beth Granger 13:06
That’s another one. I don’t know if I have a good answer for I do know someone that said to me, if three people in a row, don’t push back on your rates, it’s time to raise them. I don’t necessarily do that. Pricing is definitely not my area of expertise. So, you know, when it comes to traditional speaking, even though you know not, we’re not supposed to talk about it within, for instance, NSA, there are sort of ranges, right, you just know ranges that people charge for things. So another experiment, I guess?

Tim McDonald 13:50
And do you ever doubt yourself when you’re going through that? Or is there any thoughts going through your head about you know, man, I, I know I should probably do this, but I just, you know, for me at least sometimes it’s that rejection, you don’t want to be rejected, you know?

Beth Granger 14:05
Um, I’ve definitely gotten that when when I first started my business. So 10 years ago, I couldn’t say an amount of money that I couldn’t personally afford to pay. Which made no sense. But it was just one of those things. I did get okay. It’s important to do that. But no, I think I think we all second guess ourselves and probably asked for too little. I’m sure I could ask for more. Maybe next time I will. Here that future clients.

Tim McDonald 14:41
So get in now. So as you as you’ve looked at, you know, really, you know, what you’ve done and I know you do a lot on LinkedIn, you know, how has, you know, your marketing process worked to help get More business. I know, you know, obviously, probably those LinkedIn videos help with that. But what other ways are you really finding, you know, are really working for you to kind of generate that referral machine for you?

Beth Granger 15:14
Well, I, I do a lot of networking. And in fact, before I started my business, I didn’t even really know what it was. And I was invited, thinking I was looking for a new job invited to a networking group, and they knew I was starting the business before I did. So strategic networking and referral relationships and collaboration. Yeah, and for social media, all the different types of marketing things.

Tim McDonald 15:45
You know, and networking, I think is so important. And I mean, that’s how you and I obviously met, you know, so I’m just kind of curious, you know, when you were invited there, right? How, and obviously, that seemed to work out for you. How did you then decide what other types of networking groups? How did you find them? How did you kind of, you know, understand where you should be, you know, spending your time because obviously, networking is another investment that we make with our time.

Beth Granger 16:15
I think in the beginning, because I thought I was looking for a job not starting a business, I went to a lot of things, just anything I found I would go to. And I was very lucky that I went to that one. But when I did, that I went too early on, because I just could see the difference between that and some of the other places I had been so and I’ll still experiment, you know, I’ll often as a guest to other people’s networking groups, I’ll speak to networking groups, things like that. And you just know, I think, whether it’s something about the people or the conversation, and

Tim McDonald 17:00
so there’s no again, no magic formula for it. It’s just trial and error and seeing which ones resonate with you and which ones don’t?

Beth Granger 17:07
Yes. And I mean, you know, if you’ve gone into a rolling official networking event, and there are people shoving their card in your face, and expecting you to give them referrals, you don’t even know them yet. But that’s not the kind of place you probably want to spend your time.

Tim McDonald 17:25
Well, as we kind of get towards the end, I always like asking this question, um, knowing what you know. Now, if you were to go back and give yourself one piece of advice, when you first started, what would it be?

Beth Granger 17:46
Just do it. I think I hesitated along the way and didn’t do something that I knew would help my, my speaking business. Let’s do it.

Tim McDonald 17:58
I think that’s great. We could probably just done the mic drop right there. Do it. So no, thank you so much for spending time with us today. But then how can people find you? How can they get in touch with you?

Beth Granger 18:12
Ah, so for some LinkedIn linkedin.com, forward slash in forward slash Beth Granger, and I have a website, but honestly, I don’t really use it. So feel free to email me. And you’ll find me on LinkedIn. It’s the easiest place.

Tim McDonald 18:31
Sounds good. Well, thank you so much for being our guest today. And thank you for watching. And if you have not seen any of our episodes before, we sign off of YouTube, but my guest agrees to stay on with me, which Beth has graciously agreed to. And I’m going to ask her one additional question. This content is only going to be available not through our YouTube channel, but for our email subscribers. So if you head over to speaking dot business, and just sign up for our weekly email list, there’s no cost to do that. You will be getting exclusive content that Beth is going to share with us right now. So thank you so much for joining us.


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