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I’m all about teaching you how to blog and speak. There’s a holistic method to make money on your blog, earn income from speaking, and generate revenue from your area of expertise.

It takes a lot of work. It’s a full-time job. Here’s a general overview that knits it together.

First, you need knowledge of a particular area like human resources. Write about it for free. Maybe you’ll get residual sponsorship and ad revenue from a vendor. Probably not at the beginning, and by beginning, I mean for a few years.

Then apply to speak at small conferences and events that align with your content. Every conference is different. There’s no single path. Unless you’re a keynote speaker or presenting a content-heavy workshop with your materials, it’s rarely paid. And just because it’s paid at one conference doesn’t mean it will be paid by another. It’s a frustratingly inefficient process. Suck it up.

If you’re lucky enough to speak, meet with the event planner and the social media coordinator. Understand who will be at that event and what they hope to accomplish. Tailor your content. Most speakers are lazy and have their people call the event’s people. You shouldn’t do that. Ever. Take a vested interest, dammit. Showing up and being fabulous works for 1% of the 1%, and maybe not even then.

Once you start booking smaller events, connect with everyone you meet on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s amazing how many paid opportunities I receive in 2017 because someone saw me speak for free in places Evansville and Carbondale (google those places) back in 2009. It’s never too early to start an email list, by the way, and there’s a lot of information on the internet. You could also ask Mary Ellen Slayter for help. But, in the beginning, beefing up LinkedIn works fine.

And, whoa, don’t forget about your blog, by the way, because it always needs love and attention. Maybe you’re not the kind of person who publishes original research and white papers, but you can write about hot topics and interesting subjects that relate to your primary audience. A daily writing practice helps train you as a professional writer and speaker. And the stakes are low. Nobody is reading your stuff in the early days.

No matter the platform, a few rules apply: be interesting, be witty, be brief. Be the best version of yourself, which means being selfless while also being confident. And don’t forget to rewrite your sentences and speeches. Practice a lot. Remove the “I” from your stories and replace it with “you.”

That’s how you start to knit this together.