By Jennifer Wilkov, #1 Radio Show Host/Best-Selling Award-Winning Author

Like most speakers, when you started out you probably leaped at the invitation to speak. Any platform, anywhere, anytime and to any kind of group.

As your career has grown, have you?

Speaking for free to any and every audience is necessary when you are just starting out. It’s how you learn and shape your speaking style. It’s where you experiment, see how the audience responds to you, make mistakes and weed out what works and what doesn’t. It’s when you hone your skills and better understand how to read your audience’s response.

As you grow, it’s essential for your speaking career to grow too.

The more appearances you make, the more you will attract. As you become more visible, event planners and speakers bureaus will be more aware of you and take an interest. In order for your speaking career to go from free to fee, you must take the helm and guide there. How?

Here are some simple suggestions to help you graduate:

1) Stop saying yes to everything. Create a criteria and an evaluation system for every invitation you receive.

2) Narrow your focus. Determine the top 3 or 4 audiences you want to consistently reach with your message.

3) Establish fees. Decide on a range for each of your fees to appear as a keynote speaker, to present a breakout session and to participate as a panelist.

4) Identify your requirements. Make a list of what needs to be provided in order for you to deliver your presentation properly such as A/V equipment, length of time and others. Important: if you know you can’t be effective with your message in 20 minutes, don’t say yes to this type of appearance.

5) What’s your budget? Ask if all travel arrangements will be paid for. Find out if there is a registration fee that you are expected to pay as a speaker and when you are supposed to pay for it.

In order to go from free to fee as a speaker, you need to change your perspective and weigh each opportunity. Determine the merits of each invitation by evaluating the alignment with your professional career plan and goals.

When you step up your view of you as a speaker, others will too. It all starts with you. You can do it!

Tell me about a situation where it changed so quickly because you didn’t think that much about it. I’d love hear how you have found that everything really is temporary in your own career.

Jennifer Wilkov’s passion for communication has led to her being a # 1 radio show host, a best-selling award-winning author, a dynamic speaker, an award-winning freelance writer, a successful book business consultant and an enthusiastic entrepreneur. Simply stated, she is a survivor, an author and a collaborator who enjoys celebrating humanity gracefully.