"I am not a speaker. I am a business owner!"
It's not just the words... it's the mindset. When you're on the platform, you need to think like a speaker. But when you're off the platform (which is most of the time), you need to think like a businessperson and make business decisions!
For anyone who knows me, this one is a given. Through the years when I've spoken to beginning speakers, I've repeatedly stressed - "You are not speakers. You are business owners!"
Yet I've seen speakers make this blunder, time and time again. Speakers make it every time they make a decision based on emotion or passion, rather than on good old-fashioned business sense.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't have passion, that you shouldn't follow your heart. Passion is vital to your business. But did you catch that? I said "passion is vital to your business"! Passion is vital, but you can't forget that, fundamentally, it's a business.
So put your passion where it belongs - into your speeches and programs. But when it comes to your off-stage activities, remember - it's a business!
So here are my recommended Action Steps to thwart this problem:
1. At least once a day, look in the mirror and remind yourself "I am not a speaker. I am a businessperson." (This sounds silly, but it works.)
2. Start reading business books and - this is the really important part - think about how you can apply what they're talking about to your business. (There are lots of great business books out there, and everyone has their individual favorites. But one of the most frequently-mentioned books by all the people I've talked to is Michael Gerber's The E-myth Revisited. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend it.)
3. Start visiting the websites of successful professional speakers, seeing what you can learn about their businesses.
4. Make a list of your business assets. I'm not just talking about assets in a financial sense - what are your unique characteristics that you can use to promote your business? Is there some way you can use your skills and talents in your business? What about your education? Your hobbies? Your physical characteristics?