Seminar Service

Seminar Service

Start-up cost:  $5,000–$10,000

Potential earnings:  $30,000–$50,000

Typical fees: $125–$500 per speaking engagement; service earns 25–40 percent of this

Advertising: Press releases to newspapers, radio, business/civic organizations, a well-produced Web site that includes streaming audio or video clips from previous seminars that you’ve produced

Qualifi cations: Managerial and marketing skills, expertise in planning and promotion

Equipment needed: Computer, printer, tape recorder, transcription equipment, business cards, letterhead, envelopes

Staff required:  No

Hidden costs:  Transcriptions and tape reproduction

What You Do

If you have a sense of what trends are catching the attention of the public, you may be able to create a business by arranging for speakers on these topics. If you can organize appealing seminars and publicize them effectively, you can make a good living in this area. You can make some of the presentations yourself, but in order to be very successful you will need to have a list of speakers available who can make amusing or captivating presentations that stay with the audience long after they leave the meeting. Enjoyable seminars have a sense of give and take, with a lively speaker and active participation from the audience. These satisfied customers will be your best advertising; they will return with their friends for future sessions. An add-on business is sales of presentation tapes or transcripts. If you are a bit of a showman yourself and have good event planning skills, this business may be expressly for you.

What You Need

Each seminar requires extensive planning and advertising. You will need a com-puter ($1,500–$2,500) to prepare materials and flyers and to keep track of your database of effective speakers and satisfied customers. Invest in a Web site that showcases your best speakers via streaming audio or video clips. Mailings will cost you $500 and up for each event. Your speakers can earn $125–$500 or more for each speech they deliver, and your percentage of that could be as low as 25 percent and as high as 40 percent.

Keys to Success

Bringing together a group of people for an enjoyable seminar is almost like putting on a play. There is a sense of excitement when a presentation goes well. You can get satisfaction from enabling people to learn something they need or want to know. You are also providing a service to your speakers, who rely on you to organize and support their work. Not all seminars are well attended, though. You may have chosen the wrong topic or bad weather may interfere with the success of the meeting. It takes a very detail-oriented person to make all the pieces come together in a business like this one.




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