There are a number of ups and downs in the speaking business. Rejection, event planners changing their minds, and economic tightening of belts are all things that are a reality in today's marketplace.

I have discovered a few roadblocks that prevent countless speakers from enjoying the success they deserve. One of the largest roadblocks is a person that you know quite well. If you remove this person from your way, there is no doubt that your career, income, and passion will increase immeasurably. I even know where this person lives, and it's on the toughest six inches of real estate in the world — between your ears!

I have dealt with this person myself (sometimes he comes back more frequently than asked). I have also helped many of my coaching clients deal with and remove this person from their path — quickly and with great results. Here ‘s what those roadblocks look like:

1. The Getting Ready to Get Ready Roadblock. Closely related to "I’m not good enough," this is a tough one. The primary beginning of most speaker-client relationships is done via the telephone. In our boot camps, I talk about wrestling with "The 300 lb. Phone." If you can master this tool, your calendar will swell! It’s amazing how many excuses I come up with when it comes to making follow-up calls.

“There are tons of other items screaming for attention.” Are you lacking enough material to do a 45-60 minute talk? Book a 45-60 minute talk. You will come up with it. Several years ago, I was very comfortable doing 45-60 minute programs. I received a call one morning from a director of a government agency in town who had seen a television program that the local NBC affiliate had aired featuring me. This person needed to book a three-hour program. They also needed it to run within three weeks! I readily agreed — then freaked out. I didn't have 3 hours worth of material! I quickly sought advice from several of my mastermind team members who had done these seminars and delivered the program, garnering rave reviews and referrals from the event planner.

2. The Not Taking Advantage of the Opportunities in Your Backyard Roadblock. Notice that I didn't say that there weren't any opportunities in your backyard. Okay, I guess my friend John Trayser, who lives on top of a mountain in Yellowstone National Park, has nothing in his backyard but mountains and elk. Everyone else needs to pay attention to this. There are dozens of groups within 45 minutes of where you are right now that would love a speaker.

These groups include civic clubs like Rotary, Optimist, Toastmasters, and many others. Why spend your time calling prospects and selling them on the need for a meeting and the need to bring you in for that meeting? Doesn't it make sense to go to groups who meet on a regular basis and just be on their roster as a speaker? Much of my marketing efforts in 2010 include doing promotional dates at civic clubs. Why? They are usually filled with people who are in a position to refer me to those people who can pay me to speak! Virtually all civic clubs are trying to bring added value to their members by offering interesting programs. They are hungry — FEED THEM!

Let's keep in mind that the one thing that will land you more gigs than anything else is speaking! Are you "Not into doingfree talks?" I talked with a client of mine recently who did three promo talks over the last six weeks and has booked $46,505 worth of work directly from those efforts. I'll bet you haven't found a way to get your living room wall to pay you to practice your material.

The results of speaking at civic clubs have been so fantastic for so many people, I have written an e-book about speaking at civic clubs. I put together a step-by-step manual on how to generate business from day one. And I'm going to give you this $47 gift free of charge if you just e-mail with "civic clubs" in the subject line.

3. The Don't Sell Products at Your Events and Don't Ask for More Work Roadblock. It really amazes me at the excuses some speakers give me for why they didn't even offer something for sale at their events. They range from "They just weren’t the right crowd," and "I'm not good enough that people will want anything," to "They're cheap." Whether or not your audience is cheap, if you don't offer them anything — you're stupid! You can offer an e-book, printed books, or even a recording of the program that you are doing for them. Once again, there is a right way and wrong way to offer resources to an audience.

We don't have the room here to cover details, but if you e-mail me at with your questions, I'll be happy to answer them. If you put together a $20, $40, or $100 offering for your audiences, you are likely to generate an extra $300 to $1,000 per date or more. Combine that with speaking at civic clubs and you have just generated several thousands of dollars per month in revenue! The reality is that the speaking business is simple — it's just not easy. If you do the right things in the right way, you will enjoy the right results. If you really want to explode your speaking business, find someone who is a successful speaker and learn what he does. Success leaves clues!

Dave "The Shef" Sheffield is a bestselling author and successful speaker. He has helped over 400,000 people through his speaking and books. He also is an expert at helping speakers grow their speaking business very quickly. You can contact his offices through his web site at