Business Overview

Public speaking instruction may be one-on-one or in small groups or in larger classrooms. The clients may be preparing to speak for special events, upcoming presentations, or simply become better communicators at their job.

Who is this business right for?

This job is great for those who are good at public speaking. Former teachers do well in this job due to their experience writing and conducting lectures. Writers are also good at this job because part of good speech instruction is knowing which words will have certain effects on certain audiences.

What happens during a typical day at a public speaking instruction business?

Your daily activities include preparing and delivering instruction to clients about how to improve their public speaking. You may also spend time communicating with existing clients and potential clients that have contacted you. You may spend time driving to where clients are and spend downtime both researching public speaking strategies and advertising your business.

What is the target market?

Some of your best clients will be those in their late 20's or early 30's. This audience is likeliest to have increased speaking responsibilities as part of recent promotions or new jobs but also be worried since they have not done much public speaking since college. This makes them see the value of your classes.

How does a public speaking instruction business make money?

A public speaking instruction business makes money by charging clients for workshops and ongoing lessons in public speaking.

What is the growth potential for a public speaking instruction business?

The growth potential of this job is modest. The need for public speaking instruction grows as the businesses requiring these skills grow, and jobs such as “sales representative” (which requires ample speaking) are expected to grow by seven percent between 2014 and 2024.

Getting Started

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful public speaking instruction business?

If it has been a long time, try to take a speech class or two at your local community college to brush up on skills. Sit down with local business managers and ask them what speaking skills they wish their workers had so you can incorporate these into lessons. Finally, make sure to do as much of your own public speaking as you can to build up your own skills and develop stories you can share with students.

What are the costs involved in opening a public speaking instruction business?

The cost of opening this business is very low. This is because it is possible to start your business from home. You may conduct classes and workshops where clients already are, including at their jobs (corporate speaking workshops can be very popular) and their homes. You may also be able to work with local colleges and libraries to conduct classes and workshops at those places.

With that in mind, you can effectively open your business for $3,000 or less. You should spend around $500 to have a professionally designed website. Spend most of the remaining money on newspaper and radio ads for your business, and don't forget to save some to print out professional business cards you can hand to prospective clients.

What are the steps to start a public speaking instruction business?

Once you're ready to start your public speaking instruction business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:

STEP 1: Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are:

  • What are the initial costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How long it will take you to break even?
  • What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2. Form a legal entity

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your security guard company is sued.

STEP 3. Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

STEP 4. Open a business bank account

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 5. Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7. Get Business Insurance

Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.

STEP 8. Define your brand.

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

STEP 9. Establish your Web Presence

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a public speaking instruction business?

Consider specializing in a certain field such as “corporate leadership.” This can net you ongoing business from multiple corporations in training their executives to improve communication. Take the time to interview speech professors about their teaching strategies and what they have learned. Finally, don't be afraid to start slow and do this as a side business long enough for you to establish your brand within the community.

Growing Your Business

How to promote & market a public speaking instruction business

Consider offering short, free workshops at libraries and community college campuses that help demonstrate your value. Make sure you have a social media presence so that your business is visible via mobile devices. Try to build a relationship with Human Resources departments so that they can refer you to prospective clients who want to improve their public speaking to get a promotion or new job.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

Between your website, advertising, and social media presence (as well as traditional networking in your community), it should be easy to attract customers. In order to retain them, make sure every lesson ties to the real world in tangible ways. When they see how being a better communicator can help with everything from getting a promotion to improving their love life, they will keep coming back.

How and when to build a team

Most public speaking instruction businesses start as solo practices. However, if you build a steady stream of clients and can no longer personally fit them into your schedule, you should take on a partner or build a small team to deliver workshops and lessons.

Legal Considerations

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a public speaking instruction business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits. In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For more information about local licenses and permits:


Maintain Personal Asset Protection

Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.

  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
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To learn more about maintaining your LLC's corporate veil, read our guide and protect your personal assets.

Earning Potential

How much can you charge customers?

How much you can charge clients depends on your area, your competition, and the exact format of the lesson. Some instructors, for instance, charge $300 for eight four-hour lessons. This provides great value to students, but only offers value to the instructor if you have enough students signed up. Some experienced instructors charge as much as $995 for an intensive, two-day course. Others establish a flat, hourly rate, such as $25 to $30 an hour per person. When pricing, one thing to keep in mind is competition, both from other public speaking instructors and the cost of taking a speech class at the local college or university.

What are the ongoing expenses for a public speaking instruction business?

If you are working from home, this job has very few ongoing expenses. You must pay for gasoline to travel from one location to another, and you may periodically invest in additional advertising via radio and newspaper. However, when starting out, you have no expensive lease, no extra utilities, no employees to pay, and no special equipment you must purchase. All of this dramatically reduces your overhead.

How much profit can a public speaking instruction business make?

How much profit you can make depends on how you charge clients, how much you charge clients, and how many clients you have. If you see twenty clients a week for fifty weeks of the year for four hours a week and $25 an hour, for instance, you will make $100,000 a year. Your first year is less likely to be this profitable, though increased community awareness should lead to increased revenue each year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Try a business model that encourages multiple sessions that clients pay for upfront. Be sure to include client testimonials on your website and social media pages so that future clients can see how you have helped others. Finally, don't be afraid to charge more as your business becomes more established and you have a portfolio of demonstrated results.

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