I just spent a half-hour interviewing one of my favorite author/speakers, Mark Sanborn, who has a great new book out called You Don't Need A Title To Be A Leader. He's also a past president of the National Speakers Association, so I took the liberty to ask him for the advice he gives to people who want to become professional speakers.
Mark told me the biggest mistake would-be speakers make is to work up some clever topics or catchy titles, when they should figure out what they're passionate about first. Figure out what your message is...then start writing.
Once you decide what your message is, Mark Sanborn then says it's just as important to identify who will pay you to talk about your subject. You might be passionate about being a pet owner, but there aren't many groups who will make it profitable for you to speak about it professionally.
Your marketing and networking will be much more successful if you take care of those first two things. Message, market, money, in that order. (If you're ready to make a serious move into the world of professional speaking, I can help. Email me at email@example.com.)