In Part 1 of this article, you read my rant about the “free gigs debate" and why you must do some free gigs to achieve sustainable growth. Now, let’s determine if a particular free gig is worth taking.

Sure, it’s smart business to take free gigs… but which ones?

After all, you’re building a speaking business, not a free-speeches-for-all sideshow.

When you can attach a value to every free gig that comes along, you’ll know with certainty which ones are worth doing.

And the biggest tool you’ll need to make this decision is one we talked about last week… your referral tree.  This is simply a map of gigs that lead to other gigs.  Each limb of your tree branches out to show the new gigs you earn as the result of referrals and stageside leads.

Over time, you can track how one gig led to two more opportunities… which led to five more… and so on… and on.  You’ll start to see patterns in what types of gigs result in profitable growth and which ones lead to a dead end on your branch.

Today, we’re going to identify five key ways you can examine a particular free gig opportunity so you can rationally predict its value – whether or not it will grow a branch of your tree.

The first step is an easy one… ask some friends!

Is It A Good Investment?

It might be tempting to view other speakers as competition. But when you’ve been in this business for a while, you’ll start to see them as colleagues… and often, as friends.

That’s why it’s a great idea to reach out to other speakers when you’re considering a free gig opportunity.  I do this all the time and I also get calls from other speakers doing the same on a regular basis.

When an event organizer asks you to do an event for free, ask them who some of their previous speakers have been. Or find this information on the event website. Then, call those speakers out of the blue and have a little chat. Ask them how many referrals and stageside leads the audience generated.

With each call to a fellow speaker, you’re building a relationship that can last years into the future.  Eventually, your network will grow and it will be no problem to reach out to your pal to ask about their experiences at a past event.

Here’s an example…

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