The COVID-19 pandemic has not only been difficult from a health perspective. It’s also been really challenging financially for those whose careers largely depend on in-person interactions, like public speakers. But that doesn’t mean you have to just wait around, with no income, until conferences and other events can resume.

Public speakers can survive this crisis by focusing on digital opportunities in the short term and looking long term toward future in-person opportunities.

1. Book events for 2021

While many conferences have been canceled over the next few months, plenty of events are still scheduled for 2021. Be proactive and hit up every conference organizer you think could be a potential fit, even if that means going outside your main industries. Many public speakers have valuable lessons to share with essentially any business, so even if you normally only speak at marketing conferences, you might find opportunities to speak about marketing at a finance conference, for example.

 If you do book gigs, try to get an upfront deposit so you have some cushion over the next several months. While it’s possible some of these future conferences will need to be canceled too, you could try securing a non-refundable deposit by working out an agreement with the conference organizer to speak at a digital event or providing a digital presentation that the organizer can share with would-be attendees if the conference doesn’t take place. Better yet, if the events can take place in-person, then you’ll be in a good position by putting in the work now to secure these spots.

2. Speak at virtual events

In addition to securing future events, reach out to organizers of virtual events that are taking place in the coming months to book as many spots as you can. In many cases, you can still find events that will pay for speakers online, as money that would have been spent on in-person conferences could still be available for digital events. Likewise, you can offer your own private events online, as would-be conference attendees may have some budget to spend on online learning now.

Keep in mind that you may need to adapt your style a bit. My in-person energy and mix of entertainment with education don’t necessarily translate the same way online, so I have to be flexible to meet the mood of the online event.  

3. Teach an online course

Similar to speaking at virtual events, you can earn income by teaching an online course. For example, use a hosting platform to offer social media courses, and like LinkedIn Learning.

You may be able to find some platforms like these where you can break your keynotes into a few smaller modules and dive a little deeper into each session than you would in-person.

If you can’t find a company to pay you to host a course, put your content behind a paywall. Professionals may have more time now to view this type of content, and some companies may be willing to let employees spend on professional development at a time like this, especially if they have budget left over from canceled conferences. This can be a passive revenue stream for you, as you can create the course once and earn income over time as people purchase access.

Make It A Champion Day!

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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