How Public Speaking Can Unlock New Opportunities for Your Creative Business

Wish there was a way to increase your reach, showcase your creative brilliance, and magnetize your dream clients – all without spending 24/7 glued to social media on your phone?

I’m talking about a strategy that lets you connect with your audience on a whole new level, establish yourself as the go-to expert in your niche, and attract clients who are ready to work with you (and happily pay your rates). 

And the best part? It’s a strategy that feels authentic, aligned, and dare I say… even fun?

So, what’s this magical strategy I’m talking about? 

Two words: public speaking.

If you told me a few years ago that I’d be singing the praises of public speaking as an introvert, I would’ve laughed out loud. 

But here we are, and I’m shouting it from the rooftops: 

Public speaking is the marketing strategy you NEED in your life, my fellow creative business owner! 

Yes, even if you avoid the spotlight like the plague!

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “Erin, I’m already hustling hard on social media! Do I really need to add something else to my plate?” 

And I hear you – social media is a powerful tool, and it definitely has its place in your marketing mix. 

But it’s not the be-all-end all. 

In fact, when you incorporate public speaking into your strategy, you create a powerful combo that amplifies everything else you’re doing.

Imagine showing up in front of a room full of your ideal clients (or a Zoom room full of them, because let’s be real – that’s the world we’re living in now). 

You’re sharing your story, your expertise, and your unique perspective. You’re connecting with them on a deep level, and they’re hanging on your every word. And when you drop that nugget of wisdom that totally resonates with them? That’s when the magic happens.

Suddenly, they’re not just passive followers on your Instagram feed. 

They’re engaged, excited, and ready to take action. They’re heading straight to your website to learn more about you, and they’re eager to work with you because they’ve experienced your value firsthand.

That’s the power of public speaking.

It allows you to create a bond with your audience that goes way beyond a double-tap or a fleeting comment. It positions you as the go-to expert in your industry or niche, and it opens up a whole new world of opportunities for your creative business.

And the best part? 

You don’t have to be a seasoned pro or a natural-born speaker to make it work for you. With a little practice and a lot of passion, you can create speaking engagements that feel authentic, impactful, and aligned with who you are and what you do.

So, are you ready to see how public speaking can help you uplevel your business and create the kind of impact (and income) you’ve been dreaming of? 

Let’s get started.

Public Speaking in My Creative Business

Over the past couple of years, I’ve shifted my marketing focus to embrace public speaking as a way to grow my audience and market my business and services. 

Fun fact: I used to be an extrovert, but I’ve honestly become a lot more introverted in recent years. Part of me suspects it’s a reaction to feeling like I always needed to be reachable and present on social media. So, I’ve been looking for ways to minimize that without minimizing my impact.

Now, to be clear, I still use social media to support my other efforts. In fact, most people who hear me speak publicly immediately head to my socials to check me out.

But now, I see social media as a supporting role rather than the main event it once was.

By adding public speaking to my marketing strategy, I’ve been able to more effectively leverage my online and offline presence. When I speak to an engaged audience, I connect with them on a deeper level, showcase my expertise, and provide value.

And when they inevitably head to my social media profiles to learn more about me, they’re already primed to engage with my content and potentially become loyal followers or even clients.

Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

To be honest, I never really liked public speaking (I mean, it’s a classic fear isn’t it? I’m no exception!), but it took trying it to find out I actually loved teaching. So what’s made the difference for me? A few things have changed the way I feel about public speaking for good.

Finding the Right Context

When you speak on a subject that aligns with your expertise and passion, to an audience that is eager to learn, public speaking becomes an exciting opportunity rather than a daunting task.

To find the right context for you, consider:

Your Passion

Choose topics that genuinely excite you and that you feel confident discussing. When you speak about what you love, your enthusiasm is contagious. This passion not only makes your presentation more engaging but also helps you connect deeply with your audience. Think about the subjects that light you up, the projects that keep you up at night because you’re so engrossed, and the insights you’ve gained through your experiences. Your passion is your most powerful tool in making a lasting impact.

Your Niche

Focus on speaking opportunities that align with your specific area of expertise. By zeroing in on your niche, you position yourself as an authority in that space, making it easier to attract the right audience and opportunities.

Your Target Audience

Seek out events that attract people who would benefit most from your insights. Knowing who your ideal listeners are helps you tailor your message to their needs, ensuring your content resonates and provides value.

The Event’s Purpose

Look for engagements that have goals aligned with your own. Whether it’s inspiring a group, educating an audience, or promoting a cause, the event’s purpose should align with what you aim to achieve.

The Event’s Size

Consider the scale of the event and whether it aligns with your comfort level and goals. Smaller, more intimate gatherings can be great for fostering deeper connections, while larger events offer the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Determine what setting will allow you to feel most comfortable so you can deliver your best presentation.

For example, a graphic designer specializing in brand identities would thrive speaking at a conference for entrepreneurs about visual branding or standing out in a crowd. A wedding photographer could share their unique approach at a workshop for engaged couples or aspiring photographers.

By finding the right-for-you environment, you’ll approach public speaking with greater confidence and effectiveness, leading to a more rewarding experience for both you and your audience.

Remember, whether you’re speaking to a small group or a large crowd, the key is to find the context that allows you to showcase your expertise and connect with your audience authentically.

Engaging with The Audience

I also enjoy making my public speaking interactive when possible. When I invite my audience to participate, whether through questions, sharing their own experiences, or engaging in activities related to the topic, it transforms the dynamic of the presentation. 

It feels more like a community and less like a spotlight when I approach it that way! 

As a bonus, an interactive approach helps you gain insights into your audience’s challenges, goals, and aspirations. This data can be invaluable as you continue to develop your products, services, and content to better serve your community as a creative.

Speaking Opportunities for Creative Businesses

So, what kind of public speaking opportunities are out there for creative entrepreneurs like you? 

The possibilities are endless! 


My personal favorite is workshops – whether standalone or part of a series. There’s something incredibly fulfilling about diving deep into a topic and providing actionable insights that attendees can immediately implement in their own businesses. 


Podcasts are another fantastic option. As a guest on someone else’s show, you get to tap into their existing audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field. 

Traditional Speaking Engagements

Of course, there are also more traditional speaking engagements like seminars, conferences, retreats, keynotes, and panels. 

Social Media

I’d be remiss if I left out the power of going live on social platforms like Instagram – it’s a great way to bridge the gap between your public speaking and social media efforts.

The Perks of Public Speaking

So now you understand the countless opportunities for public speaking as a creative entrepreneur. But why do I personally love this approach to marketing? 


For starters, public speaking opportunities allow me to be “on” for a set period of time, rather than feeling like I always need to be reachable and present on social media. 

I love that public speaking opportunities are CONTAINED. I have prep work leading up to the event, the speaking engagement itself, usually followed by a Q&A session, and perhaps some networking. 

However, there is a clear endpoint, after which I can recharge my social battery. Of course, there are follow-ups from the inquiries your talk generates, but I find this much more manageable and balanced compared to the constant barrage of social media responsiveness that is required when that’s your main source of leads.

Plus, there’s nothing quite like the energy of teaching and sharing your knowledge with an eager audience. When you’re speaking on the right subject, to the right people, it’s incredibly exciting, fulfilling, and actually energizing.

Virtual Options

The endless hours on Zoom we’ve had in recent years have made digital public speaking less intimidating than standing on an actual stage in front of a large audience. 

While I do speak at live events, as a CEO and mom, the convenience and flexibility of being able to speak to my ideal audience from the comfort of my home is a big draw! Plus, I can wear my signature black leggings while doing so without feeling under-dressed!

And for those of us who don’t scream loudly “I LOVE PUBLIC SPEAKING,” the digital option can be an approachable way to ease into it.

It’s a fantastic way to reach a wider audience, share your message, and grow your business without the added pressure of a live, in-person event. As you become more comfortable with speaking engagements, you might find yourself eager to take on bigger stages in the future. 

Warm Audiences

One of the best parts of public speaking is that you’re getting in front of an engaged audience – people who have actively chosen to show up and hear what you have to say. They’re already interested in your topic, which means you’re speaking to warm leads rather than shouting into the abyss and hoping someone bites.

Leverage Partnerships

When you’re speaking on someone else’s stage, you get to share the marketing burden with the host. They’ll be promoting the event to their audience, which means less heavy lifting on your end. 

As the saying goes, “many hands make light work.”

And because their audience already knows, likes, and trusts them, some of that goodwill rubs off on you right from the start.

Collaborating with an established host is a mutually beneficial opportunity. By appearing as a guest,  you’ll bring fresh perspectives, your unique approach, and your area of expertise to their audience. In turn, you’ll have the chance to tap into the community they’ve built over time. 

It’s like a referral on a much larger scale – the host is essentially vouching for you and showing that they value what you have to say. This endorsement is far more powerful than a simple referral, as it exposes you to a much larger, engaged audience who trusts the host’s judgment.

This exchange of assets creates a win-win situation for both parties.

Reach a Larger Audience

And let’s not forget the impact amplification. When you speak to an audience, your reach and influence grow directly in proportion to the size of that audience. 

In just one talk, you can increase your reach by however many people are present – which, let’s face it, is probably way more than what you’d get from a social media post these days (unless you happen to go viral).

Feels Authentic

Maybe the best part of public speaking as a marketing strategy is that it feels way less icky than a typical sales pitch. You’re showing up to serve the audience first and foremost, providing them with valuable insights and actionable advice. 

They get a feel for your approach and expertise, and if they have a need that aligns with what you offer, they’ll come to you. No need to chase down leads or sign on bad-fit clients!

5 Steps To Find Public Speaking Opportunities

So, are you ready to harness the power of public speaking and take your creative business to the next level? 

Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Make a list of the topics you could talk about for days (or at least 30-minutes) – the things that light you up and showcase your creativity. Whether you’re a graphic designer with a knack for creating logos that sell, an artist who’s mastered the art of Instagram-worthy product photos, a maker who’s got the scoop on pricing handmade goods for profit, or a website developer who knows the secrets to crafting sites that convert, you’ve got wisdom to share.

  2. Start scoping out speaking opportunities that align with your expertise. Look for conferences, workshops, webinars, and podcasts in your industry. Reach out to event organizers (or even your alma mater and professional networks) and pitch your idea. And don’t be afraid to start small – even a 15-minute Instagram Live can be a great way to get your feet wet and build your speaking chops.

  3. Craft a talk that delivers massive value and leaves your audience feeling they accomplished something but want more. Focus on actionable tips and behind-the-scenes stories that showcase your unique perspective. And most importantly, make sure it’s infused with your personality and style – because that’s what will make you stand out in a sea of sameness.

  4. Promote the heck out of your speaking gig to your existing audience. Share it on social media, send out an email blast, and let your network know that you’re about to drop some serious knowledge bombs. The more buzz you can generate, the more impact you’ll have (and the more likely you’ll be to land even bigger opportunities in the future).

  5. Show up, shine, and serve your audience with everything you’ve got. Remember, public speaking is your chance to create a real connection with the people who need your expertise the most. So don’t hold back – give them your best stuff, and watch as they become your biggest fans and advocates.

And there you have it – your roadmap to becoming a public speaking powerhouse and taking your creative business to new heights. It’s time to step up to the mic and show the world what you’re made of. 

I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.

And if you’re looking for some real-world examples of how public speaking can work its magic, here are a few places I’ve spoken recently:

  1. I had the honor of being a guest speaker for Rebecca Rueth’s course, ‘Patterns for Interiors.’ Here, I got to share my framework for establishing a clear, actionable vision that you can build your creative business around. Her amazing community of Pattern Designers brought an energy that was electric, and the response was incredible.

  2. As an alumna of RISD, I was thrilled to be invited back to speak on their Women in Business Panel. It was a full-circle moment for me, and I loved getting to connect with my fellow alumni and creative entrepreneurs. I also got to host a session about Pricing Strategies for Creative Entrepreneurs within their Art of Business Series. 

  3. And let’s not forget about the power of podcasts! I had the pleasure of being a guest on Windowsill Chats, where I got to dive deep into the business of being creative and share some of my best tips and stories. It was a blast, and I know it helped me reach a whole new audience of artists and creatives who “live, work & walk a creative path.”

So, what are you waiting for? 

Your public speaking adventure awaits. And who knows – maybe one day I’ll be tuning in to hear YOU share your brilliance with the world. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes you.


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