As a professional speaker looking to expand your reach and secure more engagements, you may be wondering if it’s worth hiring a speaking agent to represent you. Speaking agencies can provide valuable services, connections, and administrative support – but they also come at a cost. Let’s consider a few pros and cons to contemplate as you weigh this decision:

Potential Benefits of Having a Speaking Agent

Bigger Opportunities and Exposure

Established speaking agencies have extensive networks and relationships with companies, associations, and event planners across industries. Their connections can open doors to higher-profile speaking opportunities you may not easily find on your own.

Less Administrative Work

Agents handle many of the logistical and administrative tasks involved in the speaking business – contract negotiations, travel arrangements, invoice management, marketing your services, and more. This frees you to focus solely on crafting and delivering stellar presentations.

Objective Advice and Advocacy

A speaking agent can provide unbiased advice on factors like your speaking fees, messaging, personal branding, and more. They also advocate solely for you and your best interests when dealing with event hosts.

Access to Speaking Tools and Resources

Many agencies offer tools, resources, and training opportunities for clients to consistently improve their speaking skills, materials, and business operations.

Potential Drawbacks of Having a Speaking Agent

Commission Fees

Speaking agencies typically collect 20-30% commission fees on all paid speaking engagements they book for you. For new speakers still building their brand, these fees can significantly impact net income.

Less Control Over Business

With an agent, you have less autonomy over aspects like determining your speaking schedule, setting fees, and managing relationships with specific clients. You’re also dependent on their connections.

“Selling” Pressure

Agencies have incentives to keep you booked at all times and may pressure you to accept engagements you’re less passionate about in order to collect commissions.

Lack of Personalized Attention

Speaking agents juggle many clients, so you may not receive as much individualized attention, guidance, and service as you’d prefer – especially in the early stages.

For speakers who are disciplined self-marketers and have an established base of direct client connections, flying solo may make sense initially. But as you gain more traction and recognition, the expanded reach and efficiency of having an agent can be enormously valuable over time.