Are you depriving your audience members of the resources they want or need? If you don't provide people with something that they can purchase if they want to, you're being selfish and inconsiderate!
A few years ago I was talking to an emerging speaker. He had everything going for him - he had a killer topic (home safety / security), a commanding speaking voice, and decent platform skills. In fact, he was in demand - but as a free speaker, and he wanted to know how he could start making money at his craft.
"That's easy!" I replied. "You need to start selling product." He looked down his nose at me (no mean feat, since he was several inches shorter than me) and icily replied "I don't want to sell product. I want to be a speaker."
I wished him well, but as far as I know he's back working at Home Depot - his speaking career just never got off the ground. And it's a shame, because it was all because of his bad attitude.
Why do I describe his attitude as "bad"? Look at it this way - some of his audience members probably wanted to buy resources from him, and he declared, in effect, that he didn't want to provide any resources to them. He chose not to serve the needs of his audience. That's selfish. And that's a bad attitude.
What about you? Are you depriving your audience members of the resources they want or need? They may want to buy something from you for a variety of reasons. They may want to review the topic you've just spoken on. They may want to study it in more depth. They may simply want "a piece of you" as a memento of an enjoyable event.
Why they want to buy something from you is irrelevant. Here's what's important -
If you don't provide your audience members with something that they can purchase if they want to, you're being selfish and inconsiderate!
(Of course, another important reason to sell product is to provide yourself with an alternate source of income. That's no small concern right there.)
Of course, many speakers don't share this attitude - they're actually quite eager to sell product. They make this blunder, not because they don't want to sell product, but because they never get around to developing any product. Their problem lies in the product that they choose to develop.
Some products are easier and quicker to develop than others, so my advice is not to start with something that's labor-intensive and takes a long time to develop (like a book). Instead, start with something that you can turn out relatively quickly and cheaply (such as audio or video downloads or special reports), and build from there.
Another possibility is OPP - Other People's Products. There are many products - possibly from established professional speakers - that you can acquire wholesale and sell retail. Granted, you don't make much money; but a little money is better than no money at all!
But the important thing is to start developing and selling product. Now. You owe it to yourself and you owe it your customers.
1. Think about what informational resources your audience members might want to buy. Special reports? DVDs? Then pick one and produce it. When you can, produce another and - voila! - you'll soon have a product tree.
2. Browse through a catalog of gifts and incentives and see if your audience members would like any of those non-informational resources (imprinted with your name, of course). Coffee mugs? T-shirts? If you spot something that's appropriate, buy a starter set and offer them to your audiences. You may not make much money from these, but look at it this way - people are paying you to display your advertising for you. Such a deal!