Reprinted from The Woman's MoneyPaper

How to Turn Your Ideas Into Money

By Presenting Seminars -- Part Three

by Rene Gnam

EDITOR�S NOTE: Like never before, our country has an information glut with far too much material to absorb on new technology, personal achievements, business education, keeping abreast of change. The solution is intensive seminars of one or more days where an attendee can get more useful information than in a college course. Millions pay high fees to attend. They constantly search for new seminars to expand their horizons. Can you profit by this exploding interest?

In this series of informative articles, consultant Rene Gnam takes you through the basics of entering the high-pay world of seminaring.

A foremost direct response advertising consultant, Rene Gnam presents over 50 seminars a year and creates the advertising for many seminar sponsors. From his Florida office, he directs seminar marketing around the world and is deemed an expert on scientific analysis and projection of results. He has written two advertising books, several portfolios, recorded his techniques on audio cassettes, and recently presented 12 television programs on direct response advertising.


Here are the 15 most critical points in your step by step planning for success at running your own seminars:

  1. Study your assets -- your knowledge in your field, not necessarily the field in which you earn your major income.

  2. Make a checklist of broad subjects on which you are qualified. Mark those of particular expertise.

  3. Determine who needs your wisdom. Design engineers? Middle management executives? Administrative assistants? Barn builders? Nurses? Salespeople? Homebodies? Opportunity seekers? Investors?

  4. Measure your potential universe. How many people? As consumers or businessfolk? Where are they?

  5. Develop a rough biography that pinpoints your wisdom and achievements. Forget the usual college jazz.

  6. Examine the best photos of yourself. Will they do in promoting attendance? Do you need professional shots? Don't spend money on photos, yet.

  7. Define your subject matter in broad categories. Then, under each category heading, list individual topics that apply to the categories.

  8. Write outlines of your presentation. Outlines only.

  9. Examine your bank accounts. How much money can you afford to lose? Over what period of time? How much can you get for additional investment later on? At what cost?

  10. Examine your lifestyle. Are you willing to travel? Would being away from home endanger a wonderful life situation? Should your seminars be only on weekends (then forget getting

  11. businesspeople to attend)?

  12. If at this point you're still eager, take your outlines and a tape recorder to a quiet spot. Stand up. Speak as long as you can on each point in the outlines and record everything, not caring about delivery quality.

  13. Transcribe the tapes. Edit the transcriptions. You now have a very rough draft of your material. Constantly edit and revise it. Forever.

  14. Get an advisor who's been there. Show your consultant your outlines, checklists, edited roughs, budgets. Fess up. Be 100% honest. Listen to the advice you get.

  15. Be prepared to invest money on three fronts before you announce a seminar: A) consulting guidance, B) refining your presentation skills, C) drafts of seminar invitation mailings.

You may be able to reduce these start-up expenses by bartering your knowledge to those you retain.

After step 13, find a few small groups to address at no fee, to practice public delivery and to get the bugs out of the material you use.

What about costs?

Seminaring isn't cheap. You can't launch a program for under $1,000 as the books say. Not today. Not if you intend to make it an ongoing, profitable business.

Here are some front end figures to study, assuming you will have about 50 people in an average audience:

  • HOTEL MEETING ROOM: $75 - $300 per day, depending on city and class of hotel.

  • COFFEE BREAKS: $1.50 - $6.50 per person. Mandatory.

  • ATTENDEE LUNCHEONS: $10.50 - $25 per person. Optional.

  • HOTEL SUITE: $150 - $450 per day, and you must use a suite because you have lots of handouts and you want to encourage private meetings to get back end results. Bars and lobbies are unprofessional.

  • TIPS, PORTERS, MEALS, ETC.: $100 - $250 per day. Depends on how well you treat yourself.

  • SHIPPING MATERIALS: $50 per city, average.

  • TRAVEL: Look it up on the web or in the Official Airline Guide. Figure an average of $250 per city by air.

  • HANDOUTS: At least $15 per person, but you pay more since you'll start with minimum quantities.

  • DIRECT MAIL: At least $250 per thousand invitations for printing, paper, postage, lists, mailing services. Another $1,000 or so for typesetting and art. That's after creative copy and layouts have been done.

  • PUBLICATION ADS: Usually not worthwhile. There are some exceptions, determined by the nature of your audience.

  • PRESS RELEASES: $100 - $200 per program. Well worth it.

How about response?

Some seminars make a profit at 1/20th of 1% response from all the invitations mailed. That's one-half person showing up per thousand pieces mailed. Most programs need 1%, or 10 people per thousand. Mine need 1/10th of 1%.

How much response you need depends on your costs and what you charge attendees. A full day seminar can bring you from $95 to $500 per day, depending on the subject matter, your perceived expertise, and the mailing audience you reach. You can get even more in highly technical fields.

But don't aim for response percentages. You must convert all responses into dollars to gauge your success and project your future seminaring.

I promise more important concepts for you in the concluding article in this series.


Rene Gnam is an independent response marketing consultant

specializing in creative advertising techniques.

He can be reached at 813-407-8400


Photo of Marketing Consultant Rene Gnam

Rene Gnam is a Marketing Consultant and Advertising Copywriter

logo for Rene Gnam

I'm usually in Florida, and here are the numbers:

FAX 813-475-4354      CELL 813-407-8400

You can reach me right now by e-mail:


Get Rene Gnam's Experience & Expertise on Your Team!