SPP 020 | Being a Professor, Writing Consultant, and Paid Public Speaker, with Shannon Hernandez from The Writing Whisperer

Shannon Hernandez is a professor at Brooklyn College and author who worked for 15 years in public education. She helps academics, authors, and business professionals with their writing, messaging, and branding. She also writes and podcasts about reform in America’s secondary education system for such outlets as the Huffington Post and her own podcast Breaking the Silence.

Shannon entered the entrepreneurial world in the most unlikely of ways – Hurricane Sandy. At the time she was teaching in a public school in Brooklyn and growing increasingly tired of her job. When the hurricane made landfall in October 2012 her school was closed for a week. She made the most of the opportunity and decided to take a step back and take a look at her life. Was she doing what she wanted? Did her current job fit her interests and abilities? Could she do something else? What did she want to do with the rest of her life?

She decided to make a list. What did she like to do? She liked public speaking and writing. Then she asked how she could offer her knowledge in these areas as services. She found her first writing clients, oddly enough, by means of making wedding stationary.

But Shannon was willing to quickly pick up marketing skills. She didn’t know a thing about about marketing so she found a business coach. She launched her website in February 2013 and made her writing services for sale. In a few months she replaced her $70,000/year teacher’s salary.

Shannon has also become a popular public speaker. She found out that conferences are eager to bring in informed speakers who can engage their audience. She talk s about how to find these opportunities and how to turn a talent for public speaking into a major part of her business.

In addition to writing consulting she also does copyrighting services, public speaking, and ghost blogging.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to turn your interests and skills into a business that is built around your strengths
  • How to launch that business within 4 months
  • The anatomy of a killer blog post
  • How to begin a public speaking career and find paid speaking opportunities at conferences
  • Why academics – who already excel in writing and research – have limitless career possibilities if they know how to advertise their skills

Resources and Sites Mentioned in this episode:

The Writing Whisperer

Breaking the Silence: My Final 40 Days as a Public School Teacher

Breaking the Silence Podcast

Michael Hyatt’s Website

Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast