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Is The College Market Recession Proof?

A lot professional speakers in the college market say that their businesses are recession-proof. Is this true? Well, I’m not sure if there are any 100% recession-proof markets for professional speakers, but...

Duncan Nugget #411: Speaking in the college market is EXTREMELY recession-resistant.


It’s because of one of the main sources of funding for gigs in the college market: the students. That’s right. If you take a close look at a student’s tuition (that includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students) you’ll notice a little fee in there called an “Activity Fee.” That’s the fee that covers the costs for various forms of entertainment, activities, and guest speakers for certain events.

The fee varies depending on the school, but could range from around $25 to $100+ per student. Think about that for a minute. If there are 3000 students attending a college and their activity fee is $50 that would be $150,000. As I said, a chunk of that will be set aside for guest speakers. (A combination of students and staff decide how the money is spent.)

So, even if something crazy happened and the school’s enrollment dropped by 500 students that would still leave $125,000 in activity fees. They would still have enough money to do many of the activities from previous years. If you’ve been the guest speaker the last 3 years for an event that is very unlikely to be canceled, like new student orientation or training for the student government association, there’s a strong chance that your business won’t take a hit. That’s pretty cool, right?

Imagine if a 3-day conference, that normally has 3000 attendees, experiences a drop of 500 or more attendees. Those lost fees might be equal to their entire budget for speakers. Ouch.

Back to the college market...

If you are professional speaker with a strong brand and a hot selling topic, gigging in the college market, not only do you have a strong chance of not loosing much business in an economic downturn, your business might even continue to grow. Mine did.

Want to start getting more gigs in the college market? The College Market 411: Showcases

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