Jake Ducey is the modern, 22-year-old, version of Tony Robbins — minus the hot coals.
While he has yet to make any movie appearances and does not have quite the same name recognition as Robbins, Ducey is well on his way.
In a Solana Beach coffeehouse, an eager fan approached him. The 20-something woman gushed, “I have your book in my car. Would you autograph it for me? You are such an inspiration to me!”
Ducey politely granted the request and even posed for a photo with the young woman. He autographed her copy of Into the Wind with the following inscription: With Love for all your passion and dreams, Love, Jake.
Before becoming the local celebrity, author, and motivational speaker that he is today, Ducey attended California Lutheran University on a basketball scholarship. He woke up one morning and realized that he was not living life to his fullest potential. He promptly dropped out of school and set off to travel the world. His mother was not happy with the decision (she has since changed her mind,) but his father supported it.
When he returned from his spiritual adventure overseas, Jake raised funds to build a school and home in Guatemala to support orphans in the area, wrote his first book, and launched a public speaking career, and is now working on a second book.
Jake’s general message is geared for teens and young adults. He encourages youngsters to reach their fullest potential by seeking out and fulfilling their dreams. Most of Ducey’s public speaking is done at Southern California high schools and colleges on the west coast.
Since the launch of his first book in April 2013, Jake Ducey has had roughly 100 different speaking gigs, including a presentation at the Mecca of all public speaking venues, TedX.
“I did 1-3 [motivational speeches] a day for almost three months when Into the Wind came out in April 2013. I’ve even spoken to frats at the University of Oregon. Pretty much any place with young people that will let me speak, I want to take the opportunity if possible. I am doing a lot less [public speaking] having just completed a new book due out in Spring 2015. ”
Ducey recalls his first public speaking gig,
“The first time I actually gave a speech was the day my book came out at University of Washington. They booked me to come out to speak to the students on the launch of Into the Wind, and I had never done a real speech for my book before. It was an amazing opportunity to talk with a lot of smart kids about life and society and how to move forward in the future together.”
As for Ducey’s public speaking fee, he doesn’t have one set in stone just yet.
“When I started I [spoke for] free and could not yet command a fee. [Now] I am running a workshop about goals for graduating seniors at a few local high schools for about a thousand dollars per appearance.”
If you’re interested in following Jake Ducey’s lead, there are public speaking opportunities and courses offered in the San Diego area.
UC San Diego Extension offers a course titled: Effective Public Speaking for Business Professionals. The course promises to teach students how to, “create impact with body language, vocal delivery and choice of words to deliver presentations that are convincing, compelling, and memorable.”
Milo Shaprio of improventures.com offers public speaking coaching in San Diego. He teaches effective wording, controlled pacing, likeability, eye contact, empowered voice usage, body language, and helping individuals develop their own natural style.
Another step in creating a motivational speaking career is creating a strong social media presence. Jake Ducey has his own professionally created website, an Instagram account, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google plus site. On Facebook alone, Ducey has over 11,000 followers. Since the income of a motivational speaker depends on the number of speeches given, it’s important for those pursuing this kind of career to narrow their speaking focus down. Often, speakers with the most success focus on the topic of money or weight loss.
Additionally, celebrity status tends to dictate the demand for orators at the top end. The less famous among us can use social media as a tool to boost recognition. And it’s a good idea to accompany your message with books, DVDs, and CDs on the topics of your expertise.
According to a recent survey, in 2013 the average annual salary of a motivational speaker was $88,000.