The $13.4 billion U.S. self-improvement market consists of individuals as much as companies. Celebrities such as Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Brian Tracy, Deepak Chopra, and many others have built this market over decades. Most professional speakers have limited earnings, but there are only about 20 that do exceptionally well, earning $1 million per year or more.
Ever since the 1700s, a host of inspirational writers, motivational speakers, and self-help gurus have appeared on the American cultural landscape to preach the gospel of success through self-reliance and thinking optimistically.
Professional speakers don’t just speak. They have multiple streams of income, including: speaking gigs, books, e-books, audiobooks, consulting, personal or business coaching, royalties and licensing, webinars, podcasts, seminars, membership programs, online courses, and retreats. According to Salary.com, the average motivational speaker salary in the United States was $78,169 as of July 25, 2023. However, many make much more. For an elite group of 17 motivational speakers, 2022 revenues are estimated by Marketdata at $368 million.
Profiles of Some Top Personal Growth Experts
- Tony Robbins: With an estimated annual income of $83 million, Tony is ranked #1. Anthony Robbins is an authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiations, organizational turnaround, and peak performance. Robbins is a writer and motivational speaker who founded and runs 12 companies. Robbins Research International is a life-coaching empire (228 coaches) that includes a massive book business, an audio business, a life-coach certification business, and seminars. He has spread his message via: paid speeches, books, CDs, software, infomercials, seminars, retreats, and audiotapes.
- Deepak Chopra: With $22+ million in annual income, Mr. Chopra, a practicing endocrinologist, has written more than 65 books and has been a bestselling author for decades. He is a leader in the field of mind-body medicine and created the Chopra Center for Well Being in California in 1995. He is an international presenter and keynote speaker. His roster of products/services includes: books, CDs, DVDs, a spa, personal growth retreats, The Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center, lectures, paid speeches, webinars, videos, online courses, and a radio program.
- Dave Ramsey: Mr. Ramsey uses a syndicated radio show about finances, with 12 million listeners, plus podcasts and 5 NY Times bestselling books to generate $15 million per year.
- Gary Vaynerchuk: Vaynerchuk is a digital marketing and social media expert, and book author, who generates $20 million per year. Vaynerchuk's career spans start-ups, retail, marketing, and investing. Vaynerchuk has been labeled an "Internet persona," earning public speaking opportunities and a large social media following. His company, VaynerMedia, grossed $100 million in 2016.
- Brendon Burchard: Brendon Burchard is one of the most watched, quoted, and followed personal development trainers in the world, with an annual income estimated at $10 million. In addition to being a bestselling book author, he is the star and executive producer of the #1 self-help show on YouTube. He is the founder of the Experts Academy and High Performance Academy, which offers programs ranging from $500 to $30,000.
- Tim Ferriss: With an annual income of $10+ million, Mr. Ferriss is a serial entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. He has written a number of self-help books on the "4-hour" theme, and runs a podcast. Ferriss has been called the "Oprah of Audio" due to the influence and reach of his podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show" with over 80 million downloads.
To learn more about the motivational speakers and self-improvement “gurus” market segment, and how experts built their fortunes, see Marketdata’s report The Market for Self-improvement Products & Services, published in September 2023.
Drawing on extensive primary and secondary research, this unique report also gives readers a comprehensive look at the personal growth market as a whole, with in-depth market analysis, revenue data and forecasts, management interviews, in-depth competitor profiles, and coverage of key market trends and developments. Most companies in this market are private, but painstaking research for this study has revealed their secrets.
About the Author: John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, Forbes, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and a variety of trade journals.