Becoming a Paid Writer and Speaker with Benjamin Vogt

Becoming a Paid Writer and Speaker with Benjamin Vogt

This class is now over and is unavailable for purchase. Sign up to receive announcements about upcoming classes.

Find your niche, build an audience, and cultivate demand for your work

How can your writing turn into meaningful income from multiple sources? How does your platform or message feed your writing, and vice versa, as you build a fulfilling professional life? Being an author means experiencing the thrill of discovery alongside the accomplishment of sweat and tears, but being an entrepreneur is a whole new level and can often feel at odds with the creative life. But they’re two sides of the same coin—one helps the other, so it’s important to grow both.

Unless you’re an overnight celebrity, getting your name and message out into the world—not to mention getting paid for it—is a long-range endeavor. And it probably should be long range. As you slowly gain experience and knowledge you gain the ability to tighten and hone your craft as a writer, speaker, and business person, making your work all the more valuable to others.

In this 75-minute online class (which is recorded if you can’t attend live), we’ll take the long view and learn how author, garden designer, and speaker Benjamin Vogt has evolved from writing for himself to giving keynote addresses at national conferences. We’ll explore the many avenues to building an audience, finding your niche, and most important of all cultivating a passion others can relate to and find value in.

Benjamin will show how a mix of writing for free, guest blog posts, and local speaking engagements can turn into paying freelance articles, symposium appearances, books, and more. We’ll also touch on some key entrepreneurial strategies from paying it forward to diversifying your income as you build your platform, grow your name, and develop your craft.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to identify what you do well and what you do differently. What is your deepest passion? (Hint: you’ll often find it by doing the below)
  • Using other fields and jobs to feed and be fed by your primary work; this may help not only your art and income, but provide another avenue to engage people.
  • The benefits of blogging, interacting with others online, and using social media you enjoy and want to spend time with.
  • Why writing free articles for local publications can transition into local speaking gigs where you can develop your style and business model.
  • When to know it’s time to pitch feature articles to large publications and conferences.
  • As your byline grows you’ll start making your own luck.

Who should take this class

  • Beginning and intermediate writers looking to leap from personal projects into local and national conversations
  • Entrepreneurs, activists, and community leaders wanting to use the written and spoken word to advance a message
  • Memoirists, poets, novelists, essayists, and freelancers who see the potential of pivoting to another genre, mode of expression, or related field as an exciting opportunity to improve both the art and the business of writing

Do I have to attend the live class?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 10 minutes of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
  • Time: 2 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Eastern Time / 11 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $20

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Attention Mac users: If you experience trouble registering, paying, or joining the class, Safari might be the problem; please try using a different browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

Benjamin Vogt

About the instructor

Benjamin Vogt speaks nationally on environmental ethics, philosophy, and pollinator garden design. He has lectured at botanical gardens, universities, and garden shows from California to Florida, Pennsylvania to Wyoming, and Texas to Wisconsin. Since 2013, when he wrote a stirring guest post for a national blog, he has been a leading voice for the rights of wildlife in urban landscapes and the use of native plants in a time of mass extinction.

For 5 years Benjamin wrote an award-winning column at Houzz that garnered over 3 million readers, while his freelance writing has appeared in Garden Design, The American Gardener, Nebraska Life, and Northern Gardener. Benjamin is the owner of a prairie-inspired design firm, Monarch Gardens LLC, and offers online classes at his website.

He has a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska and is author of A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future, as well as three poetry collections and an unpublished memoir. In 2022 he’ll release a new book entitled Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design (University of Illinois Press). He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife and toddler son.

An honest, authentic, and stirring call to action. Change can be difficult, but never have I heard change presented so eloquently and beautifully, with moments of humor interjected throughout. Benjamin is a highly captivating speaker and I would recommend him to any audience. 

Benjamin Futa

Director, Allen Centennial Garden

Benjamin is very motivational and is really good at connecting with students. He WANTS to see us do well and that felt really nice to have.

Brittany N.

writing student

Ben pushes students because he sees the potential in us to write the way we should. He has us build up our confidence, and it helps throughout the class.

Paul M.


You’ll receive the following

  • Access to the 75-minute interactive class. After 45–60 minutes, Benjamin will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 75 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Refund policy

Sorry, but refunds are not offered unless the webinar is canceled or rescheduled. All registrants receive access to the recording even if they are unable to attend. Have questions? You can contact us here.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System requirements to join the webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1 or later. (Win 10 must be Home, Pro, or Enterprise only.)
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+, Safari 7+ (least recommended)
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.