NOTE: Don't be fooled by this post. It's a story, sure. But the lessons here are among the most valuable I've ever shared. By the end, you'll know exactly what you need to do.
This entire web site is devoted to answering the question at the top of this page. In this first post, I'll tell you how I did it.
I started as a magician.
Halfway into my first year of college, and to the delight of my parents, I dropped out to pursue my dream of turning a childhood hobby into an adulthood career.
To make a long story short, after a few false starts, I did it. I was living my dream and performing 300-350 magic shows a year all over the country.
If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is.
Novelty entertainers are not rewarded (i.e. paid) the way they ought to be. With all the negativity and fearmongering in the news and in the media, you’d think that a little laughter and wonderment would have a higher value in the marketplace.
It’s a shame, really.
It's REALLY a shame when you've got a wife and kids. Hundreds of gigs plus all the travel time in between means that you barely get to actually spend time with them.
Isn't that just the life of an entrepreneur, though?
Don’t get me wrong. My life as a pro magician was loads of fun. There's nothing more rewarding and valuable than going after the dream that you feel you were meant to go after. If I didn't go for it, then it would have eaten me alive forever.
The problem with success though…is it’s a TRAP. As an entrepreneur, you can either make more money OR spend more time with your friends, family, and hobbies. You can’t have both. Hence the word T.R.A.P. (Time and Resources Aren’t Proportional.) When one goes up, the other comes crashing down. It seems incredibly unfair of life to make you choose whether you want time OR money.
You reach your goal, only to look around and see that it isn't as perfect as you had imagined.
None of the "follow your dreams" motivational posters tell you about that part.
Almost every day I talk to entrepreneurs of all kinds who are stuck in the TRAP. I hear the same stories over and over and it's quite sad, really. I'm going to make a guess about you. I hope I'm wrong...
You’re working WAY too hard for not enough money.
Listen, the only logical way out of the trap is to work less and earn more.
Unfortunately, trying to do that is a bit like trying to find a leprechaun flying a two-headed unicorn through the Bermuda Triangle.
I am starting this blog for one reason and for one reason only: to drag you out of the T.R.A.P. Most will read this and ignore my advice, but I’m writing for the few who “get it”. Life is too short to tolerate an underwhelming paycheck. Life is too short to be away from your family and friends. Life is too short to be anything less than THRILLED with your finances, your level of freedom, and the amount of purposeful work you're doing every day.
You deserve to be able to do the things you love doing, and stop doing the things you hate doing. You’ve got a purpose to fulfill and a difference to make in this world. Don’t let the T.R.A.P. take that away so easily. Don’t settle for more time OR more money OR more satisfaction when you can (and should) have all three.
Obviously, I wouldn’t be writing this if I haven’t gotten out of the TRAP and helped others out too. Let me say this about the world outside of the TRAP: the view is surprising. I guarantee you have been missing out on time with your loved ones and money in your pocket that you may not even realize you’re losing out on.
Look, I’m not here to make you feel bad. It’s not your fault if you find yourself stuck in the TRAP. You just haven’t been taught the right system. You haven’t been shown the right vehicle for using your gifts and talents in a way that taps into your purpose and gives you an incredible income while helping others to create an incredible outcome.
My story began when I needed to make an extra $50,000 per year to replace my wife’s teaching salary. My solution was to become a professional speaker. It made perfect sense. How else could I tap into the skills I already had and earn the kind of money I wanted – ALL while spending more time with my wife and kids? Not only that, but I could help other people by inspiring them and educating them with my story and message? No-brainer.
Since then, speaking has given me $50,000 in a MONTH. (Not every month, of course, but more than once a year. And how many of those kinds of months do you need, really?)
The speaking world allows me to earn and serve in ways other than just trading dollars for hours. In addition to getting paid handsomely to be on stage (as much as $10,000 per appearance), I’m also writing books, creating and selling online content, running a blog, and I have the privilege of leading a movement of like-minded people who want to make positive change in their lives and in their world.
I finally run a business instead of my business running me. I’m making more income and creating more outcome than I ever did while stuck in the TRAP.
Sound good? If you’re thinking of joining me, you’ll need three things for the adventure ahead.
You're not a shiny-object-chaser, are you? A part-timer? If so, then my blog is not for you. The speaking world is full of “dabblers” who will never get anywhere. Gaining momentum as a professional speaker is insanely difficult. Doable, but difficult. If you've got anything less than an all-consuming, intense desire, then speaking will be a waste of your time.
I know that I struggled until I was willing to get monogamous with my speaking business. That meant giving up the magic business. That meant giving up the idea that I could just do "a little" speaking to supplement my income.
If you attempt to half-ass it in any way, then the meeting planners will smell it on you and hire someone who DOES have a decisive desire.
Yoda was a mentor to Luke Skywalker. This one’s a no-brainer. Do NOT go it alone out there. I did some math the other day. I have personally invested (before I had any money) over $60,000 into the coaches and mentors who have made my journey smoother. I keep pouring money into coaches in a way that makes my wife nervous.
Why? Because the good ones have given me strategies and advice that I never would have thought of on my own. And the GREAT ones gave me GOALS that I never would have thought of on my own. They raise my game and help me to stop playing small. They change my thinking entirely. And you can't change your results until you change your thinking, right?
I’ve also gladly accepted help from the mastermind groups and mentors in my life. This is why I HATE it when people call me a “solopreneur”. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I don’t know any wildly successful people who don’t have a coach. Can you think of one? ‘Nuff said.
When it comes to starting your speaking business: Smart is the new stupid.
Look, I'm not a genius. I didn't do anything other than follow the system laid out by one of my mentors.
The whole time, I doubted whether it would work. It seemed stupid. It felt like it was taking forever. But I shut my mouth and followed the plan. And now here I am.
There are a lot of proven plans. Which one you pick isn't nearly as important whether or not you stick to it.
Don’t be a hero. Don’t invent. Don’t create. Don’t think. Don’t work. Find a recipe for the success you want...then follow it. If you want to be a highly paid speaker, then do what highly paid speakers did to get there. CONSISTENTLY.
So many people argue with me on this and I’ve gotten to the point where I just don’t argue back anymore. It’s simple cause and effect and it speaks for itself. Innovation has a time and a place. That time and place is NOT when you're trying to establish yourself.
So that’s it. Those are the three essential ingredients if you want to use speaking to get yourself out of the TRAP.
What ONE lesson did you find in this story? Post a comment below and let me know.