I get by with a little help from my friends!
When I peel back the layers, I realize that ultimately, I am really in the friendship business. About half of my business comes from referrals from my friends.
I have been speaking for a long time, however I view myself as an aspiring motivational speaker. I have not made the big-time yet. Yes, I have been in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, on PBS, NPR, etc. But those fleeting 15 minutes of fame have not put me on the A-list as a top level, sought-after motivational speaker yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I am making a difference in peoples lives. I do okay, but I am not in the same league as big-name colleagues who command and receive five times my speakers fee and are booked solid.
Much of work that I do get I can honestly say comes from my friends. Today, a referral came in about a possible presentation in Chicago. It came from a close friend. Next week I will be in Tallahassee, Florida speaking at an Equity and Workforce Development New Public Servant Initiative One-Day Conference for the City of Tallahassee. That work came directly from a close friend. In October I’ll be keynoting at South Mississippi Regional Center… close friend! February, Southwest Tennessee Community College… close friend! Back in April, I spoke at Kennesaw State University… close friend! If I went back and did the research, I would estimate that about 50% of my business comes from you, my friends.
What’s great is that every trip is a reunion. Not only do I get to speak and make new friends along the way, but I also get to spend precious time with old friends. I get to hang out with fraternity brothers. I get to see old friends and pick up right where we left off.
I make it a point to never travel and speak on the same day. It’s too tiring. I did that when I was a younger man, but muscular dystrophy and age have put a stop to that nonsense. With this policy I am always available the night after my speech to hang out and have fun! If I come to your town, the night of my speech, we will get together at a sports bar, watch a game and have a good time. We’ll take some “selfies” and tell some jokes. You’ll bring some people who will become new friends and we’ll all feel good that we made a difference in the lives of audience members that day.
If that sounds like fun to you, a great place to start would be to introduce me to the high school principals and counselors in your area. I love inspiring young people. Same goes for colleges and junior colleges. I also am great with professional associations, government agencies, sales teams and, of course, disability related conferences and events. Just introduce us via email or have them fill out the inquiry form on my home page and I’ll take it from there. Or call me and we can set up a strategy.
There is urgency in my energy. Being 50 with muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure makes me keenly aware that my traveling days will someday come to an end. But I feel great right now and I’m eager to spread my message of inner strength worldwide. And I could also use the business!