It was a weekend but I was happy to deliver my talk on "How one can market and sell his expertise as a leadership speaker or trainer".
I still remember starting out at 28 years old. With a heavy housing loan and following my dream as a leadership speaker, I lived on love and fresh air for 4 years. I earned little money and lived on bread and noodles for a long time. Every dollar I earned was spent on attending programs. Those helped me grow my business as a leadership speaker and trainer. I realised that I did not have the skillsets and mindset in building a successful business.
It became worse when all I had left was just $22 in my bank account and I didn't know what to do to pay next month's bills.
People often say that to be really happy, we need to follow our dreams.
I did but I was not happy being a leadership speaker then. They left out a crucial part of that statement. You need to earn a sustainable income while following your dream or else it becomes drudgery.
It was only after 4 years of wandering in the desert that I could finally pay myself $2000 salary a month. It was considerably a lot less than I started off as an engineer.
Here's what I've learnt as a leadership speaker and trainer:
1. Work on yourself- The business is a reflection of you. If you are sloppy, the business will be as well. Likewise for the good traits that you exhibit as well.
2. Deliver on what you've promised. You can fool a person once. But if you want repeat business, you have to fulfill your promise. There are a lot of programs out there offered by leadership speakers to 'market' better than they fulfil. No amount of marketing can save you if you are not able to honour what you have promised.
3. Make your clients look good -If your clients succeed, you will as well. If what you do is all about you, your clients will move to another leadership speaker who will love them more than you.
4. Focus on value creation. Value is determined by the client and not you. If the client does not see eye to eye in the value you have created as a leadership speaker, you have not succeeded in really adding value.
5. Create experiences, not just programs. Most leadership speakers/trainers out there just focus on their programs, not the entire client experience. The moment they interact with you, environment, how long they wait, what they do after the program and how to follow through are all client experiences.
6. Be results-focused, not program-focused. Most companies focus on their programs. But what if they focused on the results that they should get for their clients? Our business grew really fast when we started to help business leaders focus on the results that they should get. We didn't want a short term "feel good" experience but we focused on delivering results that made sense to the leaders.
7. Focus on the small steps ahead. Most people have desires but they don't take the action steps forward. It still exists in their heads but not in reality. I know how much clarity a person has when he/she is able to talk about the next step to move forward. Things can only happen when you take the next small but concrete step. You start winning small and then take the next few steps ahead.
Fast-forward 12 years later
I am really grateful for how God has just opened doors for me to grow this business and the business impact we have in companies and the government. I have also authored a book and which is used in training programs and in consulting. We also now have a lot more money than before.
Everything does start with a dream. We just need to constantly calibrate our strategy to make it work. For those who are still finding the light at the end of the tunnel, I can only encourage you to press on and not lose heart. For in due time, you will find success.